There is a dearth friendship in our culture. Despite being increasingly connected online, there is much research that points to the scarcity of personal friendships as one of society’s main ails. People are mobile and often raise their children in several cities throughout their life, making “old friends” an antiquated phrase.
Last week I attended a funeral for a woman in our church. One of the eulogies was given by a friend of hers—in fact, they have been friends for sixty years. Their friendship started when they were two years old, and continued despite their parent’s divorces, relocation, and their own marriages and families. In fact, they moved to separate cities when they were nine and yet continued to meet monthly, all the way until college.
At the funeral, this friend gave a surprising eulogy. She, of course, talked about how much she will miss her relationship with Patti, but then she turned her attention to the congregation and gave us three lessons her friendship had taught her about how to be a lifelong friend.
Because of how unusual this kind of friendship is, this arrested my attention. Because of how unusual this kind of eulogy is, and how helpful I found it, I want to pass her lessons along to you today.
Here are her 3 critical elements of a lifelong friendship:
1. Make your friendships reciprocal
Many times we find ourselves in one-sided friendships. It seems like one person is always doing the calling, the texting, the inviting. But a one-sided friendship can’t be a lifelong friendship. If you have a friend who keeps reaching out to you, but you never initiate, ask yourself why? If you want this person to be a lifelong friend, you had better start reciprocating the friendship.
2. Make your friendships spiritual
For believers to have lifelong friendships, they need to be spiritually constructive, otherwise, they become a waste of time. Conversations need to be mutually edifying, and about things that are important in your life. If Christ is important, then he should be talked about! Obviously, friendships are diverse. They cover sports, hobbies, and family. But for a friendship to last a lifetime, it has to grow along with your relationship with the Lord.
3. Make your friendships less important (than your family)
Our families are our most important relationships. They must be our priority—even over friendship. There can be no competition for who your best friend is—your best friend is your spouse. While any friendship requires time, which requires sacrificing something somewhere, guard your families from being your second choice. If your family is bitter about your friends, it makes a lifelong friendship impossible.
I found her points remarkably helpful and challenging. Are there any other keys to a lifelong friendship you would add?
This article originally appeared here.
More articles on friendships:
7 Trademarks of an Unhealthy Friendship
3 Trademarks of a Growing, Healthy Friendship
Three Ways to Foster Friendship