In a world that seems to be ever-changing, the bond of friendship is more important than ever before. Friendships can greatly enrich your life.
Whether it's through texts, video chat, or meeting up with friends, it is important to connect with others.
Friends serve many purposes in our lives. They can be our pillars of mental support when we feel we cannot go on another day. Friends can also be the motivating factor we need to live an active and healthy lifestyle.
Most importantly, friends can offer us everlasting love and emotional support in times when we feel we need it most. And in turn, we do the same for them.
Through our love for our friends and our service to them, we can emulate God and learn to become more like Him.
In this article, we will examine what friendship is and the benefits of friendship. We’ll also discuss fostering friendships in our busy lives and displaying our appreciation for them.
Plus, we’ll look at what the Bible says about friendship.
Friendships are unique and can be different from one relationship to the next.
Some friendships feel stronger than others. Some people qualify as a best friend, while others are just a bit more than an acquaintance. Some friendships burn brightly over a summer or school year and then fade away.
For a strong and lasting friendship, both individuals have to contribute meaningful effort, especially if obstacles such as geographical distance or busy lifestyles come into play.
Strong friendships are initially created by similar interests but are maintained by strong characteristics shared by both people involved. Some of the main features needed to make a friendship flourish and last are compassion, respect, trust, and honesty. These Christlike qualities make close friendships and create much-needed social support in your life.
Forgiveness and encouragement are also key components of any good friendship. Just as God does, a true friend will love you for you.
Friendship has many positive attributes. In fact, there are health benefits that come from positive friendships.
Friendships provide outlets for you to vent and reduce stress levels. In this way, friends contribute positively to your well-being and emotional health. You may need a friend to talk to about a difficult day at work or even a deeper challenge in your life, such as a separation from your spouse or the death of a loved one.
This emotional support is incredibly important to have for your mental well-being.
Unfortunately, this world is filled with many hurdles of varying degrees. A good friend will help you by being that shoulder you need to lean on and even offer words of encouragement.
Good friends will know the times when they need to listen versus the times when they need to step into action.
Sometimes, we suffer from especially debilitating challenges, such as addiction or mental illness. Some of your actions during this time may damage your life, and having a friend who can call you out on your bad behaviors and help you seek help is integral.
It is not your friend’s job to fix your problems — but having someone to lean on and remind you of your worth is invaluable.
Friends can act as stress relievers, give us company to prevent loneliness, and even provide happiness in our darkest times. Let your friends help you during your times of need, and you will likely return the gesture to them one day.
The actions you take to foster a healthy friendship now will be appreciated by a healthier, happier future you.
Friendships improve your health — not only mentally but also physically.
Healthy friendships can help lower blood pressure by decreasing your stress levels. Friendships can also benefit your immune system and extend life expectancy by decreasing your chances of getting heart disease.
Acts corresponding to positive friendships also increase the release of serotonin, which in turn makes us feel happier. An increase in serotonin promotes healthy sleeping patterns and healthy digestion.
Close friends can also help decrease your feelings of loneliness and promote a healthy lifestyle.
A best friend can encourage participation in healthy physical activities to decrease stress, all the while you benefit from an increase of self-worth and self-confidence.
It is easy to get sidetracked in everyday life and forget to show our appreciation and love to our support system. This is especially true for our friends who we don’t come into contact with daily.
However, through readily accessible technology, we can continue to cultivate healthy friendships, even when we aren’t physically with someone.
Just because we do not see these important individuals on a daily or even weekly basis, it does not mean we cannot send them a text message, an email, or even a gift using today's technology.
Showing our appreciation is one very important way to keep friendships in our lives.
We can also create new friendships at any time, such as when we are out on our daily errands. Whether it’s the cashier at the grocery store or someone waiting next to you in a line, value those you meet. You never know who God will bring into your life.
Like many topics, we can turn to the Bible and see what God tells us about friendship. Friendship is something He values, and He warns us against true friends versus those we should not trust.
Proverbs 18:24 explains the value of reliable friends:
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 17:17 tells us to love our friends:
“A friend loveth at all times...”
John 15:12-15 speaks of loving each other endlessly as God loves us:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.”
Galatians 6:2 tells us to rely on each other and to always be there for the other in times of need:
“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Proverbs 16:28 explains what kind of people we should avoid, for they can damage our friendships:
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”
Proverbs 12:26 tells us to surround ourselves with the right kind of people:
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”