This post is a few weeks late but someone asked me on my birthday what I look forward to this coming year. My answer was Becoming a More Intentional Friend.
It is so easy to slip into your own world and be lost to the moments we should be spending with others. With busy schedules, I know being intentional is hard. It is definitely something I will never perfect but I know when I take time to invest in those around me, the reward is great.
Being intentional is when you do purposeful, selfless acts of love for others. It takes a lot more energy to be diligent, patient and loving towards others.
I am naturally an introvert and used to be so jealous of the people who could make friends easily and have hundreds of them. But I quickly found out that “friend” was a loose term, it was more like acquaintances. There is nothing wrong with that by any means. However, I have found that I would prefer having fewer friends that I can be more intentional with through spending more time together.
No matter the number of friends you have had, I bet you have never had one that is perfect. In some way, we have all been failed by friendship or have been the one doing the failing.
Friendships can exist on a superficial level for some time. But real friendships takes work and intentionality is what makes it last and flourish. If you are looking for ways to be intentional with your spouse or boyfriend, check out these Dinner Conversation Starters.
So how can we be intentional in our friendships? By being intentional about being a friend.
God created community and friendship. He knows how much we need each other during our time here on earth. It doesn’t always come easy. It sometimes takes a lot of sacrifices. It also takes patience and humility.
“Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel.” Proverbs 27:9.
God made friendships so that we could build each other up in truth and love. Jesus reconciled us first to God so that we could be reconciled to each other. While ultimate friendship will only be accomplished in heaven, there is so much joy to be found in living in community with others now.
Make Time For Friends
It is so easy to make excuses that we don’t have time for anyone else but ourselves. However, where and who you spend your time on shows what you value. Make a plan to hang out and commit to showing up. Most importantly, be present at the moment during interactions with friends.
If you need to go run errands or go to a workout, invite your friend to come. One day, I invited a friend to go to Staples with me to get a new office chair. We spent a good 30 minutes testing out every desk chair in the place. I also love working out with friends than going out to lunch or dinner afterward.
Being less busy and making time is just one of the ways of being more intentional.
Call Your Friends
Seriously do it! I take that back, CALL your friends. Let them know that you are thinking of them. Maybe that is the early millennial (before the ’90s) in me, but you learn so much more over the phone.
We are on our phones all day, everyday scrolling through social media yet it is so hard to send a text message to someone we have been meaning to talk to. Part of this could be that we expect that person to take the initiative and reach out first. But I bet you they are thinking the same thing you are. So pick up your phone and give them a call. I bet you will pick up right where you left off.
Trust and Vulnerability
I absolutely hate this part of relationships, which you can read about here. However, if you want to be intentional in your friendships and see them grow, you must open up and be vulnerable.
Friendships go through ups and downs, but what makes them beautiful is being vulnerable and going through those moments together. Open up to your friends and let them into your life, both the joys and the struggles. And, in turn, allow them to share what they are going through. Celebrate with the joys and offer peace and hope during the hard times.
Like I said above, most importantly be present when you are with your friends. Put away your cell phone, actively listen to them, and try to really understand and empathize with what they are going through.
Having a friend to go through life with you is a beautiful thing. Real friends are the ones that love you no matter what, through the good and the bad. You will hold each other accountable, encourage one another and offer forgiveness.
I challenge you this week to put yourself out there and make time to be intentional with a friend. We belong together.