Who doesn’t want to have a friend? Don’t have one? Here’s 4 ways you can make new friends.
Show Yourself Friendly
When my son was in 2nd grade, he complained to me about not having any friends. I ask how many of the boys he knew by name. He mentioned a few, so I said, “At least you know these boys well enough to know their name…so why not show yourself friendly?” After I found out it was because he was a bit shy, I told him, if you want to find a friend, be a friend. If you’re standing next to someone who drops their books, pick them up for them. If you know someone’s behind you, keep the door open for them. Friends just don’t happen because we want them…we must take the initiative and be intentional with how we treat and talk to others. If you’re nice to people, you’re more likely to find a friend, but if you’re waiting for someone else to make the first move, you might have a long, long wait.
Times of Adversity
I think you find out who your real, truest friends are when you’re hit by adversity. At first, Job’s friends came and grieved with him in silence…for many days they just sat there and never said a word. Maybe they were grieving Job’s 10 children along with him, however, in time, they turned on him. They started to blame him for all the evil that happened to him, which was not true (Job 1). So those friends were not born for adversity, as the Bible says a brother or sister is. Solomon wrote, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17), and “at all times” clearly means the good and the bad…even the very bad, like with Job. Christians are not alone in suffering. Maybe that’s a good point. We can be a friend to those who don’t know Christ, because if they don’t have Christ, you might be all they have. Interestingly, some of my cousins, who are self-professed non-believers, will ask me to pray for them at times. My first prayer is that they be saved, but friends are made for the hard times too, not just the good, so if you see a person, saved or not, and they’re experiencing a time of adversity, act like their friend and be there for them. That’s what friends do and that’s how new friends are made. Adversity has created a lot of friendships in the world.
Join a Group
Some of the best friendships have budded in small group studies or Sunday school, and even at our Wednesday night Bible study. It’s also a great way to meet new people or to get to know them better. If you are like some people I know who call themselves “wallflowers,” meaning they’re painfully shy and want to blend in as much as possible (like I was, & still am to some extent), it’s hard to join a group, however growth will always be the result. Not just spiritual or biblical growth, but growth as a person. When we stretch ourselves a bit and step out of our comfort zone, we’re risking more, but potentially gaining more. No one is an island, and we made for one another. We were created for relationships, first and foremost a relationship with God, but God wants us to have a close, intimate relationship with one another, so that’s where you can be like the old Star Trek: To go where you’ve never gone before. The journey will be worth it.
I remember meeting some people who have since joined our church. Paul is one example. He was sitting there getting ready to eat breakfast at one of the local prison ministries restaurants which is a non-profit organization designed to house former convicts once they’re released and help them ease into society as much as possible. This is a merciful labor for the Lord, in my opinion, but that’s where I met Paul. I was volunteering there and had a few Bible studies with the men, and have gotten to know them well, but if I had not volunteered for this prison ministry, I never would have met Paul. I had the privilege of baptizing Paul, whom I call my little “a” apostle Paul, because I know God sent him to me. He has been one of the most faithful men in our church because he’s been with me at every single nursing home ministry we’ve had (unless he was in the hospital). No one else comes close, so this man is close to my heart, and I love him dearly. We’ve became close friends through serving, and I love him dearly for that. He is precious to me. I sometimes brag on Paul that this is who Jesus was speaking to when He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Grk, “duolos” for “slave”). You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 26:21). Paul’s been faithful in a lot more than “little.” He’s been faithful in much! What reward awaits my beloved brother Paul when he hears from Jesus own lips, and often what I tell him, “Well done, good and faithful Paul. You have been faithful over a little…and a lot, and to me. I love you brother.” I am glad our precious brother Thomas, our deacon, helps Paul so much, as does John and Connie, our elder and deaconess.
If you can think of some ways to make new friends, please share those with us. I am always interested in learning new ways to create or begin new relationships. It’s not easy today. We don’t always meet or get to know everyone as easy as we did when things were a lot slower, say 50 to 100 years ago. The old band concerts in the square were opportunities to get to know your neighbors. Maybe we should slow down enough to at least say, “Hello.” Who knows what’ll come of that.