At thirty-one years old I am actively learning what it means to be an intentional friend. Throughout my life I've stumbled into some very sweet friendships, a rare few that have lasted through many years, multiple states and even more life changes. I'm being made increasingly aware of what a gift that is.

Recently, two other ladies and I began meeting once a week in our homes or the local coffee shop with the intention of becoming friends. Does that sound odd? 

This week we talked about what real friendship is and here are a couple of things I took away from our meeting:

Before meeting, we individually listened to a sermon on friendship which defined true friendship as this:

Choose your people with intentionality. Proverbs 13 reminds us that "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm."

This type of friendship happens on purpose. As the three of us sat around a small table and the Starbucks workers bustled around, preparing to close for the night, we discussed our likes and dislikes. We talked about what we would want a friend to know about us and ways in which we feel loved. And then we wrote it all down. And you know what? It wasn't odd. It was refreshing, actually, to be able to start out a friendship by saying, "I'd like to really know you." and put feet to that. 

Here are some suggestions to get the conversation going:
  • You should know about me...
  • I feel loved when...
  • I like (anything from your favorite ice cream to your favorite saturday activity)
  • I don't like (pet peeves to your least favorite color)
Some of these might seem silly but I can't tell you the wealth of knowledge I gained from these details.

I mean, yes, a lot of the time it does; but also, a real friend is the one who will tell you that you have something in your teeth or that your sin is showing. Yes, sin. That wasn't a typo.  What I mean is that a real friend will tell you the truth, even if it hurts. They won't pacify you or be afraid of conflict. A real (godly) friend will speak truth over you, or, if they don't know the answer or what to say, they will pray for God's wisdom instead of feeding you helpless cliches. 

The friend kissing you may be the Judas. The friend who wounds you with well thought words from the heart is the one who loves you.

I'll leave you with a few of the questions we answered ourselves:

1. Based on these points, how is Jesus a real friend to you? (Keep in mind that Jesus is not our peer, but still calls us friend.)
2. How can I be a better friend? And to whom?
3. Who is a good friend to you? Why/How?
4. What is changing my understanding of friendship?

Have you ever thought about these things? What does friendship mean to you? What does it look like for you? I'd love to hear your input in the comments.