After preaching on a Better Y’all yesterday, I wanted to follow up with THREE KEYS TO BETTER RELATIONSHIPS: Friendship is an interesting kind of love. There’s no contract legally binding you two together, there’s no unspoken rule about loving each other unconditionally, and there’s no real binding commitment to the opposite person other than what you are willing to put in to the relationship.
I am a blessed man. I have a couple of guys like this in my life. I even have these qualities in my wife. Thanks guys! And, thank you, Jenny. I love you.
But maybe these are the reasons why our friendships are so valuable. The option is always there to back out at any time, and yet, with the really, really authentic ones, we never do.
1. VALUE & RESPECT:
They won’t always agree with you (Who does?), but they’ll always welcome your opinion. Your friend won’t intentionally blow your candle out, thinking it will make theirs shine brighter.
They will respect and value for you who and what you want for yourself and knows they do not shine as bright without you. You are partners-in-crime and the only way for that to work is if you both respect & value one another.
You can’t move forward in a relationship when one person is hung up on the past. But being a GREAT friend is more than just forgiveness; it’s about compassion for the other person. They forgive you because they believe you have the capacity to be better next time. A real friend understands that you both have flaws and grows with you to embrace them. Forgiveness is often a season, not an action. Genuine friendships survive the test of time. Forgiveness is critical if we are to become the very best friend. The old adage is true. If you want great friends, be a great friend.
3. Listens with Empathy:
This might be the most important and also the least common quality to find in a friend: the ability to listen with complete acceptance and without interruption or offering unsolicited advice. A true friend listens with an open heart, is fully present (isn’t checking their iPhone while you’re telling them about your painful challenge), and asks follow-up questions that indicate the they were, in fact, really listening.
Great friends don’t grow on trees! A decent friend is fairly easy to come by, but a great friend — a truly like-minded and like-hearted friend that you share that special chemistry — is a rare gift. Treat that relationship like the treasure it is.
We grow BETTER as we grow in acceptance and grace with the gifts of friendship the Divine places in our lives.