Thankful for Friends

Friends are special people, to be cherished and appreciated.

You can’t force friends, can you? They sort of just happen organically. You go from casual chats and shared interests, to more personal talks and disclosure. Suddenly, you have a person you can confide in, someone to laugh with.

In this busy life, when you and a pal can pick right up with the conversation you left off with years ago, like no time has passed? That’s how you know you’ve got a real friend.

Friends lift us up when we’re down. Friends listen to our stories without judgment. Friends make us laugh, and provide a shoulder on which to cry.

Think of all the friends you have. Friends can be classified into categories. You may have friends you’ve known forever. People who you went to school with, played with every day on the streets of your neighborhood as a kid.

You probably have friends whom you know you could tell anything to. These could be people with whom you came of age during the college years. Or maybe they’re friends that you went through something together with.

Did you volunteer overseas, serve in the military, or study abroad? Friends who find themselves together in unfamiliar lands or adverse situations often create strong, lasting bonds.

What about work friends? If you worked in the same place of employment for many years, you may have some friends from this corner of your life, who happen to know every detail of who you are as a person thanks to stories swapped between cubicles, or on lunch breaks, or in airports, or on job sites.

Neighbors, too, become friends… some, more than others, but still a certain degree of friend.

Some people don’t feel that they have many friends. Or, perhaps you’ve drifted from the friends you once knew.

When we change as a person, we can grow out of the friendships that once felt so comfortable. Maybe your perspective has changed, but your friends can’t identify. This can feel sad at first. But remember, there are always new friends to be made on the path of life.

Philippians 1:3 – “Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you.”

EXERCISE:
Give Thanks for Friends Old and New, Near and Far

Think of the people whom you consider your best friends. Write down their names. What has earned them this title for you?

Did you face something difficult together?

Think of some dear friends, and what it is about them that draws you to them? Do they make you smile and laugh? Do they have a special understanding of, and acceptance for, who you are as a person?

Write down why your dearest friends are so special to you.

If you’ve felt yourself drifting from your closest friends recently, ask why this might be happening.

Are you both bogged down with schedules and to-do lists?

Do seem to be losing common interests and common ground for conversation?

Consider all the things you have to be thankful for this person. Make plans to get together!

Now, let’s give thanks for people we know who have the potential to become friends, or even good friends.

Write down their name(s). What is it about this person or persons that makes you want to become closer as friends?

If something has stopped you from getting to know each other even though you wanted to, what was it?

Can you move past that obstacle, reach out to them, and kindle a friendship?

If this seems overwhelming, think of ways to start small, and get to know this person better. Write down some activities that you can invite them to. Do you have other friends they might get along with?

Bringing good people together is another excellent reason to give thanks for the joy of friendship!

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