5 Signs You’ve Found a Great Friend

Do you ever listen to a speaker, drift off, but hear one profound idea from their talk it makes you wish you had listened the whole time? I was listening to a sociologist speaking about the correlation between time and the amount of people we meet on average in a lifetime. I was dozing off until he mentioned a profound observation: in a case study of 25 young adults like you and I, every single person reported a consistent decreased interest or drive in meeting new people the older they grew.

This got me thinking.

For many reasons the observation made by the sociologist appears to be accurate. We get busy with work and tired from the long day. Some of us move to new cities; the idea of a creating a new network of friends feels exhausting. We then meet coworkers who introduce us to their friends or use app after app, even dating ones, to “meet people”, but in the end we usually end up even more exhausted from the entire process. We become exhausted because we end up comparing the close intimacy we’ve experienced with our friends from college or childhood with the people we just spent three hours chugging down drinks with, and being sorely disappointed after the first few meetups. In other cases certain values aren’t shared or assumed societal norms are not viewed in the same light and we feel a significant disconnect. As a result, we become massively disillusioned with our current circumstances and opt to simply stay in touch with the friends we already have made and carry on with our stage of life. We begin to lose the ability to discern what exactly excites us about being in relationship with people. At the end of the day you and I still desire to, in a sense, “do life with people” who understand us and where we come from, it’s only natural we would want such a reality for ourselves.

 

As we venture into the post college world here are five signs you’ve found a good friend and can hopefully make meeting new friends, identifying their immense value, and growing the relationship a bit easier:

  • There is a mutual feeling of brilliance: in any relationship people like to refer to this mutual brilliance as “chemistry”. The beauty of finding great friends is that this “chemistry”, spark, or whatever you want to call it inspires us to discover more about the person across from us and seek to develop the friendship
  • They possess a unique combination of the ability to support you, but call you out on your “B.S.”: acquaintances, and even “good” friends, will move to only offer words of support in our most vulnerable moments. Great friends worth keeping around not only hold us up when we’re down, but shoot us down when we are getting too high on our horse.
  • A seamless, yet constant exchange of leadership occurs frequently: in great friendships ego tends to dissipate. The friends we ought to pursue are comfortable enough to discern whether to take more initiative or default to you in certain situations; this can be seen when it comes to any issue whether it’s what restaurant to eat at or where to go on a Friday night.
  • They’re intentional; they ask great questions and move to encourage you: great friends simply know how to ask intentional questions that go beyond the superficial front you and I know so well. These questions inquire deep enough to the point of making us feel known, but not intimate enough to make us feel too vulnerable.
  • Openness exists between you two: Perhaps the final sign a friend might show to indicate their promising friendship is a transparent openness. When great friends get together transparency takes an underlying precedent, but doesn’t become the center of attention. In other words, you aren’t spending your time simply spilling your guts, but rather, moving towards resolution for whatever issue(s) you may be having.

The tendency in mundane or difficult situations is to resort to one stop shop methods and run short in patience; the latter becomes an even greater temptation in developing relationships. As we seek phenomenal, life giving relationships in a new stage of life we can choose to trust in the process and take time to see the community in front of us grow before our very eyes. The five signs listed are simply the top five ways in which I personally identify relationships, but there are different indicators for each of us. We all have unique tendencies and brilliant ways in which we see life, relationships, and everything in between. Perhaps this conversation can be a catalyst for your next season of life.

