Being a good friend

Is it a personality type to desire friendship so deeply, but also be so incredibly bad at it? Because if so, that’s me.

Last month, I wrote about lopsided relationships (when you give 90% and the other person only gives 10%) and how I’ve dealt with a particular example in my life.

Today, I want to talk about how I struggle with relationships. I’m not perfect and I’ve found myself being the 10%-er too.

I think everyone finds themselves as the 10%-er every so often, but probably for varying reasons — unusual busyness, a tough season of life, just their personality type. For me, I find myself as the 10%-er when I’m feeling particularly insecure or discouraged. And I know, that’s one of the best times to surround yourself with friends.

I crave security, and fear rejection. So to avoid rejection and remain in my personal bubble of security, I often find it easier to not reach out to a friend — either for advice or just to hang out.

I would rather be alone on a Friday night than ask people to hang out and them say, “No.” Then I’d still be alone on a Friday night, but I’d have my humiliation and discouragement with me.

And though people who say, “No,” often have valid reasons — such as previous plans or work the next day — my subconscious overlooks it all and takes it as a personal affront.

But that’s not the only reason I sometimes find myself as a 10%-er. Oftentimes it’s because I just forget. I’m selfish.

I get so caught up in whatever I’m doing or whatever is happening in my life, that I forget to check-in with my friend whose grandfather is in the hospital. I don’t think to ask my friend who just went through a breakup out to dinner. I’ll forget that my friend had a big appointment or interview until days later. *Enter guilt spiral and self-loathing.*

And try as I might, I can’t break myself from those ruts.

So my next step — which should’ve been my first step — is prayer. I ask God to strengthen me to fight my sinful, selfish nature. I ask Him to give me a bigger heart and more compassion. I ask Him to remind me not to fear rejection because I have been accepted by the only One who matters. And I believe He will walk with me as I grow in my Christian life.

Friendship is crucial to our faith. Jesus surrounded Himself with a group of disciples to learn from Him, and also to support and build each other up.

Numerous New Testament letters implore Christians to have a community of encouragers and friends.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (which is often used as a marriage verse, but is applicable for friendship too) says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

God cares about friendship. He cares about Christian community. He cares about relationships with unbelievers that lead to gospel conversations.

In all of our relationships, we must seek to reflect Christ — His compassion, His selflessness, His meekness. All these things are against our sinful nature, but with His help I believe we can make steps in the right direction.

Be the friend you wish you had.

Jessica Ingram

Jessica Ingram is a regular contributor to The Rope. She also is the event coordinator for The Alabama Baptist/TAB Media. She graduated from Mississippi State University in 2017 and is a member of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham.

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