He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20)
If asked to describe my friends, I would say that they are those who I enjoy spending time with and talking to the most. They are people who are honest with me even when the truth isn’t easy for me to hear. They are positive, upbeat, optimistic, fun-loving, and God-fearing people. They care about me and would “ride or die” if the situation called for it. They are compassionate and understanding. They rejoice with me when good things come my way. They are not jealous of me at all. I can trust them. I know that they would never do anything to intentionally hurt me. My friends are all goal oriented and constantly seeking to grow into their better and stronger selves. They are driven and supportive and challenge me to be better. I look to them for strength, godly counsel, and wisdom.
I hope they would describe me the same way as well.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
It took an incident in which I wasn’t the “friendliest” to rock my world and show me the importance of not only having good friends, but of being a good one too. One day in high school, one of my dearest friends asked me to sit next to her on the school bus because she REALLY needed to talk. I don’t know what was wrong with me that day, but I told her that I didn’t want to change my seat and she was welcome to sit next to me if she needed to talk. She looked at me with such hurt in her eyes and I looked past her hurt and turned away. By the end of the bus ride, she hadn’t moved and neither had I. Her heart ached and mine was filled with anger (since that was the emotion I ran to when I didn’t know what else to feel). That day changed our relationship. We went from being inseparable to seeing each other in the hallways and looking the other way.
I later found out that she was dealing with a weighty family situation and didn’t think anyone would understand better than I would. This friend was someone who was usually in a better mood than I was, but in her (rare) moment of need I wasn’t there for her. Why? There was honestly no good reason. When I found this out, I felt terrible. I attempted to apologize a few times after that, but she was too hurt to hear me…
We eventually reconciled years later, thank God, but I missed a lot of opportunities to celebrate her life with her and vice versa because of that one moment when I was too stubborn and too selfish to be a good friend. Me staying in my seat wasn’t worth what I lost.
That situation taught me that being a good friend means sometimes stepping outside of my comfort zone, getting over myself, and being aware of and sensitive to the needs and desires of others. To have friends, I MUST be one.