Bible Reading: Colossians 3:12-15
You must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12
LOADS OF STUDENTS figure loneliness is a lifetime sentence. They have decided they’ll never have any real friends or they don’t deserve for someone to like them. But that’s not true.
You don’t have be trapped in a friendless prison cell of boredom, loneliness, and depression. You can break out into a world of rich, close friendships. But busting loose takes personal honesty and seven sometimes-scary steps toward better friendships:
- Take an honest look at your life. Be truthful-but not negative-about your social weaknesses. Recognize where you need to grow, then set realistic goals to make progress in those areas.
- Find someone who can mentor you. A mentor is usually someone older who can show you the way. You can get unbiased feedback on your strengths and weaknesses-feedback offered in a kind, helpful way. A mentor can give you ideas about how to be a better friend.
- Have realistic expectations. Some people keep trying to break into the popular crowd to bolster their own self-image. In the end, that crowd usually rejects them, which just feeds the defeat cycle. Make up your mind: Do you want a friend or a status symbol?
- Take a long-term approach. Changes don’t often occur quickly. Instead, small steps may take place over a longer time. A mentor can suggest some small, specific steps that will start you on the road to worthwhile friendships.
- Watch your attitude. Attitudes determine actions. Guard against thinking things like, ”I’m a jerk,” “No one likes me,” or ”I’ll never have any friends.” If you treat yourself in a friendly way, you’re more likely to present yourself in a positive way to others.
- Focus on being a friend, not on getting a friend. You will find greater success and less loneliness when you focus on befriending others instead of trying to convince others to like you. Make it your goal to be a good listener, encourage others to talk about themselves, and show you care when others feel down.
- Cultivate a quality relationship with Jesus Christ. The more you experience friendship with Jesus, the more relaxed you will be with others. A great friendship with him opens the door to great friendships with others.
REFLECT: How are you doing in your search for friends? What needs to change?
PRAY: Share with Jesus your desire to be the kind of friend to others that he has been to you.