How to Make (and Pick) Friends, Part I

(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)

How to Make (and Pick) Friend, Part 1

By Jacqueline Napoli

It’s been an incredible first year here at Marked Magazine, and we heartily thank our readers and friends for joining us as we press on to know Christ and grow in purity. In honor of that, let’s look at how we can grow in godly friendships.

There is a verse in the Bible that I have learned a lot from, but the funny thing is that it’s actually a mistranslation: “A man that has friends must show himself friendly” (Prov. 18:24). The Hebrew says something completely different, and we will get to that later. For now though, it works, and it’s a good principle.

So the first step to making friends is being super friendly. In my case, I shoot for two notches or so down from golden retriever: sweet, fun, interested, sincere. I don’t really worry about whether people think I’m dumb or spastic, but rather I focus on letting people know they matter and I care about them. If they don’t like me, that’s okay. Jesus said in Matthew 10:42 that if I even give someone a cup of cold water because I love Him, that reward will never be lost. Kindness refreshes the soul like cold water, and it’s never given in vain. People are surprised by it and consider it incredibly winsome. By steadfastly applying this idea alone, you will likely find yourself with more friends than you need.

If the confidence to carry this out isn’t your strong suit, don’t sweat it. Ask God to help you show real kindness and interest and then go for it little by little. Even one shot a day. It’s not about you or how cool or great you are. It’s not even about what response you get. The girls who think it’s only about clothes, looks and popularity aren’t the ones we are interested in anyways — they can roll their eyes if they need to. We are decidedly and resolutely after quality friendships, and there are other virtuous girls out there who want the same thing we do.

Everybody wants to be cared about. Make it a habit to look others in the eye and smile at them. Ask how they are doing and mean it. It might possibly be the most real interaction they receive that day at school or work, and your easy, kind acknowledgment will make them feel noticed and valued. Ask questions and genuinely care about the answers. How is their day going? How is their family? How are their classes? Are they doing anything fun this weekend? Where did they get that cute bracelet? Show people you are nice and that you are genuinely interested in them and their lives. It’s pretty irresistible.

As you get to know other girls or guys by asking questions about their lives and engaging in their responses, two cool things happen. First, you build trust and show them you are safe. This must be sincere and not fake! The principle from Proverbs 3:3-4 basically says never to forget kindness and truth, making them your necklace. This will win you favor, reputation, love and high esteem with both God and people.

Second, get to know their character. This leads us to the real translation of our starter verse: “A man of too many friends comes to ruin and suffers harm, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Tons of friends might be what the world says you need, but God says it brings ruin and harm. Whether it’s because the price of popularity tends to be compromising morals or harm suffered because of untrue or low-caliber friends, what really matters is quality, not quantity. Having one faithful, loyal, honest friend is better than being wildly popular but suffering heartbreak from false friends. Clawing for popularity can be a profound mistake.

Next month we will talk about how to pick friends. For now, practice being a friend by showing easygoing, kind and genuine interest in whoever comes your way, letting your very best friend, the One who laid down His life just to win your eternal friendship, be the one who sticks closer than a brother. Out of that relationship will bubble up love, fun and kindness to enjoy and lavishly share.