Everyone needs a friend. In this App-driven culture, the saddest App of all is My Virtual Boyfriend.
You guessed it. This allows you to create the man of your dreams (don’t worry guys, there’s a companion app for you) by choosing body type, hair color, personality type (cute, sassy, classy, geeky…) and all the rest.
Then you construct your own dream date. You choose where to go, what to do, even how it goes.
Just imagine a relationship that’s not complicated!
Remind me to tell you about my one date in high school. That’s right, one. For now let’s just say that it did not go well.
Anyway how sad is it that some people resort to an app to find friendship?
I am really not qualified to give dating advice, but I have learned some things about friendship I’d like to share with you. Here are five easy steps to finding friendship…
Find a friendship pool
That’s right, “Everyone into the pool!”
This is almost as important as a gene pool and without the messy science. Best of all you have some choices.
A friendship pool might be your neighborhood. When I was a kid my friends were Gerry, Linc and Bryan. We rode bikes, a kind of friendship pool subset. Bicycles and geography brought us together.
Another pool might be your workplace – although let’s be clear, this is different from a workplace pool – you’re not pooling money here on a bet but rather pooling experiences and common interests.
My favorite friendship pool is the Church where broken people like you and me can mend together.
Be a friend
Almost took the words right out of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s pen: “The only way to have a friend is to be one,” he mused.
If you’re looking for friendship, you should ask yourself, “Am I willing to be a friend before I find a friend?” For many of us friendship fulfills a need we think we have. Most people don’t really want to be fillers.
This means that you have to force yourself to think differently. It changes from, “What’s in it for me?” to “What can I do for you?” Totally different way of thinking.
I have a friend who greets me with those words, “What can I do for you today?” And he means it! Who would not want to be friends with him?
Try it, not to get a friend, but to be a friend.
See what I mean! Sometimes we just don’t listen. To our wives, our husbands, our bosses and co-workers, our best friends and even God.
Sometimes that’s because we only hear what we want to hear. We surround ourselves with people who will flatter and affirm us while insulating ourselves from the truth.
Sometimes it’s because there’s way too much noise. Seattle Seahawk fans have earned themselves the name, “the 12th man,” by giving their team an edge by the crowd noise they generate. The opposing quarterback struggles to be heard when calling out signals. This disrupts the whole team.
Likewise the search for friendship begins by filtering out the noise in our lives so that we hear he signals being sent by potential friends.
Listen to them talk about their fears, their joys, their struggles, their hopes and dreams.
Isn’t this one of the first lessons parents teach their toddlers? Not easy. And it doesn’t get easier the older we get.
Life is an ongoing battle between selfishness and service. The desire to please yourself usually trumps the desire to serve someone else.
Jesus’ last lesson to his disciples was hard to take. In a room littered with feet dirtied by dusty roads, the Master stooped to wash them, one by one.
He got their attention and then explained, “I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
Oh yes, it was actually his next to last lesson. His last one ended on a cross. The ultimate lesson on sharing.
Share your time
Share your story
Share your skills
Share your wisdom
Share your wealth
Share your secrets
The part of you that you give away will come back to you.
Talk is cheap. It’s cheaper than cheap, it’s free. It costs me nothing to judge, criticize, gossip, slander or flatter. All of these do nothing to help a relationship and can easily destroy it.
Fortunately good words are free too; words that heal, encourage, lift up, praise and forgive. These can make or strengthen a relationship.
So choose your words carefully.
But my fifth step goes beyond words. Words are formed more easily than friendships. Listening is a discipline. Sharing requires sacrifice but commitment is just hard work. It’s turning words into actions.
“I’ll pray for you” becomes a tearful and arduous searching out of God on behalf of someone else.
“I’ll do what I can,” becomes time out of a busy schedule to actually change someone’s quality of life.
“I’ll be there for you” becomes a sometimes inconvenient outlay of love that leaves you exhausted.
Good words acted out are the last and surest step toward friendship.
Real friendship is still possible in a virtual world. It just takes real work.