Do you know who your true friends are?
What defines a “true” friend?
I read a blog post a few weeks ago by Allison Fallon (whom I love, go follow her) about knowing who your true friends are. I could not get it off my mind. Seriously, it haunted me. I kept wondering, “Who are my true friends?” And then, it escalated as a bit of conviction set in. “Am I a true friend to those I value deeply???”
Here is what I do know. When it comes to relationships, I tend toward quality over quantity. I’ve never been a person that needs to be surrounded by a large crowd of friends. I feel incredibly fulfilled if I have a few really close friends that I trust and where I can be my authentic self without judgment, expectations or conditions. Relationships that flow with mutual understanding, respect of individuality or differences and of course, mutual love. But, I can certainly admit to seasons of living in my false self and thinking that quantity was what I needed. i.e. high school.
I believe that humans were created to be in community with one another. We need each other to grow, to develop and to thrive. Relationships keep us accountable and encourage us to see beyond ourselves. I value them very much in life which means I need to be intentional with who I surround myself with and who I invest in as well – we all do really. Further adding to that fact is that I’m an introvert. I invest a lot of energy into interacting with people and therefore can feel drained if I haven’t put boundaries in place for myself to regenerate. Sometimes, I feel as if my time and energy are so limited. With life only getting busier these days, I bet you do too. Then isn’t it important out of all the friends in our circle we identify those meaningful relationships and steward them well?
A sense of urgency to suddenly figure out this whole “true” friend thing bubbled to the surface. I whipped out my journal to make lists and process everything running through my mind while simultaneously sharing the post with my closest friends to see what they thought of it. Our minds were reeling…
Before being able to identify who my true friends are, I first needed to know what I considered a “true” friend to be. I don’t believe that this is a universal definition but something that is subjective and can look different for everyone. Then there’s personality types and Love Languages to consider too. So many factors!! Some may argue that a true friend is simply a friend that shows up when you need help, when you are at your darkest hour or shows support by attending events. While I definitely agree, I realized that for me personally, it goes deeper than that. Some people are just really good at showing up because they enjoy helping or being needed, but that alone doesn’t necessarily make them a true friend or reflect the depth of your relationship — which only further complicates this identification process.
After much thought about friendships, here is what I’ve identified makes a “true” friend:
- The relationship is reciprocal. As much as you reach out to them, they reach out to you.
- They ask questions. They don’t dominate the conversation and only talk about themselves but instead they ask questions about you, your life and your interests to get to know you better.
- They are intentional about maintaining the relationship. They not only want to spend time with you, they make time and invite you to do things.
- You feel safe. You are free to be yourself without judgment. You can laugh at your weaknesses and mistakes together.
- You can be unique. You don’t have to be alike and your strengths and weaknesses don’t bring out competitiveness.
- Mutual respect. Your time, individuality and responsibilities are respected without demands or expectations.
- They bring out your best self and challenge you to be your best self. Enough said.
- And yes, they show up. When you are at your darkest hour or when you are celebrating a life event, they are in your corner. Maybe they can’t physically “show up” but they show up in some way.
I think our closest personal friendships are those that are mutual and reciprocal. There are many people on this earth that I believe we are destined to meet and to be friends with – maybe even for a higher purpose. We may need to be an example, a light or an encouragement to them and in turn, they may consider us their greatest friend. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to mirror their feelings about the relationship nor should we feel guilty about that if we don’t. As Rick Bezet writes in “Be Real Because Fake Is Exhausting”, we all have different levels of friendships in our lives: confidants or what we may call “true friends”, companions and crowds.
What is important is identifying where friends fall in our lives and stewarding each relationship well as we balance the priorities of life. This takes boundaries and sometimes saying “no” to people we care about – yikes. I don’t know about you, but that isn’t always comfortable for me. I constantly have to remind myself that anytime I’m saying “yes” to one thing or person, I’m saying “no” to something or someone else. Circumstantial friendships (friends only because you grew up together, went to the same school, attend church or work together) or obligatory relationships can be a vacuum for us and make it even harder to say “no” when we need to. But, we have to be aware of who and what we are saying “yes” to and make sure that it’s the best investment for us.
As I’m preparing to be a mother, devoting time to build my relationship with Christ, pursuing my calling and purpose, investing in my marriage, running a business, blogging, building community, taking time for personal growth and development … (and the list goes on) I acknowledge the need to be even more diligent in recognizing who my true friends are and be better for them. Sometimes we can spread ourselves so thin across so many people that our true friendships suffer and can be overlooked. But, what if we invested well? What if we allotted more time, effort and attention to those identified true friends? After all, managing our time and stewarding relationship well go hand in hand and are a part of good self-leadership.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve realized some relationships where I need to shift my focus and attention to and invest more of myself. What about you?
Are you a true friend to those you value deeply?
What makes a “true friend” in your book?
Who are your true friends?
What friendships do you need to invest more in?
I’d love to connect with you! Subscribe to join the community, receive the latest posts and find out about giveaways!