Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Ecclesiastes 4:12
“WHEN MY MOM had cancer,” Trisha recalls, “my Sunday school teacher took a lot of time for me. I don’t know how I would have gotten through everything without her help. My mom couldn’t pay attention to me. Then Soo-Min took me walking or went out with me for fast food once or twice a week. And she listened. She made me feel like I mattered.”
Feeling like you matter doesn’t come so much from what friends do but from who they are: true friends. Friendship isn’t so much about doing things as it is about being someone. Doing for your friends is important, but doing feels fakey unless it flows from who you are as a true friend. Here are three don’t-leave-home-without them qualities for being an available friend.
First, be interested. Being interested means genuinely caring about your friend and what he or she faces. It’s about caring enough to put time into your friendship and get involved in your friend’s world. An interested friend might:
- Schedule time to spend with someone at a time that works for him or her.
- Communicate, “I’m here for you, and with God’s help we’ll get through this together. I’ll be calling you to see how you’re doing.”
Second, be a listener. Listening is one way you identify with what your friend is feeling. If you don’t really listen, the time spent with your friend doesn’t mean much. Here are a couple of practical ideas for being a good listener:
- Make sure you understand by asking something like, “What do you mean by that?” or “Why is that important to you?” to draw your friend out.
- Don’t interrupt your friend or jump in to finish his or her sentences.
Third, be a safe zone. Your friend needs to feel that whatever he or she shares with you won’t be blabbed all over school, church, or the community. Being a safe zone means you treat information with confidentiality, letting your friend feel safe about sharing his or her struggles. You demonstrate that you are a safe zone when you:
- Say something like, “I won’t share what you tell me with anyone unless you want me to.” Mean it. And keep your promise.
- Don’t share what was told you in confidence with others even if you leave out your friend’s name. People figure things out.
REFLECT: In what areas do you need to grow as an available friend?
PRAY: Ask God to help you grow!