How To Make Good Friends: A True Friend Will Bring Out The Best In You

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. (Proverbs 27:9 ESV)

There is something pleasant about what I like to call, “smell good.” There is cologne, perfume, and body spray all designed to get you smelling good. Then there are air fresheners, scentsy pots, candles, etc. all designed to get a room or a space to smell good. My favorite is coffee. I have an automatic coffee pot that goes off in the morning and part of waking up is noise of the grinder and the smell of Starbucks brewing in the kitchen. Those aromas are welcoming scents. You smile because the room is pleasant to be in, the person next to you smells like flowers or a forest, and you know you are about to get a cup of coffee.

A good friend is like that. You smile when you see them, because you know that you are about to get good advice from them. They know you. They know what your goals in life are. They know what you need. When you are confused and don’t know what to do… they remind you of who you are.  When you are scared because you don’t think you will do well or are good enough, they remind you about what you have already overcome.

advice on friendship

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

You probably don’t know much about ancient metallurgy so I’ll help you out here. You used to use something iron to sharpen iron. By scraping two swords together for example it made both sharper… it didn’t make them duller. That’s how a good friendship works. You bring out the best in each other. You share what you’ve read in your quiet time and it challenges the other one to get serious about their quiet time. They share about an encounter they had at school where they got to share the gospel and you start looking for ways to share at your school.

The coolest thing I ever got to see was there was a youth group who went to about 12 different schools who decided that their first group of friends was going to be each other. This was difficult since they didn’t see each other every day at school.  So one would have a birthday party and they would invite the whole youth group! It was hard to tell what was a birthday party and what was a youth group activity. This group challenged one another to read their bibles and study the word. They raked widow’s yards, they hung out at each other’s houses after church. They went to camp together and mission trips together and then they went their separate ways. Some went to college, some went to work, all but one not only go to church, but are leaders in their church in some way. One is a music minister, a couple are youth ministers, one is a Christian counselor, Several are teachers and coaches, some are on the mission field, some are nurses that do medical mission trips every year…

They’ve all moved on in their life and friendships have changed as is the course of things, but when they run into each other and when they do get together there is so much joy and laughter. There isn’t a bunch of regret.

Recently I ran across a guy I knew several years ago and he couldn’t look me in the eye. He had done something terrible in the past to hurt someone I love. He didn’t know if I knew or not (I knew). As soon as he saw me you could see the shame cover his face. He still lives with the regret today. I bet if he could take back that moment, he would. He made a very clear choice in the 6th grade about what type of friends he would have and as a result he ended up in something worse than a “kitten killing” type situation that really has caused a lot of damage in his own life and in the lives of others.

The question is, what will you do? What type of friends will you put on that first level?

 

Why Your Parents Care About What Kind of Friends You Have

Nobody wants to be rejected. When I was in middle school, it was cool to have jeans with holes in the knees. You could actually buy jeans with holes already in the knees! Some manufacturers also sold jeans with reinforced knees that were more difficult to rip. Guess which kind of jeans my mom bought?… I had to work extra hard to put holes in the knees of those jeans.

So tearing up a pair of jeans to fit in and making your mom mad is one thing, but what if something larger is at stake? What if in the process of looking for the acceptance by others, you lose a part of yourself? What if you give up more than you gain? What if next year you don’t know those people anymore but you still carry scars from the stuff you’ve done?

You see I’ve lived through that. I’ve been the new guy at school desperate to make new friends. I’ve felt isolated like everyone was staring at me and been in social situations where I was just praying for someone to rescue me from my isolation. Just someone to talk to so I didn’t feel so…. weird.

Finally someone walks over and asks you a few questions. Part of you is relieved that you are at least talking, another part of you wonders if this isn’t part of some cruel joke? Then they say something you know you should disagree with like “let’s all go murder a bunch of helpless kittens.And the one thing you swore you would always be against, you find yourself invited into. You have a choice to make: do you violate your conscience and join them in murdering kittens or do you risk another hour of social awkwardness?

Your friends probably aren’t tempting you to murder kittens. It’s more like gossip. Maybe its drug related or pressure to do sexual things to fit in. It could be looking at dirty pictures or watching movies that you know you’re not supposed to watch. Hanging out in places your parents told you not to go. Some of you “feel” this need to be accepted so deeply that something that you were normally against you would now go and watch, observe, participate in just so you would not feel awkward.

The irony is that even though you feel it so intensely, the moment of social isolation will pass and may even be forgotten, but you will carry the scars left by the destructive things you have done with your friends.

That’s how it happened for me. It wasn’t murdering kittens, it was underage drinking. I knew my grandfather was an alcoholic. But when a friend said, “let’s go get drunk.” I caved under the pressure. Then one night they put a fifth of vodka in my hand and said, “drink this.” I downed it faster than it takes most people to drink a soda at their favorite fast food restaurant. That was probably enough alcohol to kill me. If I had been a smaller person I would have died that night. As it was, I threw up and they threw me in the back of a pickup without my clothes. When I passed out and they couldn’t wake me up, they propped me up against a dirty toilet in a filthy bathroom with a space heater. It’s a miracle that I woke up at all the next day.

I don’t have those friends anymore, but I do carry the scars around from what did while I was with them. That day I realized I needed to make a change in my life, I needed better friends. I didn’t realize it then, but I realize now I was learning Proverbs 13:20 the hard way.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20 ESV)

Have you ever felt pressure to fit in? There are somethings worse than being socially awkward. Your parent’s care about what kind of friendships you have because they know that your friends have the capacity to pull you up or pull you down. They also know that you most likely won’t keep your friendships, but you will keep the scars (or trophies) from what ever you and your friends did together. If you don’t have good friends now consider praying and asking God to bring some incredible people into your life.