Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday's Top Ten [Be THAT Friend.]

Guys are much better at this whole friend thing than most girls. They tell it like it is, they're usually maintenance free, typically come with less drama, and they're less judgmental. We need to learn a little bit about friendship from them. However, there are a few "girly" traits we need to keep. We were made to be emotional, passionate, and lovey-dovey. Embrace those traits! Every girl (whether or not you admit it) needs girlfriends. I highly encourage you to surround yourself with women you want to be like for one reason or another because you become like the people you spend the most time with, "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." (Proverbs 13:3)

God has blessed me with amazing friends and I was talking about this fact with one of them the other morning over chocolate truffle coffee. I couldn't resist writing about it (duh!). We may have a lot to learn from men, but I also believe men have a lot to learn from us. We have a God-given emotional side and we shouldn't be afraid to apply it to our friendships. Relationships with your girlfriends will be different and should be different because God created us differently on purpose. Here are some "Top Ten" ways to be THAT friend, that I believe would benefit our friendships in more ways than I can count (which is way past ten).

Be THAT friend.

1. ... who guards the secrets of your friends heart. If she spills her guts, you don't need to spill it to others. If you surround yourself with women who gossip about others, it's probable that when you leave the group they will turn around and gossip about you. Don't trust them. Instead of a "healthy-friend" pack you have a "ravinous-pack-of-wolves-attacking-one-another-to-show-who's-alfa-'she' dog" pack.
·        "Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler." (Proverbs 20:19)
·        "... a whisperer separates close friends." (Proverbs 16: 28)
·        "Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered." (Proverbs 11:12)

2. ... who is a prayer warrior. If your friend spills her guts, you don't need to spill it to others, but encourage your prayer warrior friends to pray for them. Give them something specific to pray about, but don't gossip about it behind your friends back, just simply ask her, do you mind if so-and-so and so-and-so pray for you too? And whenever your friends name or situation comes to mind, say a little prayer. Don't promise, "You're in my thoughts and prayers!" but never actually pray for her!

3. ... take everything to prayer. There will be times when you're angry, disappointed, feel left out or left down. WE ARE HUMAN, therefore we WILL all make mistakes. Before lashing out, giving up, or getting others to take sides, pray about it. There are two sides to every story. We are emotional, but that does not mean we need to react on our emotions right away. (This one's a really, really hard one for me.)
·        "Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (Proverbs 29:20)

4. ... who's maintenance free. We have crazy, busy, hectic lives filled with children, families, husbands, jobs, hobbies, etc. etc. Just because you don't get together daily, weekly, or monthly does not mean you're going to fall apart. It simply means that the times you do have together will be cherished because they are few and far between. I have a group of friends from college and I see them (maybe, if we're lucky) once a year, but when we get together it's like we were never apart. Be THAT friend.

5. ... who's drama free. If you have to start your sentence with, "OMG, did you hear about so-and-so who..." then you probably shouldn't be saying it. If you are listening to a rumor and immediately take sides, or if you try to "fix" something that is not yours to fix, YOU are in the wrong, "Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears." (Proverbs 26:17) If you have to start your sentence with, "I can't believe she wore/did/does..." then you are being a judgmental "she dog" that is not taking into consideration the conversation this person had with her spouse, her financial situation, her history, her dreams, and most importantly you are taking the place of God by judging what she does rather than loving her and being a prayer warrior friend. Does that mean we should condone sin? NO. Go back to #3, "... take everything to prayer" and ask God to guide you on how to handle helping your friend and remember that you too are a sinner in need of God's grace.

6. ... who tells it like it is. And I'm not talking about "calling-her-out" kind of "telling-it-like-it-is" ... I'm talking about if your friend made the effort to dress up, wear make-up and she looks absolutely beautiful - tell her. If your friend looks good in blue, tell her. If your friend has gunk in her teeth, pull her aside and tell her. If your friend's skirt is too short, you might want to tell her in a gentle way that it's not attractive to let your crotch hang out. If your friend has mastered patience with her children and you're impressed - tell her. If your friend is really good at reading to her children everyday - tell her. We live in a judgmental world that tells women how skinny they need to be, what clothes they should wear, where they should shop, what their homes should look like, how to cook, clean and love on your hubby, and we will forever fall short of all these expectations. Encourage one another by "telling it like it is" when you see something great and take to prayer the rest (see #3). You don't want to burn bridges and lose a friend because you "tell-it-like-it-is" the wrong way.

7. ... who tells your sista's you love them and mean it. Seriously. Tell them you love them.

8. ... be a listening ear. If she asks for your advice, give it. Usually, if your friend is spilling her guts she wants someone to simply LISTEN. Just remember those times when all you wanted from your hubby was for him to listen - not fix it - LISTEN! Do the same. Be that friend.

9. ... give without expecting anything in return. One of the most amazing ways I was blessed by the women in my life was when I entered the world of motherhood. They threw me a shower, my mom and sister spent a week with me after giving birth, my sister Mel helped me during labor, my mom and sister-in-law cleaned my house, the church ladies brought me meals over the course of two weeks, my college friends threw me a Facebook shower and I received packages in the mail, mom's from church offered to come over and hold screaming Brielle so that I could take a nap... in other words, I was spoiled. I want to do the same for other women because I remember how blessed I felt. Simply pay-it-forward without expecting anything in return. Giving is better than receiving. Give with love because you love your friend, and God will bless you in return.

10. ... have an "open door policy". Sometimes your schedule doesn't matter when you have a friend struggling to hold things together. Sometimes you want your friend to drop everything and let you come over because you quite literally can't stand the state of your own home much longer. Instead of freaking out over a messy home that we SERIOUSLY do not care about (because we've all been there) let your friend come over and help you load the dishwasher or snap green beans from the garden. If you feel the need apologize that your floor hasn't been swept since Monday, do it, but I can 100% guarantee that most women will say, "Seriously?! This isn't messy. My house is a mess." or "I don't care." or "Do you want me to grab a broom and sweep it while you finish whatever you were doing?" THAT is a real friend. Be THAT friend.

God calls us to be a servant. Serve your friend in whatever she needs: a listening ear, a get-away home, a gift, a reminder that she's loved and beautiful and smart, and that you're a trustworthy, secret-keeping, gossip-free, drama-free, maintenance-free, prayer warrior. Pass this on and challenge one another in being THAT friend. I'm not just writing this so I can encourage all you women out there to be better friends, I'm writing it so that I CAN BE A BETTER FRIEND. I have a lot to work on; I know I'm not perfect, but I hope that all my friends know how much I love them and will do what I can to be THAT friend.

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