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Two-Minute Tuesday: How to be Intentional With Our Friends [Today, Right Now]

As you and I seek to grow our relationships one of the ways we can do so is by being intentional with how we seek our friends out. At first glance the word “intentional” is rather intuitive, but something you and I very much lack in the foundation of our relationships; on a day to day basis it’s a behavior we forget because we assume to practice intentionality naturally. So for our two-minute read Tuesday here are perhaps a few points that might bring life to our relationships and help make us a bit more “intentional”:

  • Know the Five Love Languages (in no specific order): Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time. Cheesy, but nonetheless effective. There are other ways, but these are compiled into a simple, easy to understand list. (For more clarification on what the love languages are, check this link out.)
  • Find the love language you think the person most enjoys and then do it. Look for some sort of positive reaction: a smile, indicative body language, increased vulnerability in their sharing of conversation, and go from there.
  • Grab 30 minutes and ask open-ended questions using these opening words: Who, What, Why, Where, When, or How. (Ex: What do you feel excites you most in life? How do you enjoy your work and why?) Grab a quick coffee. It doesn’t need to be deep or gut-wrenching, but a simple time to be authentic and walk alongside one another.
  • Listen and Continue to Build Foundation: The Key Word is listen: remember what was said by the person across from you the best you can and reference back to what you heard next time you sit down together.

At the end of the day the above points are simply a few methods in which we can be intentional in developing our relationships; these are not the ways to necessarily grow with people, but certainly options in which we can choose from.

Introducing, Two-Minute Tuesdays + More

These days reading news, articles, or any other medium of information comes in all shapes and forms. You and I see it every day on our newsfeed via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc…Some of us enjoy reading long research articles with a clean five point thesis plus supporting points and, for others, it just takes a simple tweet to satiate our curiosity bug for the day.

This dichotomy got me thinking and I started to ask the question, “how can I add value to my network without giving off the feeling of tackiness or unexplained opinion?”. So I started brainstorming with a few of my friends and we came up with this idea of a “two-minute read”. Perhaps it’s nothing new, but maybe it can be an improvement on the unsubstantiated, over opinionated tweet and a tasty summary of those long research articles.

Better yet, we wanted to add some wonderful consonance to your day and call it “Two-Minute Tuesdays”. Every Tuesday at 10:00AM, starting tomorrow, you can look forward to a two-minute read with a introduction explaining the given topic’s context, a meaty bullet point body of explanation, and a denouement of closing statement reiterating the entire read.

As a closing note/context: I’ve recently finished a summer business internship and will look forward to writing on a weekly basis; first a Two-Minute Tuesday blurb as well as a more extensive article later in the week. Topics will range from relationships, minority perspective, millenialism, young Christian living, and a few other topics. The nature of the articles, as always, is a posture to learn and gain deeper understanding from the world around you and I.

As I write, I acknowledge I am not a Bible scholar or expert voice in any one of the topics I engage in dialogue with; I am grateful for your engagement in my writing and hope to begin conversations towards further clarity, gratitude, and greater understanding between you, I, and the rest of the world. Maranatha, Kurios Iesous

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs: Final Part: The Pickup Where You Left Off Friend

As millenials the idea of change is nothing new. We blow through high school, discover ourselves throughout college, and swim through the deep waters of an entry level career. You and I have realized change is an inevitable reality waiting to happen. However, we still love to fight it. Why leave the safety of security in pursuit of the unknown? For others, it’s a thrill to venture into such depth.

Sooner or later you and I realize our illusion of control is only as surreal as the assurance we have regarding change, simply a delusion that we are not in the driver’s seat. Life goes forward whether we fancy its movements or not.

This is where the “pick up where you left off” friend enters.

Life has a funny way of wrecking most relationships with the bullet of distance, but the “pick up where you left off” friend becomes the exception. Years later life feels as if not a day has gone by and everything, the memories, proximity, and jokes, all seem to be in tact.

