We all have had those friends that we turn to when things are rough. The friends that listen well, give the best advice, and leave us feeling loved and accepted. They are likely the people we would label as our “best friends.” We have also probably experienced friendships that just felt forced. Whether the friendship felt competitive, like you had to pretend to be perfect, or you just didn’t click, there have most likely been some “friends” that you feel like you could let go of without too much heartache.
People long for those authentic friendships and often might feel themselves striving to get them. It can be difficult at times to even know what you are looking for in a friend, so I’ve written about the three things I have experienced to be most important in my authentic friendships.
God has really been moving in my life this year with this word: vulnerability. There is no sugar-coating or masks inside any kind of authentic relationship. I think one of the biggest tellers of reallness is if you both are able to be open with one another without judgement or feeling the need to paint yourself in a certain light.
They challenge you
Friends that tell you everything you want to hear are bad news. You can’t grow if the people around you aren’t pushing you to be better. Your best friends will ask you tough questions, call out hurtful habits or thought patterns (in a loving way), and are invested in your growth. If someone is constantly praising you for everything you do and say, that is a fan, not a friend. Don’t get me wrong, compliments and encouragement are vital, but being put on a pedastool is bound to become exhausting.
Similar goals and morals
Your closests friends should have the same or similar core values as you. The best example I can think of, and one we should all be working towards, is Kingdom friendships. In other words, a Kingdom friendship is one that is used for the glory of God’s Kingdom. That could mean anything from having someone that simply walks beside you in faith to pursuing a bigger-picture goal, like starting a ministry. Having others that have similar goals as you will elevate both of you to your higher purposes.
I could go on and on about what amazing qualities all friendships should have, but I think those three are skipped over a lot. The people you allow to pour into you will shape the person you are. If the people around you are draining you, it is time to re-evaluate who you are surrounding yourself with.