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4 Ways to Be a Great Friend

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In case you missed it, I had such an exciting and fun weekend in January visiting MacKenzie from Bold Turquoise! My husband sent me away for a girls’ weekend in Washington state, and I was so thrilled to finally meet my online friend MacKenzie in real life!

We’ve both received many questions on how to find good friends and how to be a good friend, so the two of us decided to scope about this topic together.

Here are some of the thoughts the two of us had on how to be a great friend:

1. Be Honest and Transparent

There were two things MacKenzie did early on when we first started getting to know each other that helped me know she would be a really good, safe friend for me.

First of all, she was very honest. One of the first e-mails she ever sent me was gracious and constructive advice on how to be a better scoper. I loved that wanted to offer help in an area that she had more experience in than I did but that she did it in a very gracious manner. This spoke volumes of her character and I was so appreciative of this helpful honesty.

Secondly, she told me that she was committing to be my friend and to never ask anything of me. She promised to never ask me to promote anything that she wrote, did, created, or produced. Again, this showed me so much about her heart. (More on this in point #2.)

Mackenzie also brought up a great point on our scope about being honest about who you are as a person. It can be so easy to hide behind the screen in online communities and friendships, and that’s why it’s so important to be honest about who you are. Making yourself out to be someone you’re not doesn’t create a genuine friendship.

When I met MacKenzie in real life, she invited me into her home to see her life and her family exactly as it is. She didn’t try to put on a mask. She welcomed me into her imperfect, beautiful life and said, “This is who I am.”

Being genuine is so important in friendships. Don’t be what you think someone else wants you to be. Be YOU.

If you spend your time and effort trying to be what you think someone wants you to be, you’re going to be exhausted trying to do that. Also, you will always have to be that fake person instead of your  true self when you’re around that friend. At some point, the facade will come crumbling down. It’s so important to be real from the get-go.

Look for people who will love you exactly for who you are, want you to be the best version of yourself that you can be, but who don’t try to make you someone that you’re not.

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2. Commit to Be FOR Someone

When MacKenzie told me that she committed to me that she would never ask me for anything — no favors and no promotions — it spoke volumes to me. She said that our friendship meant more to her than anything I could ever do for her. She loved me for who I was as a person, not what she might be able to get from me.

We should be FOR each other, especially in friendships. When we were together, one thing we both committed to each other was that we would never say something behind each other’s backs that we wouldn’t say to each other’s face. I have learned that gossip and inauthenticity can be such destroyers of relationships.

If you have a concern about something, go directly to that person and figure out what’s going on. Be real, open, honest, and vulnerable.

In the realm of online community, it’s also important to cheer each other on in business endeavors and be excited for one another, rather than envious of success. We need to each accept our callings in life.

MacKenzie and I are in different seasons of life with different strengths and different goals. We don’t want what each other have, and we are excited to cheer each other on!

Look for relationships with people who don’t talk about other people behind their backs. If someone will talk about someone else behind their back to you, there’s a very good chance they’ll talk about you behind your back to someone else. Also, look for people who are genuinely FOR you — who will cheer you on and be excited for your successes instead of feeling threatened by your success. 

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3. Don’t Look for a “Perfect” Fit

Along that same line, I think it’s also very important to embrace the differences between you and other people in your life. So often, I think we try to find friends who are exactly like us and are the “perfect” people. I’ve discovered that you can learn SO much from friends who are in different seasons of life with different callings and convictions.

Obviously, you want a friend who has the same core values as you do, so that you have something meaningful to help form a connection. But I encourage you to not get too hung up on the differences that don’t really matter all that much. Instead, embrace those differences as something beautiful!

Start right where you are. Reach out to the people you see around you, invite people into your home, and love people well. Take that first step to be that friend. Instead of looking for that person to be that friend to you, go be that friend to someone else that you want to have yourself.

Yes, there will be times when you’ve reached out to someone over and over again with no response. Usually this is a good indication that it’s time to move on and try investing in someone else.

Also, don’t be discouraged if you try being friends with someone and it’s just not a a good fit as a friend. It doesn’t mean anything bad about you or the other person. It just means that you probably won’t reach that level of intimacy with that specific person. We can’t all click with everyone!

Honestly, it took me two years of reaching out, investing, and praying earnestly to finally find a group of safe friends who truly pour into me and are for me. Don’t give up! Keeping loving others well and being the friend to others that you wish you had yourself.

Look around for people who might be different from you but with whom you might be able to develop a close bond. Reach out to people outside of your normal circle. Befriend someone who is in a very different season of life than you. Ask good questions and seek to learn all you can from others. 

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4. Communicate and Forgive

The other day MacKenzie texted me about a situation she was concerned about. She was uneasy about something she had done and wanted to talk it through with me. We had a great talk on the phone and I was so glad that she had the courage to come to me and talk about it versus just letting something fester.

It is SO important to be open and honest with one another about concerns. Rather than stewing over things or worrying that we may have offended someone, go to them and talk about it.

We live in a disposable culture. When someone hurts us, we get offended and try to often move on from that friend because we are hurt and don’t want to fix it. It’s so important to fight for our friendships and relationships. When we love someone and it’s a good friendship, it’s worth fighting for — even through the struggle.

Walking away is the easiest thing, but in the long run, the friendships you’ve fought for and stuck with and walked through forgiveness with are the ones that are the solid, lasting relationships.

How have you developed true, meaningful friendships?

