This is a continuation of Sunday’s post “Connect.”
Before I go into how to build life-giving friendships, I want to challenge you on two points.
First, the kind of connections we need do not happen in the midst of an overloaded schedule. Friendships take lots of unhurried time to build.
Secondly, make friends, not resources. Get rid of the “what can this person do for me” mentality. There is a difference between being friendly to someone because they’re useful to you and being someone’s friend. Each one in a friendship should receive the benefits of a deep connection and see it as an opportunity for giving and growing.
So, how do real relationships like this happen, the kind that creates the connections our hearts really want? We’ve all heard this, “You’ve got to be a friend to make one,” but what does this look like.
1) Be who you really are. I call this authenticity. There is nothing more attractive than a person who lives with a spirit of openness and transparency. They don’t wear masks and there’s no pretense. We all need to live with a willingness to let people know us, know what we think, and what is in our hearts.
2) Accept others. Acceptance is an act of the heart. It is different from tolerance, and it’s not the same thing as approving of someone’s behavior. John Ortberg writes that “To accept someone is to affirm to them that you think it’s a very good thing they are alive.” This will not happen if you think you’re superior to others or if you’re judgmental. Acceptance of others (especially those that are very different) can bring many blessings into your life.
In the next day or two, I’ll write about two more ways we can truly connect with others.
How have you made lasting friendships? I’d love to hear from you.