I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost friendships over the years that I wanted so badly to work. They didn’t last because they weren’t deep. They weren’t gut-level honest. Has that happened to you before? Maybe you wanted close, new friendships. You wanted to be real with another person. You found yourself giving, trusting, and sharing, but the other person just wasn’t vulnerable or didn’t respond much. Sure you can still be friends, but it won’t ever be a truly deep friendship if it doesn’t go both ways, right?
I’ve found that lasting friendships are built on vulnerability and grace—period. Any honest friendship that lasts would tell you that grace gives freely, without judgment. If grace is the rule in our friendships, and we no longer have to worry about judgment and acceptance, we are in the perfect position to flourish! Just as Christ accepts us just as we are, the friendships that will deepen and challenge us most are the ones that allow us to be honest to the core, just as we are with Christ. The grit, the great, and the growing is all included in the package. That’s what God’s amazing grace is for, after all!
I’ve made some pretty big mistakes in my life. I’ve said things I regretted, I’ve failed to communicate well to friends when I should have spoken up, and I’ve let things slide that weren’t okay. I haven’t always been a great friend! But no matter what mistakes I’ve made, I believe the redeeming part of the story is how God responds to us as our real friend! God said in Deuteronomy 30:6 NLT, “The Lᴏʀᴅ your God will change your heart and the hearts of all of your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!” God wants us to have a free, fulfilling life!
Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to truly become loved and get close to others because we refuse to show them our dark places, our hidden spaces. What will it take for us to open up and share our struggles with others? That’s how we become stronger, how Christ can work through us, and how we can be used to relate to others for Christ! Author and speaker Brené Brown said, “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” The more we accept one another as we are, the more vulnerable we can be—and the deeper our friendships will grow. There’s no point in hiding from the truth of ourselves. Are you able to open up and share your struggles with others? Here are three ways to graciously make and become a real friend!
How to Make New Friendships and Keep Them Real
- Be honest. If you can be honest with yourself, you’ll be honest with others and show them grace in the process. We’ve all made mistakes, and God will use each one to help you relate to others in a similar circumstance! Starting your new friendships with honesty means that they are formed on the foundation of truth.
- Go deep. You can only connect on a level as deep as you’re willing to go. We’ve decided to be honest with ourselves and others, right? So, share what’s really going on inside you. Real friends truly know each other because real friends share with one another. When you go deep with your new friendships you have a truer understanding of one another.
- Be humble. When we’re humble, others are free to be open around us. Love others without condition. Build bridges into other people’s lives, and God will use you in a mighty way! That’s what a real friend looks like!
- Live in grace. Being gracious to ourselves and others is the key to opening up vulnerability, trust, and friendship. Real friends are easy to find when we choose to live in grace.