“Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” Girl Scout song
I remember singing the song, “Make New Friends” when I became a Brownie in the 2nd grade. Still today, I love making new friends while enjoying the friendships I’ve had for many years. Because I love and value these women, I try to nurture my friendships.
It seems like nurturing friendships would be easy and just automatically happen. There are friends and seasons that this may be true. You may be friends with your neighbor who you see almost daily with little effort. Or you may be friends with one of your co-workers so it’s convenient and easy to get together for lunch or a walk. But, some friendships will take more of your time and effort; you will need to be intentional about nurturing these friendships. For those times, I want to share these 5 ways to nurture friendships that have served me well over the years. My prayer is that each of you will reach out to at least one friend with at least one of these tips and that your friendship will be blessed
Five ways to nurture your friendships:
- Pray about each friend and ask God to show you what she specifically needs and wants. I’ve always told my two daughters that to have a friend you need to BE a friend. What does it mean to be a friend? It means showing up when it’s not convenient. It means having fun and laughing, but also crying and praying together. It means being honest, loyal and committed to each other. You may have different levels of friendships – not all friends will have an equal place in your heart and life. Pray about each friend and begin serving and loving her in ways you may not have thought about before. Be the kind of friend who takes the time to really know her friends!
- Find the best way to stay connected. It might be scheduling a weekly/monthly coffee or lunch date. It might be scheduling a convenient time to Skype. Decide together what works best for you to connect. One of my best friends lives several states away, so we talk weekly on the phone. We may email or text other times, but I know I can count on that call to catch up, pray and invest in each other. Different schedules, locations and situations don’t need to end your friendship. Be creative as you figure out how to keep the friendship going and growing!
- Apply the Golden Rule to your friends; “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” What kind of help could you have used when your kids were sick? How could someone have helped when you moved to a new house? As you watch your friends go through experiences and situations, think about what you would like or would have liked someone to do for you. This is especially meaningful if you’ve gone through something difficult – you know what could make your friend’s life easier. Now that I’ve gone through a divorce and moved later in life, I’m more aware of the challenges these two situations may bring. I know how to serve other women going through similar circumstances in a way I didn’t know before going through it myself.
- Be realistic and honest when you are unable to serve a friend and meet her needs. You may be thinking, “What? If I’m a true friend I will always help my friends!” But the truth is, you may be dealing with things in your own life that make it difficult to help one of your friends right now. The best thing to do is to be honest. I remember in my younger years practically sharing my year’s commitments when I was asked to do something for a friend and was already busy…. I felt so guilty! But, then I realized my friend was just asking a favor. If I couldn’t help, she’d ask someone else. You don’t have to meet every need of someone to be her friend. True friends understand when you are unable to serve them. Don’t worry; your friend will need your help another time!
- Lavish your friends with “just because” gifts. Who doesn’t love going to the mailbox and pulling out a card or even a favorite gift card from a thoughtful friend? Think of ways you can show your friend how much you value her friendship. It doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time. It truly is the thought that counts!
For more ideas on “just because” gifts for your girlfriends, click HERE.
As you choose to nurture your friendships, you’ll see them flourish and grow. Your life will be richer when you take the time to truly invest in each other. The song really is true that friends are treasures of silver and gold!