No one can or should try to “go it alone.”
We all need to find and keep solid friends we can count on
to support us as we try to live a good and rewarding life.
In talking about friendships, we first need to be clear about what we mean by the word, “friend.”
Who is a Friend?
The dictionary defines a friend in three ways:
- Someone who belongs to the same side or group (example: “Are you a friend or a foe?”)
- Someone who knows and likes another (example: “A friend should bear his friend’s problems and shortcomings.”)
- Someone who favors and supports (example: “She was a generous friend to the poor.”)
Based on these descriptions, we can give our own two-part definition of “friend” as follows:
- Someone who has your best interests at heart and
- Is willing and able to support you in your efforts toward a better and more rewarding life
Best Interests at Heart
A person has your best interests at heart if he or she sincerely wants you to succeed in life, with financial security, good health, meaningful employment, and enjoyment.
Below are three kinds of people who would certainly NOT have your best interests at heart:
- People who sell or give you drugs of any sort
- “Drinking buddies” or others who invite you to hang out with them and spend large amounts of time without any useful accomplishment
- People who tempt you into doing things that are in the opposite direction from where you really want to go with your life
Exercise: Thinking back over the past two or three months, were there any occasions when you wasted a lot of time with one or more “friends” without any real benefit (and possibly some significant drawbacks) to getting your own life on course? How could you avoid situations like this in the future?
Willing and Able to Support You in Your Efforts
Unfortunately, people who are weighed down by their own concerns and problems are often psychologically or physically unable to provide any real support to other (at least at that particular point in their lives).
You can and should be friendly with others who may be having the same kind of struggles you are. However, you will probably have to look outside this group to find other people who are in a better position to give you truly strong and practical support.
(Note: A big exception is people participating in an Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-Step group. These people are actively trying to turn their lives around, and are very willing to provide support to others who are trying to do the same.)
How and Where Can You Find Good Friends?
We believe your most able, most willing, and most trustworthy friend—and the one who “wrote the book” on how we can move toward a better and more rewarding life—is called God. We can reach God by simply asking God for help, support, understanding, forgiveness, and guidance—any time of the day or night, and in our own words.
If you are not used to asking God for friendship and support, this may feel a little strange and uncomfortable at first. But getting in touch with God will become easier and easier. At a certain point, you will begin to feel that good communication—in both directions—has been established, and that God is indeed helping you as your personal and never-tiring best friend.
In addition to your direct friendship with God, there are many persons in churches or other places of worship in your area who would be happy to help out as true friends in the sense we are using this term.
Most churches have a variety of interesting public activities you can get involved in even if you’re not a member. During these events, you can often meet a number of sincere and helpful people.
The same is true of staff people in service organizations, who can help you find a job or move forward in other life areas. Because of the red tape and bureaucracy involved, you may have to put up with long waiting lines or make several phone calls to get in touch with them. But once you have made contact, you can be quite sure they will try their best to be of real assistance.