My wife and I moved to the North Dallas Suburbs in March 1982 knowing only one couple. As the case often is, our children’s activities generated relationships in our new community. Shortly after our move to Plano from Georgia, our oldest daughter developed a friendship with the daughter of a single mom whose husband had been killed while flying as a RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) in the Naval Top Gun program. She had moved to Plano to be close to two of her dear friends shortly before we arrived. After meeting her, Pam and I fell for this lady and Marilyn became a dear friend. The picture of our skinny, too-cute-for-words daughter’s first day at school included Marilyn’s skinny, too-cute-for words daughter. What made her such a good friend? She was a fun person who had a great laugh. My wife and I always felt she willingly supported us 24X7 no questions asked. She was a positive person. She loved our kids. She was a great neighbor. We could always trust what she said. I, as a man, could say, “I love Marilyn” and my wife did not feel threatened at all. She had our back which I discovered when she straightforwardly dressed down another lady (a lawyer) who disparaged me on the sidelines while I coached the neighborhood soccer team. And, the good news is Marilyn married a really nice guy, Robert. I officiated the wedding.
With a good friend, you don’t have to guard what you say. You just say it! We hadn’t seen Marilyn in over a year. But, as soon as she came through the door of our home this past Tuesday, you would have thought that we see each often. Our conversation never missed a beat. And, we can’t wait to see her again soon.
A wise man develops a small number of people who become close, intimate friends with whom he can be authentic and transparent even to the deepest levels of his life. Notice what Proverbs says about friends:
- 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
- 18:24, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” A friend is much more than a companion. Don’t mistake a companion for a friend. You will be disappointed. Friendship takes time and effort as well as compassion, kindness, patience, faithfulness and gentleness to develop.
- 22:11, “He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.” These are the qualities of a true, dear friend of character.
- 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Candor and honesty are foundational to friendship. Don’t be confused with and misinterpret superficial emotions. Again, when the rowing gets rough, times are tough and money is lean, you will be disappointed with acquaintances who you discover are not truly friends.
- 18:1, cautions us not to isolate ourselves. We need friends to help keep us on the straight and narrow path. Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
If you don’t have close friends, intentionally look at your neighbors, at the parents of your children’s friends or in a Life Group at your local church. Don’t forget, you have to be friendly, vulnerable and willing to invest the time and effort to develop friends. Ask God for friends. It is worth it!! I remember the jingle that our kids sang as children. It is laden with truth, “Make new friends but keep the old; One is silver and the other is gold!”