I’m sitting in a restaurant with our church youth group. Suddenly, all the girls get up and go to the restroom together.
A mischievous light gleams in the boys’ eyes. Whispers ensue. When the girls return, all the guys get up and go to the restroom at the same time.
It’s been years since this hilarious episode took place, but it still serves as a great example of male and female uniqueness when it comes to how we do friendship.
Female friendships have particular strengths and weaknesses.
Here are some qualities I appreciate about the women I consider to be my true friends:
- My friends affirm me without putting me on a pedestal. I appreciate respect and thrive on words of encouragement – my love language – but I hate flattery.
Flattery appeals to the ego rather than ministering to the soul. It seeks to puff someone up, making them feel like they’re all kinds of awesome.
(News flash: Only God is awesome.)
My friends know my strengths and my weaknesses. They don’t pretend I am perfect just so I will like them back.
- My friends help me stay accountable. When I need to confess sin, my friends listen. They don’t minimize wrong actions and attitudes that the Holy Spirit has convicted me about.
They don’t condemn me, but they don’t excuse me. They just pray with me.
- My friends affirm my desire to respect and honor my husband. I have no interest in conversations centered on the collective faults of everyone’s husbands (or prejudiced remarks about men in general).
True friends offer support and prayer during times of marital difficulty, but not in a way that throws the husband under the bus –and undermines the marriage.
- My friends honor my commitment to making wise choices. I don’t know what it is about Christian women when they get away together, but there’s often lots of overindulgence in food – along with jokes about starting a diet on Monday.
It’s one thing to enjoy a special treat together on occasion. It’s another to be given over to food as a comfort measure.
True friends help each other make wise choices. They pray for each other to break unhealthy cycles. They don’t feed each other’s addictions and giggle about it.
- My friends don’t repeat gossip to me. I know that my name is safe in their mouths by the way they speak about others.
The world loves drama and eavesdropping and emotional voyeurism.
Christians are to walk in the light and speak the truth. We are to give the benefit of a doubt and speak directly to those who have offended us.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. — Matt. 18: 15-16
Gossip may seem delicious (Proverbs 26:22 ), but it’s not an option for the believer.
- My friends forgive me. An article in a women’s magazine offered this advice on what to do when you’ve offended a friend: Pretend nothing happened and just go on, because a mature person will just let it go.
Dumbest advice ever.
When I mess up and hurt a true friend, she does not ignore the incident. Nor does she flippantly say, “It’s okay.” She bravely acknowledges the hurt, and then graciously cancels the emotional debt I owe her.
Here’s the thing: True friends don’t just make us feel good. They help us grow.
May you be blessed with true friends – and may you be one to them.