As a culture, we are quick to laud romance and familial love (such as between a mother and child), but how often do we stop and recognize the love we share with our friends? To be sure, there is something to be said about having people in our lives who encourage our talents, soften our heartaches, listen to our complaints, and build us up with their constant love and laughter.
Yet… friendship is an interesting thing. While most of us would consider it to be an intrinsic good, not all friendships are created equal. After all, we’ve all no doubt experienced those friendships in which we’ve picked up bad habits or felt we had to compromise part of who we were in order to make it work (several cringe-inducing memories from college Greek life come to mind).
Friendship then, as the adage goes, has the potential to make a good man better or a bad man worse.
Sooner or later, we rise or fall to the level of our friends.
If our friends are hardworking and serious about their self-betterment, for instance, chances are we will be too. Or, if we choose friends who like to overindulge or overspend, chances are we will too.
For a friendship to be good, true and authentic, it must be built on a solid foundation — something that goes beyond common interests. Think for a moment about the men and women you’re closest to. For me, those friends are teachers of what true love is: the ones who are there through thick and thin, who see the worst in me and stick with me regardless, who strengthen and build me up with their kind words, support, and encouragement even when I don’t deserve it.
Our friendship goes deeper than a shared love of green juice, working out or the church we attend, because in the end, the ultimate purpose of friendship isn’t just to have fun together — it’s for two or more people to help one another become the best version of themselves.
We don’t often think of friendship in these terms, but it’s true, isn’t it? Our friends have a tremendous impact in shaping who we become. So, let us be wise in choosing them and just as intentional ourselves about being the best friend we can be to them.
It’s been said before, but it still rings true: “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.”
Are your friendships helping, or hindering your growth?