P.S. You can watch the full scope MacKenzie and I did on friendship here. You can also check out the scope we did together on her channel to see what goofballs we are! Consider yourself warned! 🙂

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23 Comments

  • Stacy says:

    This is such a great post, Crystal! You’ve given me some new things to think about when it comes to being a good friend.

    I love that you brought up not looking for a “perfect” fit. It seems like some of the greatest relationships come out of getting to know people in different seasons, with different convictions and callings.

    Thanks!

  • justme says:

    “Secondly, she told me that she was committing to be my friend and to never ask anything of me.”

    Do such friendships even exist? It doesn’t seem very realistic. My friends ask me for favors and I ask them for favors, just not on a regular basis.

    Maybe I live in a bubble…? I can’t imagine telling someone ‘I’d never say anything behind your back that I would not say to your face.’ Like, I’m trying to picture someone saying that to me, and it comes across as awkward. (to me)

    IDK, just a few things that stuck out to me.

    • To clarify: when she was referring to never asking anything of me, it was referring to asking for me to promote something on her behalf. It’s very, very common that — in the online business world — people will ask for you to promote something, endorse something, etc. That’s what she was referring to.

    • Niki Roberts says:

      This is an awesome post. I admire you, Crystal. I have always had a hard time cultivating friendships with other women, and as a result have not invested much time with various friendships over the years. Having married my best friend, I generally didn’t think much of letting friendships go when these friendship didn’t seem “to fit perfectly.” You have given me a lot to think about. Thank you!

    • Angie says:

      I feel like saying things you would only to say to a persons face is the only way to go.

  • Alison says:

    I love this post Crystal! The part about being yourself and not having to be fake around a friend is so true, especially in a relationship with your significant other. Sooner or later that friendship will crumble. Thanks for sharing!

  • Love your friendship with MacKenzie 🙂 great post

  • Sarah C says:

    This post is amazing. Love #3 about not needing the friend to be the perfect friend. I have so found this to be true. I think we can miss out on someone great by looking for someone perfect. I’ve been surprised where some of my deepest friends have come from.

  • Prerna Malik says:

    I so LOVE this Crystal… I love that you’ve talked about talking things over instead of just walking away. Sometimes, yes, one may need to do that but often, it just requires being honest and reaching out.

    Also, love your encouragement to reach out and start finding friends. As an introvert, that is what I struggle with the most. Something that I am praying over.

    Thanks SO much for sharing this.

  • Jacquelyn says:

    Crystal,
    Thank you so much for your honesty, frankness, and helpfulness. You are such an encouragement to me. I believe you are here to really help people and not just sell them something. I appreciate all of the helpful and encouraging advice you give here on your site. I pray God’s blessings on you and your family.
    Keep up the good fight!

  • This is just beautiful. I also think it’s really important to seek to understand who the other person really is. As an introvert, I’ve struggled with friends not understanding that I truly need downtime. When I was in my 20’s and everyone wanted to hang out as a big group every night, I was the one who really, really needed a few nights a week of just being alone. Now that I am a mother, it’s even more challenging to balance. Friends who just “get you”, even if they are not the same as you, are precious.

  • Love this post, Crystal! <3 And what in the WORLD was I looking at in that pic?! LOL!!!! MacKenzie seems like a gal after my own heart. She's a fellow ENFP, so I know I would love her!

    My mom saw this post before I did, and she said you are the only one in that pic of us that she hasn't met in person! LOL Who knew my MOM read your blog?!

  • Kristen S. says:

    I think that being totally honest about who you are right up front is so important. I have made mistakes in the past of trying to be “nice” when establishing a friendship and going out of my way to do things that I wouldn’t normally do or won’t be able to maintain on a regular basis. It’s unfair because the person enters the relationship thinking that’s how I always am! Then later when I don’t do those things, I cause disappointment and the person feels rejected. Now, when I’m making a new friend, I’m careful to do so within the bounds of what is normal for me, and what I can maintain on a regular basis. It’s so much better!

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been chewing on it for a few days in terms of what I need to do (or not do) in my current friendships. Several of my in town friends are going through very difficult times. While I want to be supportive, it’s also been a challenge because being around them can be emotionally draining. One of them has become very self absorbed, which I understand given her life circumstances, but the result is she’s become very unreliable. Difficult for me because I’m going through a big life change in which I need positive support. Anyway, this post has given me a different perspective about showing them grace and love while caring for myself as well.

    Thanks for your heartfelt authenticity. It’s why I’ve read your blog all these years.

  • Karen says:

    Awesome post – rang true to heart. I’m almost in my 60’s and over the years have lost contact with some really close friends for which I am currently starting to reconnect with now that I have more free time available. Once I started a family it was so hard to keep up. I totally agree with all your points. They are the principles I had always lived by and I became bewildered after graduating from college when I realized these principles were rare rather than the norm (I later realized I was so lucky that high school and college were such positive experiences for me). I adjusted and accepted that some relationships can be superficial and you can still enjoy and accept them for what they are but understand their limitations. It just made me truly cherish the few close friends I had. This was easy enough for me since I enjoyed (and still do) my own company and have so many projects I just love to explore. I think it’s important to love yourself in order to be able to give and love others. I am so pleased to read your post and the other comments to know that there are many real caring people out there. This warms my heart and motivated me to write to thank you and all the others for posting their comments as well.

  • Mary Owens says:

    I have a really hard time making friends because i’m so introverted thay I keep to myself a lot and it doesn’t help that I don’t particularly like people coming into my home. I hope I can learn to let this distrust go in the future.

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