Start Off Focusing On Yourself and God
Before we rush into a friendship, we need to first do a complete inventory check into ourselves, including an in-depth look at our relationship with Christ. If we can’t hold a long-term relationship with our Savior, how do we expect to keep a healthy friendship with real-life friends? Think about it, we oft-times neglect our relationship with Christ and our growth becomes stagnant. What do you think will happen with your relationships with other people?
Also, focusing on yourself let’s you grow internally. You start to understand your likes and dislikes; therefore you get a better understanding of what to look for in friends. You can also be a better friend, yourself, by putting yourself in check with unrealistic expectations or habits you may have. Sometimes, we can become selfish and a friendship requires us to be selfless a majority of the time.
1. Start By Connecting With People You Know
This is often a step we overlook but a great way to make friends is by connecting with people you already may know. This is like a beginner’s level of making a solid friend. Check this out…
- Acquaintances. A lot of times we have those friends at school, work, or church that we just small talk with. We have a few things in common but we never take it above a few sentences. How about reaching out and actually taking it a step above that. Get to know them more. Try to find some way where you can just chill, hangout or have fun and get to know one another on a deeper level. You can make it less awkward by maybe setting up a study session or meeting with others!
- Ask Friends For Friends. If your friend is hanging out with others, how about seeing if you could tag along? It stands as a perfect opportunity to be introduced to others in a not so demanding, intimidating situation. Moving to a new city or maybe just clueless overall? Ask your friend to introduce you to others in the area. It helps take the pressure off of you!
2. Sink Into Your Passion
Chances are, if you find yourself really digging into one of your passions, you’ll find others who like the same thing. Like being involved in your church? Join some of the groups offered. Get involved in the volunteer efforts or join some of the workshops. Some churches have groups based on age groups or men/women hangouts; you could really sink into the friend making business with that one.
Outside of church, you could get involved in other meet up groups, classes, clubs or events that connect on a regular schedule. You have local book clubs that get together once a week to read over books; some places even have local meet ups for people who are fascinated in certain topics like movies, geek culture, gaming, bowling, or whatever it may be. Prowl your local directory or do a quick Google search.
You have to be willing to put yourself out there on this one. Some even offer resources, an example being local churches offering van services for those who have no ride or picking up the tab when you can’t get food. Search and see what you find!
3. Make It Happen Yourself
Maybe you know a few acquaintances, potential friends or people you’re interested in befriending. Plan an event or weekly hangout that’ll put you in a great position. It doesn’t have to be big and you can even plan it using free resources.
How about a hosting a study session with your class in the library? Usually, you just have to notify the library and schedule a set time but after that, everything else is taken care of. Some universities even have dedicated rooms. See if you can bring a few snacks and get your study session underway. Before everyone leaves, those who are interested in keeping in touch can exchange numbers or email addresses. This way, you can plan another session or something outside of studying!
How about a bible study or church meet-up? The logistics are still the same and the church would probably be more than welcoming with helping you setup for such a meet and greet.
Another cool idea is to have a rotating schedule. Maybe get together with a few acquaintances and once a week, someone plans and hosts the others. You can get creative and even have themed events.
Get creative; you can start your own club or event that gets others interested. It serves as an opportunity for not only you to make friends but to help others. You create a foundation that you can continuously build upon.
4. Make Yourself Available
This is one I know I definitely struggle with. A lot of the times I turn down invitations to do things. I make every excuse instead of just saying I’m lazy. We have to make ourselves available and not turn down every opportunity.
Instead of trying to get out of church etc. in such a hurry, how about stick around a bit or accept the offer to stick around. You honestly never know what could happen or what fun thing lies around the corner. Maybe it won’t be so bad that you went out with those potential friends and did something instead of going to sleep like you’d planned. A friendship takes two and eventually, rejecting invites will lead to you not being invited anymore. Trust me, I know that fact all too well.
5. Volunteering With Christian Organizations/Churches
Getting yourself plugged into a local church or church organization (online or in person) volunteer effort could be a great opportunity to make you available for friendship! Not only are you able to help out for a good cause but you’d also have an ideal setting to make lasting friendships.
Serving at a local soup kitchen, no problem! Get you an apron and join the front line of services. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk to other volunteers while also lending a helping hand. Your local church needs volunteers after services every Sunday? Clear some time, if available, and hop into some of the efforts behind the scenes. Oftentimes, opportunities to work behind the scenes at church offers an opportunity to meet people you may otherwise have not met. You could also gain experience in areas you may have never dreamed!
Another alternative to real church is getting involved in an online ministry or organization. For example, joining Unashamed Impact you have great opportunities to get involved but also make lasting friends. We pride ourselves on being a family and that’s how we conduct business. Good at writing? Join the blog team with over 20 other writers. We fellowship together, praying for one other when needed. We also have truly edifying experiences that help us grow closer together. Want to help out with graphics or social media? Same thing! You get to join a really good group of people who go the extra mile to befriend one another. Not to mention, we have a regular group for everyone to join where true friendships are bred everyday! This is the same for multiple online Christian organizations. Find one that fits your needs and get involved!
Visit www.unashamedimpact.com for more information on UI as a whole.
Tips To Getting Started
- Be Yourself. Be authentic; don’t try to be someone just because you think potential friends will like that person better. Keeping up a fake persona is tiring and will eventually backfire on you. Just be you.
- Listen. Seriously, listen and learn. Understand who this new friend is as a person. Learn about them and just become a selfless listener!
- Make The Effort. Oftentimes, we ask for friends yet we don’t respond to texts or never make time to truly cultivate the relationship. Make the effort to stay in touch and grow. Whether you make the effort or not is the determinate for how long your friendship will stand. Just be there for them, even if it’s providing a shoulder to lean on.
- Avoid Burnout. Listen, as much as you want friends, you don’t ALWAYS have to jump on the opportunities to do millions of things. Find a healthy balance between your friendship and personal life and grow. Don’t get so burned out that you don’t want to do things in the long run.
- Be The Friend You Want. Treat your friends how you’d want to be treated. Almost identical to the golden rule; just be reliable, dependable, trustworthy, sharing, and selfless.
- Don’t Overwhelm. Give your friend some space. Don’t overwhelm or overburden them with clinginess.