I read some solid friend advice in the April issue of Glamour magazine. I ripped out the page and modified the advice to match up with my own experience. I've got a few friends like this and they mean the world to me.
1) Put your friends on your list.
Our friends are often the first thing we brush off when life gets hectic. I do this constantly. I've told some of my friends up front "I'm a bad friend". Because I know myself, I realize I'm going to need to warn them of my sudden disappearance from their lives and then sudden reappearances on facebook and myspace. Facebook is great but face time is even better. I learned this with my sister last week when she was visiting from Ohio. Face time is always better.
2) Be there during rough stuff.
When your friends lives stink and you've got no reason to want to be a part of it, hang with her (or him). Just be there. Think of small things to show support. Our pastor said it best a few weeks ago in a sermon. "Lift others up because you just never know when you're going to need to lean on them."
3) Don't give too much advice.
This is a hard one, especially for us pastoral types. Sometimes our friends just need us to listen. And we know that there are times when we need to be heard as well. Wait for your friends to ask for your advice before you give it. Listen for things like, "what do you think I should do?" or "how would you feel if you were in my situation?"
4) Accept your friends as they are.
Wouldn't it be great if all of our friends were just like us? No way! You can never expect any one person to be all things for you and you probably wouldn't want that expectation placed on you either. See when your friends fail, take notes even to avoid the same mistakes, but try not to judge. Love them as they are and be patient.
5) Think about their feelings and circumstances.
If you know your friend is tight on money or going through a hard time, think about them when making plans. Opt for a less expensive night out, instead of spending your time talking about your parents (hers could be going through a divorce), talk about your goals or hopes for the future. Do something active outside that doesn't cost a dime and relieve some stress their wallets and yours.
6) Look out your friends when you're on your own.
No ones wants an unflattering picture tagged on facebook or a comment thread that's poking fun at them. Think of other when you are shopping, messaging, talking, playing. Chances are you'll be that friend that you always wanted.
Labels: friends, jr. high youth ministry, youth work