Whether you are an introvert, an extrovert, a people person or a social outcast, one thing I know to be true…We are built to do this life together. God Himself placed this into His creation. He said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” Emphasis on US!
In my line of work, you better have friends. When I was a builder/developer, I needed friends. Actually, I’ve never found myself doing anything that mattered without needing friends to challenge me, encourage me and hold me accountable.
I am an awful friend. I know that’s an awful confession about a pastor. But it’s true. I don’t reach out to many other guys, but I should. I don’t naturally gravitate toward encouragement, but I should. I don’t stop and check on how I could help someone or pray for them nearly enough, but I should.
Over the course of the past 5-6 years I’ve come to a state of mind and attitude that I want to become a really good friend and I want and need really good friends. So here are three attributes of what I want to be to a friend and what I think I’d like to have in the quality of my friends.
- Real Time Authenticity. I don’t need a rehearsed or scripted conversation that always ends in what I can do for them. I’ve learned the hard way that if your friends disappear the moment you cannot offer them something, you never really had their friendship. You were an acquaintance that offered a needed service hidden behind the mask of friendship. I also want to know that my friends and I with them, are the same person in any environment. A good friend of mine is a big deal. I mean, he’s a really big deal, but when he sees me walk into a room, he treats me like I’m a big deal. I want to be an authentic friend that treats my friends like a big deal.
- Limitless Honesty. I want my friends to tell me truth, especially when it is challenging. And I want to be able to tell my friends those things (in honesty) that might be a challenge. No matter what it is about, the truth is always the right conversation with a true friend. And not just when it’s convenient. I’ve been the emperor with no britches and that’s not cool!
- Compassionate Accountability. The last thing I need in a friend is someone that will let me coast or slip. I need friends that will graciously hold me accountable in my walk with God, my marriage, family, career and attitudes. My wife Jenny is my number one fan, but she is also my number one accountability partner. She will bust me on a bad attitude or selfish motive in a heart beat. For that and so much more, I love her so much! But really, I’m not looking for drill sergeants and I have no desire to become a drill Sargent. Compassion and kindness are required to lovingly hold a friend accountable.
There are plenty of other qualities in friendship, but these three seemed to rush to the front of the line. I am fully confident that this world would be a far better place to lead, love and lead should we choose to live in friendship with Real Time Authenticity, Limitless Honesty and Compassionate Accountability!
As Fred Rogers well said, “won’t you be my neighbor?”
Go in Peace,