When swim practice ends, my daughter Faith hops out of the pool in one smooth motion. She walks my direction, arms crossed over her chest. She leaves a trail of water in her wake, and one look at her expression tells me she’s awake to something bothering her, too.
When she reaches me, I grab the large white towel, unfold it, and wrap it around her shivering shoulders.
“What’s wrong?” I ask. “It can’t be how you were swimming. You looked great!”
She gives the pool and a young boy standing next to it a hard side eye.
“It’s that boy, mama. Every time I catch up with him and try to pass him in our lane, he throws a fit and won’t let me move ahead of him. It’s so annoying!”
From the sidelines or in the thick of things, it’s easy to pick the obvious rude behavior. But sometimes bad habits and rude behavior aren’t so obvious. They sneak in and stealthily sabotage our relationships – in particular our friendships. There’s nowhere I’ve been more keenly aware of this than in my own behavior. So today, I’m looking inside my own friendships – and inside my own heart – to yank out these bad habits by the roots so my friendships bloom better. And I’m replacing them with 10 habits of a totally awesome friend. We may not develop or display them perfectly, but they can show our heart’s goal.
1. She remembers friendship moves in two lanes. She doesn’t mind making use of her own lane to reach her friend rather than checking the horizon to see when her friend is coming to her.
2. She looks her friend in the eye when she talks to her. She gives her the gift of her full attention.
3. She says please and thank you. When someone compliments her savory meal or cute shirt, she doesn’t shift uncomfortably in her seat or list off all its flaws. She just says thank you and shows humility at its finest.
4. She doesn’t interrupt her friend when she’s talking. This seems like a problem only kids should have, but grown-ups often do this, too.
5. She leaves her one-up stories at home. She chooses to listen and take in what her friend says rather than hand out her story laden with harder, more dramatic plots.
6. She listens and remembers that sometimes it’s best to hold her opinions close. She remembers we are called to ease one another’s burdens, not add to them. And sometimes that means listening more and talking less.
7. She provides a safe space for her friend’s differences. She doesn’t write her friend off because she see the world differently.
8. She gives to give, not to get. Whether in a facebook message, tweet, or card, she gives kind words from a desire to lift others up by showing humility through encouragement. She leaves expectations out of the gesture.
9. She allows freedom for life’s changing seasons, twists and turns. If her friend isn’t as free to hang out as she used to be, she sees it as the result of a life change and the responsibilities it brings rather than any change in her friend’s feelings toward their friendship.
10. She validates her friends’ problems. She also may give her a good, honest dose of reality when needed, but she lets her friend know that in the end, she will be okay, too.
What habits would you add to my list?
Psst: Some fun news! If you could use a friend that sends the message you’re going to be okay straight to your heart, then let me fill you in on a special treat: Holley Gerth, the world’s encourager-in-chief, has a brand new baby book that releases TODAY. It’s called You’re Going to Be Okay, and it’s available on Amazon, B&N, CBD, and DaySpring.
Isn’t she beautiful?
Of course she’s not just beautiful to look at, but she’s chock-full of relevant words that provide beautiful encouragement to your heart and soul. Here’s just a small sampling of what’s inside:
I want to whisper, “I know this isn’t easy.” You’ve made it this far, and that tells me so much about you – that you are a brave, beautiful, faithful woman. You are trying to trust even when you’re not sure what’s ahead. You’re persevering when it would be easier to give up.
I don’t know what your future holds. But I know who holds you…The news ticker for your life still reads, “Good things coming.” ~ Holley Gerth, You’re Going to Be Okay
In this book, Holley expertly connects spiritual truths with the physical and mental, so her encouragement is perfectly well-rounded. Quite honestly, I can’t praise it highly enough.
May it bless you – all of you – as it has me. Have a wonderful day, my totally awesome friends. I love you!