We live in a world that is more connected than ever before.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’re probably aware of the breakout success of such social media companies as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace (well maybe not that last anymore).
Through the advent of social media, it has never been easier to make new connections with others.
However, in spite of the convenience that social media brings us when it comes to making new friends, it can never ensure that these new connections we make will always be meaningful and uplifting.
It doesn’t matter if you make 2 new friends or 2,000 new friends the simple fact is that if you don’t do the work necessary to sustain these new relationships and help them grow, they can only dwindle away in significance until you forget them all together.
And that’s no good.
Good friendships make the world a better place for everyone.
I’ll be the first to attest to that.
So with that in mind, here’s the only thing you need to be mindful of when you want to be the best friend you can possibly be to all those you care about so that your relationships will be filled with both love and happiness.
To be the best friend you can possibly be, you shouldn’t love your friends for the appearances they put on or the possessions they have but rather, you should love them for how they think.
Now I understand how this might sound strange but to clarify my point a bit, let’s go to the Bible.
John 13:34-35 reads,
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
As this verse says, we should love one another as God loves us because only by doing this can we be assured that we are his disciples.
So roughly translated for the sake of my argument, we can say that this verse tells us to love our friends the same way that God loves us because only by doing that can we find real happiness.
Sounds pretty simple.
Well, except for one thing…
How does God love us?
God doesn’t love us because we look attractive.
God doesn’t love us because we have good senses of humor.
God doesn’t love us because we have thriving careers.
All these things that we think we have to have to be good friends, God doesn’t love us for any of those things.
No, God loves us for a much more meaningful reason than those small things.
God loves us for who we are.
God loves you for who you are.
The proof of that is written all over John 3:16.
Nobody sacrifices their only son for witty words or a friendly personality.
God gave his son for each and every one of us because he loves us right down the center of our entire being, beneath the masks we put on and beneath the appearances that we try to keep.
He loves us for who we are, and nothing we do will ever change that fact.
So with that in mind, the way that we become better friends to the people we love comes into focus.
Just as John 13:34-35 explains, we should strive to love people for who they really are because that the same way that God loves each and every one of us.
Well, except for one thing… (again)
How do we love each other for who we really are when we constantly lie to each other?
We aren’t omniscient like God.
We can’t just go inside someone’s head and immediately know what type of person they are on the inside.
It’s hard to know who someone really is when they, in their constant attempt to put their best foot forward, only allow the aspects of themselves that they find attractive to come to the surface while the aspects of themselves that they don’t find attractive stay locked away deep inside their hearts.
Social media is especially guilty of this practice as it more likely that we will find posts about our friends enjoying their lives than it is that we will find posts about our friends being honest and vulnerable with us.
The friendships that last begin and survive through honesty, sincerity, and vulnerability, concepts that modern society has taught us to undermine the value of and ideas that social media has taught us to completely avoid.
Yet in spite of the circumstances of modern living, there is a way to see past the masks that we all put on so that we can begin to love each other for who we really are.
All we have to do is learn how our friends think.
When we learn how our friends think, we uncover some of the most important qualities of who they really are on the inside such as what their hopes and dreams are or how they respond to difficult situations in their lives.
We are all guided by something be that by our faith, by our hobbies, by our relationships you name it, we all have something that we value the absolute most in our lives.
Similarly, all of us aren’t always as graceful and elegant as we may like others to believe we are when it comes to dealing with a difficult situation.
While some of us might get sad and cry, others might get angry and shout.
Though we all try as hard as we might to put our best foot forward, we all slip up from time to time and in doing so, reveal who we truly are.
Now, because I’m all about the practical and concrete rather than the abstract and idealistic, I will now explain how you can specifically learn how your friends think.
All you need to do is to pay close attention to what they do rather than what they say because while all of us have complete control over what we say, we periodically don’t pay attention to what we do, and in that moment, that’s where our masks come off.
Avoid social media as a means of getting to know someone.
Ask unusual questions that can’t have predetermined answers.
Pay attention to how your friends deal with stress.
But more than anything else.
Make it very clear that you will never judge your friends when they open up to you.
Make sure your friends know that when they are with you, they are safe because, in times like these, you can never know who you can really be honest with, and that’s just wrong.
The Bible tells us to love God as we love ourselves.
Just as God doesn’t turn from us for our brokenness, we should not turn from our friends for theirs.
So to sum it all up, God loves you for who you are, so love your friends for who they are.
Celebrate your common interests and acknowledge your shortcomings because every good friendship has a foundation of honesty.
Love and be loved friends.
Thanks for Reading!
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