The secret to lasting friendships

One of the things I wish God had given me is the ability to make friends. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to go out of my way to become someone’s friend. In fact the people who are my good friends now are not here because I made so much effort. We are friends because they see something in me. At least I hope they do…that’s the only way to explain why we have come this far in our friendship.

It’s not hard for you to guess that I don’t have many friends. I find conversations tedious in general but with a select few, it is refreshing. Crossing over to that ‘select few’ that I enjoy talking to and being around takes a bit of work and dedication. It takes someone with a genuine motive of wanting to be my friend to stay that long. I’m sure you’re wondering where this is all going. Don’t worry, I will tell you.

Recently, I’ve had people walk up to me and tell me that they want to get to know me. “I like you and I want to be your friend”, they say. More often than not, that friendship never gets off the ground. I’m sure you can guess it’s mainly guys that will make such statements. After one failed attempt at friendship with an ‘admirer’, I had to sit down and ask myself, “How do people really become friends?” Today, there is usually a motive to friendship whether it is with the same sex or with the opposite sex. When someone comes and says “I want to be your friend”, alarm bells just go off in my head. Aren’t friendships supposed to bloom naturally? Does there have to be a declaration of intent? I don’t think so.

I may be wrong but looking at the friendships I’ve built over the years, they all happened naturally. Most of them started with a common interest, be it God, fashion or boys (yes a girl is allowed to talk about boys). The more we explored our common interest. the more we got to know ourselves. This was not done by asking a series of long questions and ticking boxes beside them. Again, it happened naturally in the course of everyday interaction. At this point. you can identify people you want to get close to and those who will remain surface friends. Then you begin to nurture that friendship…hang out, care for the person despite the odds and have genuine love towards them. You learn to accept that person for who they are and they form your pillar of support.

Having good friends is one of life’s most valuable privileges but it has to be done in the right way. I don’t believe in forced friendships. Even if you know there is something you will benefit from being that person’s friend, study people first. It’s so annoying when people don’t take time to study me and they do all the things I hate just because they are trying to be my friend. Let friendships build naturally. It will save you from a lot of drama and heartache. I’m very careful about the people I pick as my friends because the truth is your friends can make or break you. You should do the same too. The word ‘friend’ is used so loosely today that the essence of true friendship is watered down. Even if your motive is to be in a relationship with that person, don’t ever force a friendship. It’s not worth it.

I know a lot of people don’t agree with my view on this matter. Some believe you have to be intentional about making friends right from when you say hello to when you become close with the person. What’s your view? Intentional or natural? How do you make friends?

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