Here are three reasons why having a “pick up where you left off friend” is a gift and may be something we could learn from:

  1. They are a reminder of life’s simple joy: I know this sounds bad, but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to put out the immense energy it takes to maintain your current long distance relationships? That’s what a relationship with the pickup where you left off friend feels like. Granted, fighting in sacrifice for relationships is an extremely necessary and beneficial endeavor; however, the security of knowing a friendship is safe no matter the distance regardless of your actions is evidently freeing. The pickup where you left off friend reminds us of the simple joy and privilege it is to live in security rather than trudging through the small talk and formalities life sometimes makes us carry out when reconnecting with old friends.
  2. They allow us to remain childlike: the pickup where you left off friend allows us to forget the routine of life for awhile and reminisce in a state of remembrance and camaraderie of the moments that first brought you together. For a moment we are released of life’s troubles and reminded how important it is to keep life simple and without worry, where applicable.
  3. They give us a picture of what it means to forgive and forget. As we engage with the pickup where you left off friend, we may be reminded of the brevity of time life offers between two people. We may be reminded life is too short to quarrel or spend missing people because there are far more beauties in life than to live in a state of bitterness or sorrow. The pickup where you left off friend becomes an encouragement to cherish the simple moments you currently have with the people in front of you and to always strive to love well, for we are not promised tomorrow.

Life goes on, friends, and it is such a privilege to be able to participate in this race. Everyday I’m reminded of the joy it is to live in beautiful relationship and to never stop fighting in love for the person in front of me.

This series is hopefully a reminder for you and I to love well and be intentional with the people God’s placed in our lives. It’s a call higher to walk in unconditional, responsive love for the people we naturally feel a propensity for and especially for the people we don’t necessarily vibe with.

From the man who does it the worst and in honor of a King who does it the best:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs: Part 5: The Older Friend

We’ve gone through quite a few types of friends leading up to this post. We’ve had the classic best friend who almost needs no distinction; we’ve also talked about the antithetical friend who, most of the time, is not an obvious nor convenient choice of relationship.

Now we find ourselves in front of a fifth crucial individual: the Older Friend.

Like it’s already been said, we naturally gravitate towards people who are most like us; this usually includes age, experience, and maturity. Most of us don’t seek to hang out with people younger than us much less people who have less experience in life-and rightfully so.

Unfortunately,  hanging out with people our own age simply sometimes gets mucky. Everyone is doing the same thing and coming up with noncreative solutions for everyday problems…it can feel like cabin fever.

 

But the older friend comes around and pretty much changes the game. He is usually a few years older and has gotten a head start on the significant stages of life such as college, a full time job, or even marriage. The pretentiousness that usually exists with people our own age seems to dissipate in conversation with the older friend; she knows where she stands and isn’t threatened by your existence like some of your peers would would perhaps feel. A clear distinction of experience is made and, as a result, sizing one another up becomes arbitrary; unadulterated transparency and friendship can take place.

So, in the spirit of diversity of friendship here are a few reasons why having an Older Friend makes sense:

  1. They Get “It”: In tough moments some of us go to older mentors. However, sometimes these mentors just don’t get it. We perceive them as judgmental and unable to understand our current context. Older friends have most likely been where you are within the last few years and can help bring helpful language towards a solution; this familiarity also breeds empathy which creates greater passage ways for further communication and understanding to take place.
  2. They Give You a Picture of Unthreatened Friendship: When dealing with peers it’s inconvenient and almost exhausting to deal with the insecurity and comparison that occurs between people of similar age. Some relationships would be wonderful if it wasn’t for ego, comparison, and an inability to see past certain qualities. The older friend usually is able to put all these things aside and see you for who you are and not what you are lacking. At the end of the day you guys can simply laugh and not worry about all the drama that comes along with friends similar in age.
  3. They are a Reflection of Unconditional Love: The love from an Older Friend is refreshing because they don’t simply see you as the younger, irrelevant human being like much of society might see you as. We, millenials, are often patronized and looked down upon for our arrogance and lack of experience. The older friend may even acknowledge our arrogance and lack of experience, but loves us through it anyway not because we deserve such treatment, but because they know it’s going to allow us to grow.

At the end of the day the older friend has very little selfish ambition when befriending younger folk; it doesn’t feel like they are loving you because they want to get a particular benefit out of the relationship. What a freeing thought, especially in the context of relationships, to know you aren’t being used and being loved for who you are! There it is folks, a few reasons why having an older friend is beneficial and wonderful!

