Depression is a problem in America. It is so prevalent in the U.S. that it’s the leading cause of disability in our country. When someone struggles with depression, they often feel isolated, alone, and as if they have no friends. Believe me, I have felt this exact feeling. I have been so deep in despair that I wanted to talk to a friend, but every time I reached for the phone I thought to myself but we don’t talk like that… or I don’t want them to worry… and 9 times out of 10 I’d end up crying in my car because I was depressed, and also because I felt as if I had no friends to talk to (which was not true). This is a not-so-merry-go-round that I think both men and women find themselves riding year after year whether adolescents or mature adults.

Friendships are important to Christians… and everyone.

The problem is that our society has painted a picture for us that lies, saying that time spent for ourselves is selfish and time spent with friends detracts from family time. Essentially, we’re guilted into neglecting our friendships and then we suffer emotionally when we see them fail. It is true, friends come and go, but it’s a proven fact that the people who are surrounded by friends are the most successful. Successful people don’t just throw bodies together, they curate their group of friends, and this is how some of the best bonds are made.

Being Picky Pays Off

As the saying goes, quality over quantity. You may have 100 friends in your Snapchat or Facebook app that you connect with on a regular basis, but I imagine there are far less you’d like to share your intimate struggles with. There are articles all over the internet that describe the qualities that make the longest-lasting friendships, but oftentimes these articles target a secular audience–you wanna be rich? Make rich friends. You wanna be a successful entrepreneur? Surround yourself with entrepreneurs. Easy peasy. With this logic, though, how long will it take these professionally-minded friends to drop us right off the bottom of the totem pole?

My husband laughs at me because he says I will friend anyone on Facebook. (I guess I have quite a few). The truth is that I’ll “friend” anyone in real life also. I am a friendly person for sure. I love to love people. If you’re like me you may identify as an empath–someone who relates to others, who seeks to understand others, and acts as a listening ear/caretake to others.

Because of my big heart, I attract all kinds of people, so for my inner circle of friends, I carefully look for certain qualities. Do all of my friends have all of these qualities? Do I? No. How did I decide on these 9 impossible qualities? I didn’t. God gave them to us in His Word (1 Corinthians 13).

  1. Patient
    Look for patient people to be your closest friends because love is patient. When I want to share, I want someone to patiently wait their turn. When I am making a poor choice, I want them to patiently wait for the best time to intercede. When I let distance come between us, I want them to patiently wait for my return.
  2. Kind
    Look for kind people to connect with because love is kind. Not only is it nice that my friends will treat me with kindness (and my husband and kids), it is also nice that my friends themselves can accept my kindness.
  3. Confident and Supportive
    Look for confident friends who will not compare your lives and accomplishments in negativity because love is not envious. This keeps feelings from being hurt and will prevent jealousy from building a barrier between us. Instead, we will have a healthy, supportive network that celebrates success and endures failures.
  4. Humble
    Look for close friends who are humble and have a servant’s heart because love does not boast and is not proud. When we all realize that we are equal and worthy, we can all be confident, loving, kind, and supportive. Humility helps us accept criticism and kindness equally. It helps us serve ourselves or our loved ones the same as a stranger in need.
  5. Polite
    Look for people who’s aim is not to offend others, whether for humor or any other reason because love is not rude. In the words of Candace Cameron Bure, “be whatever you want to be and to do so with your ultimate purpose of glorifying God in mind. Wherever you go, just know God will be there too!” (Kind is the New Classy). If God wouldn’t be rude, we shouldn’t be either. Every criticism God shares is grounded in love and never rude.
  6. Other-Minded
    Seek out friendships with people who are other-minded because love is not selfish. Struggling through a relationship with a selfish person is downright painful. Seek out like-minded people who put others before themselves, while still taking care of themselves! Contrary to what some may believe, neglecting your emotional or physical health can actually be selfish. Healthy friendships come of two people who are independent and loving toward themselves and others.
  7. Emotionally-Stable
    This may seem harsh, but it can be difficult to have a healthy relationship with someone who is not emotionally-stable because love is not easily angered. It is much easier to grow in a healthy relationship with someone who has balanced emotions and who is adaptive instead of reactive.
  8. Forgiving
    Seek relationships with people who are forgiving of your past, your mistakes, and your offenses because love keeps no record of wrong. It is incredibly difficult to overcome hardships in a relationship when one or both parties hold grudges. On the flip side, it is easier to forgive your friend when they also forgive you.
  9. Dependable
    Seek friendships with people who are dependability because love never fails. Though I may fail and my friends may fail from time to time, the love between us will prevail. It is my hope that I can show love and support even when I am late, even when I don’t show up, and even when I can be hurtful.

Do you see what I did there? 1 Corinthians 13 outlines the qualities of Love, and the entire Bible is a blueprint on this subject. You don’t need to prune your friend’s list. You don’t even need to seek out friends with the above qualities. These qualities are the essence of Love and Love is the essence of our Savior, Jesus. Don’t pray for new friends. Pray to be more like Jesus and you will see dominoes fall as prayers go up. You will draw nearer to humankind’s Best Friend. You will reflect His qualities and you will see your friendships grow.