7 signs that someone is really your friend
All friendships are not created equal. Community, as God intended, hinges on people truly committing to do life together — walking with each other through the highs and lows, taking next steps together, challenging and encouraging one another. That kind of friendship is priceless.
Yet many of us settle for a life of casual and convenient friendships. We fear the commitment, risk, and trust required to fully immerse ourselves in the depth of genuine community. And then, unfortunately, we miss out on the immense value of having real friends.
How can we know if we are settling for casual connections or swimming in the richness of real-deal community?
7 Surefire Signs Your Friends Are the Real Deal
1. They celebrate with you.
When your birthday rolls around; you get baptized; you land your dream job … your real friends celebrate with more than a generic “congratulations” on your Facebook wall. They are by your side, serving as your loudest supporters and ever-present voices of encouragement (Romans 12:15).
2. They cry with you.
Death, divorce, disappointment, disease ... life is hard and there will be tears. Real friends provide you with a safe place to be vulnerable. They do as Paul described in Galatians 6:2 and "carry each other's burdens” — standing with you and loaning you their strength through your struggle.
3. They laugh with you.
Laughter is the best medicine (Proverbs 17:22). From inside jokes to funny stories, real friends have a way of drawing laughter from your lips even when you feel like crying.
4. They let you be yourself.
Jesus calls you to come to Him just as you are — good, bad, and ugly (Romans 15:7). Like Him, real friends also give you the freedom to be yourself. You don’t have to clean your house before they come over or pretend to be perfect while they are with you.
5. They pray with you.
One of the greatest gifts of friendship is the ability to share your hopes, dreams, and struggles with others and allow them the opportunity to pray with you. James 5:16 says, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
It is a beautiful thing to be able to celebrate answered prayers with the friends who were praying. And when you pray with friends, you invite Jesus into the center of your relationship, which only makes it stronger.
6. They are honest with you.
Proverbs 27:6 tells us that "wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Real friends care more about you than your feelings. When they see you settling for less than God's best or embarking on a dangerous path, they speak up. Their honesty holds you accountable and helps point you back to Jesus when you stray.
7. They forgive.
If you are friends with anyone long enough you will eventually disappoint or hurt each other. When those times come, one of the truest signs of real friendship is an abundance of grace (Colossians 3:13). No one modeled this more beautifully than Jesus, who was betrayed and abandoned by His own friends (Matthew 26:56), yet never withheld His grace from anyone.
We are better, stronger, and healthier when we live our lives in close and committed community. Even Jesus didn't do life alone while He walked this earth. Why would any of us think that we could?
Even Jesus didn’t do life alone while He walked this earth. Why would any of us think that we could?
If you are swimming in the depths of real-deal community, thank God for those people and let them know how much they mean to you.
If you find yourself stuck in the shallow waters of casual friendship, commit to taking some small steps to begin to deepen and grow your relationships. You’ll never experience the benefits of community without a commitment to community.