 

The Friend Just Like You

Often times it’s the people who think, talk, and act like us who understand who we are and where we come from. As intuitive as this idea may appear many of us make the mistake of assuming the rest of society goes through our same thought process when making various decisions.

As a result we find ourselves in front of a bevy of issues: miscommunication, dissension, indifference, etc…the list goes on. In a world of so many different personalities and leanings it can become exhausting to engage in communication (granted I contend in the previous article this contrast is what makes us human; it actually becomes necessary to engage different backgrounds and cultures, but for this point we shall carry on).

In light of this disconnect, it can be safe to say sometimes we need a friend just like us. For mere moments we can consider and sift through our words and thoughts as the friend, who is just like us, conveys them. Are we making sense? Are the beliefs and values my like-minded friend and I share sensitive and life giving to the people around us? These buddies can be a mirror of reflection of consideration and awareness. It’s these same friends who allow us to have almost an out of body experience and ultimately become more self-aware of our good and bad qualities.

 

So in the spirit of self-awareness and avoiding destructive narcissism, here a few reasons why you might need a friend just like you:

1. They grant us validation: Normally validation isn’t so great, but for the few moments validation is necessary having a friend just like you is extremely helpful. It’s when we experience instances of faltering confidence that a friend just like us can come in and provide the needed reassurance to help allow us to move forward. Plus, they let us know we aren’t too crazy; it’s sometimes helpful to have a friend just like you who is older or more mature because they’ve been where you are and can give advice accordingly

2. They are a helpful aid for self-awareness: There have been times where I observe the friends just like myself and think, “wow, I was just thinking that”. Usually one of two things occur in that moment. I either think of how amazing and profound the same thought I processed was spoken by another human being so similarly or I think how I can make an improved adjustment for myself on what was just said. The goal for self-awareness is to pursue balance and beneficial action for the rest of society; the friend just like us gives us a mirror to grant us a reflection of how we may be and perhaps how we can make a beneficial adjustment towards greater development.

3. They’re fun: Let’s be honest, having a friend just like ourselves is thrilling and adventurous. It’s like the twin we never got to have. In the spirit of the ride or die friend we can experience the thrill of solidarity with buddies just like us and experience, if for a brief moment, beautiful harmony. The natural flow of relationship that comes with the friend just like us allows us to experience a light and easy exchange of love; when we are with friends like ourselves we can experience poetry in motion and friendship freely given.

These are just a few reasons of why we may need a friend just like us!

*disclaimer, it’s our natural propensity that brings us to people just like ourselves. The Bible regards like-mindedness and unity as cornerstones for godly, wonderful community. The idea I like to offer to my peers is to find friends like ourselves; likewise, we are given the privilege of sharing that same, easy love with the people around us. A godly love always invites and includes others where it’s easy to engage with one another. Just a reminder for you and I to not settle at the idea of community, but allow our love for one another to burst into a world that needs it more than ever.

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs Part 3: The Antithetical Friend

Would I be crazy to say finding people like ourselves is pretty convenient, daresay easy? Our own leanings often bring us to people who look like us, talk like us, and think like us; it truly feels right in the world when we can find those special people who make us feel like we are talking to the person in the mirror. We are naturally self-indulgent beings who love ourselves.

So what about the people who are the opposite of the manner in which we look, speak, and think? Do we simply avoid them like the plague?

I think there’s something more. Sometimes it’s the ones who are the most antithetical to us that allow us to experience growth. While we may still progress in maturity loving people like ourselves, might we consider another prospect? What if we were to walk in sacrificial friendship with those who are the opposite of us in spite of the possible inconvenience they might present?

