Healthy Friendships II: How To Make Them
Healthy Friendships II:
How to Make Them
What were the two main points from the last post on this topic? (Healthy Friendships—Why We Need Them)
1. great times better (celebration),
2. scary times more calm (trouble),
3. strenuous times more victorious (competition), and
4. sad times more joyful (encouragement).
You can’t be best friends with everyone, but you can be friendly to everyone. 🙂
Now, we read from the Bible in Ecclesiastes 4:10-12 (please click HERE) that having two or three friends is absolutely necessary for surviving in this world, and we see in the Gospels that while Jesus was kind to everyone, He chose to be friends with a small group of people and He chose to be super close friends with an even smaller group of people (Mark 3:13-18, Matthew 17:1-3, and Matthew 26:36-38).
So let’s talk about how to make friends (it’s more difficult than it sounds, trust me!).
Question: So how do you make friends? What do you need to do to get a new friend? Think about one of your best friends—how did you meet and start hanging out?
Side Note: Now, some of you might be saying to yourselves, “But I don’t need any more friends. I have a lot of them already!”
Maybe you don’t need a new friend. But maybe some other person does. Remember, this life is not all about us—what we want, need, like, etc.
Paul writes in Philippians 2:4 (NIV): “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Making new friends is one way we love, take care of, and look out for others.
Main Point #1: Making a new friend is simple, but it is not easy—kind of like golf, playing drums, or getting into Harvard. Here are four steps to try:
A. Use Your Eyes: Take a look around you, whether you are at home, in your classroom, at church, or on the playground. Is there anyone who looks sad? Is there anyone who is alone? Is there anyone who looks like they are not having as much fun as you are?
B. Use Your Feet: If so, then use your feet and walk over to them. I know this might be scary for some of you (“What will my friends think?”; “But he/she is so weird!”; “What if he/she is mean to me?”)—but this is so important. We get the best things in life by going after them, not by having them come to us. And it is not just enough to notice a need; we are then supposed to do something about it (James 1:22 and 2:14-16).
C. Use Your Mouth: Once you walk over to the person, use your mouth to say kind words to them. Start off by saying “Hi” and introducing yourself. It’s that simple. But it’s not easy. I’ve seen how some of you act when you meet another person—it’s really humorous! Your back gets stiff, you look around like your being surrounded by people with three heads, you make this face like your smelling the most rancid fart in the world, you kind of wave your hand in a strange way, and you generally grunt something before walking away quickly (and many of you have to be reminded to say something when the other person tells you his/her name!).
D. Use Your Hands: Finally, use your hands. By this I mean invite the person to do something with you like:
· sit with you and your friends at lunch
· play a game with you at recess or gym
· join in your conversation before or after school
This is such an important part in the process. Friends become friends by doing things together. This is the reason why the youth groups at this local church have events, Service Projects, and retreats throughout the year. Friendships form through activity, even if it is just through conversations. Do you have any friends that you have never spoken to or hung out with? Exactly.
Main Point #2: Making new friends requires the following “Four C’s”:
1. Collaboration with God (Prayer): Jesus prayed before He chose His twelve close friends. He asked His Father for help, presumably. Let’s do the same (Luke 6:12-16).
2. Choice: Notice in the verses above that Jesus “chose” His close friends. He didn’t just magically become friends with them—the friendship didn’t just happen. He chose them, and they accepted Him. You also choose who you become friends with. Don’t just look at people, hoping to become friends with them someday. Or don’t just notice people who seem bored, overly quiet, or sad and think that it would be nice to become friends with them. Choose them as friends, and then go be kind to them!!!
3. Courage: None of this is easy, my friends. If it were easy than most of you all in this room right now would be friends since we see each other almost every week. Making new friends takes courage—and courage is defined as doing the normal under abnormal situations. It’s not easy to risk your cool reputation by talking with the smelly person; it’s not easy to risk being laughed at by talking with someone new (maybe they won’t like you!); it’s not easy to be kind to someone who maybe has been mean to you in the past—but whoever said this is supposed to be easy? Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). And Paul wrote, “Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it” (2 Timothy 3:12 The Message). But Jesus is worth it!!!
4. Chocolate: My favorite part of the friend-making process. Chocolate. Mmmmm….chawk-lit. Seriously. Some times the best way to make new friends is to be a friend, and that means being generous and sharing. Each Sunday night before you go to bed, think about something kind you can do for a new person during the week. My friend Ariel says, “Who wants chocolate?” Then he goes out and shares some cool things with people. Maybe you share your dessert from lunch. Maybe you let someone else be the captain of the team at recess. Maybe you use some of your allowance/birthday/Christmas money to buy a gift for a classmate. The point is, everybody loves to receive gifts; so share some gifts with people (and don’t ask or expect them to pay you back by getting you a gift). I bet you’ll make some fantastic new friends. And you’re not buying friends here, no more than Jesus buys your love everyday by giving you a home, food, clothes, cool toys, etc. Your being kind, loving, and generous, just like Jesus. Don’t be surprised if, like Him, people start wanting to be your friend too!
So I want to start by giving you some chocolate…to give to someone else this week! Do not eat this yourself, but pray to Jesus and think about who you can give this to at school who you are not already close friends with. Then use your eyes, feet, mouth, and hands to bless someone else by sharing with them. Who knows? You might just make a new friend, and someday they might just ask Jesus to be their Friend and Savior too!
1. Know What?: Tell me something you learned from the lesson today.
2. So What?: Why is it important to have friends? How does it help you and others?
[Possible Answer: Ecclesiastes 4:7-12—for protection and even survival! Friends make good times better, sad times more joyful, boring times more fun, etc. Some people are not really good at making friends and don’t have many—I can help them with that simply by choosing to be a friend to them!]
3. Now What?: What are you going to do this week to be a friend to someone new?
[Possible Answer: Use your eyes, feet, mouth, and hands to get to know them. Share some “chocolate” with them, even if they don’t deserve it!
4. How What?: That sounds great, but it also sounds tough. How will you do that?
A. Pray. Pray. Pray. Ask for your heavenly Father’s help, just like Jesus did in Luke 6:12-16.
B. Practice this over and over again. It will be difficult and awkward and weird at first, but it gets easier and it gets better!
C. Persevere—keep practicing!]