Coming out of high school it was miserable to deal with anyone who procrastinated or did not have a sensitivity for other people’s feelings. I would emotionally implode and become frustrated over the lack of similarity of beliefs and values. However, after much thought, something switched; what happened next in process was profound. I began to empathize with these different people’s perspectives and sought to understand the world through the eyes of the antithetical person in front of me; in short, I began to grow.

While I can’t convince you to seek out those who are antithetical in nature, I can present a few reasons for why you could benefit from walking in committed friendship with the aforementioned:

1. They allow us to grow where we are weak: people who are antithetical are just that, antithetical. In many ways they are our complete opposite. But get this: where you might be lacking the antithetical friend may be gifted; where you are insufficient they may be more than sufficient. The antithetical friend allows us to see our weaknesses for what they are and, in best case scenario, teach us how to strengthen these same weaknesses.

2. They cultivate our perspective and empathy: just like in my case where I was utterly confused and frustrated at someone’s lack of sensitivity to the people around them, we can gain perspective and empathy from the antithetical friend. As we seek understanding of a person’s point of view we begin to develop a greater empathy and oversight for where other people different from ourselves may operate. This allows us to better function with future coworkers, employees, and significant others.

3. They grow our capacity for long suffering: let’s face it, being with someone who is different from you is tough and rather inconvenient. From what I hear about marriage, the reality formerly mentioned often becomes an issue. But what I also hear about marriage is that long suffering and a propensity towards patience are also developed out of a place of having to persevere through various, differing issues. In the same way the antithetical friend’s differing nature compels us to move toward solution, not out of convenience, but a perseverance towards wonderful harmony and friendship.

A bit of a tough message, but I think all the more necessary for us to recognize the opposite personalities in our lives; how much we can learn from someone who is antithetical in nature!

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs Part 2: The Ride or Die Friend

The ride or die friend may not be the best friend or even the one who knows you inside and out, but they’re the ones who are down for anything and anytime. These treasured buddies are the ones who remind us that life is done better together; the activities you do together with the ride or die friend can be as exciting as spontaneously exploring the local metropolitan city or as mundane as chilling on the sofa and listening to a throwback playlist.

I’ve heard it often said it’s not what we do together, but whom we do it with; in today’s world it has become even more apparent the vast array of options concerning living situations, job choice, and even hobbies. As a result, we’ve developed quite the component lifestyle for ourselves doing a myriad of activities; with so many options we’ve decided to pack as much of our differing social circles and passions into a single schedule.

Classic millenial sentiment brings us to a simple, yet concerning issue. Who do we do life with when we have such a wide array of job choices and hobbies? Do we simply hang out with our church friends Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday and our drinking buddies Tuesday and Friday? The ride or die friend becomes a crucial piece to our lives because:

  1. They remind us of the importance of solidarity: The ride or die friend allows us to experience the exhilarating feeling of unspoken unity and agreement. It’s this very same unspoken sentiment that supersedes any organizational tie and gives us an unadulterated picture of what it means to dwell in greater love and unity without distraction.
  2. They give us an idea of what sacrifice looks like: Often times the ride or die friend isn’t simply waiting on a whim to hang out because he has a free schedule; she isn’t waiting by the phone anticipating that hangout text. For many of us time constraints and previous commitments are a reality; as a result rest and personal time come at a premium. Ride or die friends grant us a picture of sacrifice by means of balancing work and rest while putting in time and effort to be at our side.
  3. They are a reflection of the manner in which God is with us: We’ve heard God is always with us; in fact, we learn in Sunday school the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead also lives within us. Crazy, huh? God is with us; this means God doesn’t have to check his schedule or be booked in two weeks in advance for us to roll with him. God doesn’t ignore our spiritual inquiries or forget to respond. He may not always respond in immediate, definitive fashion, but he’s always a “yes, I’m with you” type of God. The ride or die friend becomes a reflection of the relentless love of God and gives us a taste of a God who is always, always present with us.

All in all the ride or die friend is a great buddy to have around; hopefully the relationship doesn’t take on too much a “us against the world” type of feel, but rather allow us to understand the importance of solidarity. Here’s to the ride or die friends of the world!

The 6 Friends Everybody Needs Part 1: The Best Friend

The Best Friend. Cliche, I know; it’s the Classic, American, perennial term for the person who gets you 100% and can usually talk sense into you when you’re feeling down. When I think of the term, “best friend” I enjoy Urban Dictionary’s definition:

“Best Friends are very special people in your life. They are the first people you think about when you make plans. They are the first people you go to when you need someone to talk to. You will phone them up just to talk about nothing, or the most important things in your life. When you’re sad they will try their hardest to cheer you up. They give the best hugs in the world! They are the shoulder to cry on, because you know that they truly care about you. In most cases they would take a bullet for you, coz it would be too painful to watch you get hurt.”

 

While I think Urban Dictionary’s definition surely captures the classic understanding of the “Your Bert to my Ernie” type of relationship, there is a bit more to the definition and necessity of the “Best Friend”

  1. The Best Friend is a Reflection of Unconditional Love: In a society that has become more about “what you’ve done for me lately” it’s often difficult to find people that will stick through your mistakes and take the extra step to love you even better. The best friend walks with you through your junk and often is apart of your personal breakthrough in the toughest of moments. Most of the time they see you in your ugliest and most decrepit of moments, yet, they will still choose to love you. Ultimately, the unconditional love of a best friend points you to Christ and knowing Him more; coincidentally, you also find more of who you are in Christ.
  2. They Bring a Bit of Everything to the Table: In many instances the best friend does not have a particular reason why you and her may be friend. You and him might not even remember how you guys first met. But that’s the beauty, the relationship simply works; it’s wonderful because the best friend brings a bit of everything: that favorite football team, genre of music, outdoor experience, etc…they’re simply content to being with you and don’t make you feel like you have to be something particular in order to be in their life.
  3. There is a Constant Exchange of Following and Leading: in the most functional of best friend relationships, the best friend engages in a beautiful dance of following and leading with you…they are releasing in nature. There is no skirmish for who the dominant person is; or any pride of who the more knowledgable person is. A best friend is comfortable with taking charge in certain situations and, at the same time, will gladly default to you in other circumstances. In a sense, natural leadership and the ability to follow comfortably are cultivated.

So there it is folks, three reasons why you might need a best friend and what [I think] having a best friend means. We get so caught up with the traditional definition of what it means to have a “best friend” and, many times, it becomes an all-consuming search for a self-validating relationship. If I think about my own best friend, I find the most beautiful moments were birthed out of high sacrifice and a desire to keep in touch with one another even while being thousands of miles away.

Preview: The 6 Types of Friends Everybody Needs

Hi Friends,

There is something profound about relationships. Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, once said we are the average of the five people we hang out with most. Upon reading Rohn’s quote, I began to think about the importance and sacredness of relationships; his words made me realize the product that is our lives is largely influenced by those closest to us.

I think if we examine Rohn’s intentions we may find he is not simply attempting to recite mere fact, but get us, as readers, to look deeper into the issue of relationships and personal development. Could it be that Rohn desires to encourage us to rethink the five people we spend the most time with and to be more intentional with who we spend what may be the most valuable currency on the earth, which is time?

In the good spirit of Rohn’s words I present to you a six week series of “The 6 Types of Friends Everybody Needs”. The first installment, “The Best Friend” can be expected tomorrow (May 13th).

As Millenials some of our deepest longings are to know and be known by others. It is such a gift from God to have the privilege of various deep relationships; unfortunately, some never find the people that walk alongside and spur them forward into who they were created to be. I hope to uncover and clarify perhaps a few crucial types of friends everyone could use a little bit more of. Some of the types may be expected, but some types I hope to be a refreshment to your life and perhaps something that cultivates deeper intentionality and thinking on you and I’s end.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

-Daniel