I just hang-up the phone with my dear friend who lives the other side of the channel (England) and like with every phone call or meeting I wonder if I asked her enough? If I listened enough? If I cared about her the way a friend does or just unloaded my overfilled heart?
I am becoming more and more intentional about the time I spend with my friends. Time is the most expensive gift we can offer to each other and something that we will never get back so, I want to make sure I use it wisely. There is nothing wrong with having funny and silly conversations, those are essentials for a friendship to be whole, but let’s not forget that all of us need friends to share, listen and lend us their wisdom to face life courageously.
Here is a list of questions I hold in my heart when I am spending time with a friend in a coffee shop, home or on a WhatsApp call.
How is your heart? This is something we, in our friendship circle, call it the ‘Lea question.’ They know that I am not asking about their physical heart, (although that can be included) but I am inquiring about the state of their inside world. Mind, soul, feelings, emotions, and everything that is hidden to the naked eye to notice. It’s a good starter to our conversation that can take many directions and the level of sharing will depend on the closeness of the friendship.
What is something good or sad that has happened lately that you can't stop thinking about?
This is a great conversation point that can help you both discover what events get stuck in our hearts and stay there for longer than others, and the way they affect our everyday lives. Those stories can be an indication of what we care about and how we process them.
How is your marriage, parenthood going and how can I help you with where you are at?
If your friend is not married or has not got children the question can be about her social life and work-related.
What is something (could be a book, movie, conversation, circumstance) that has challenged or helped you and your thinking lately? This point of conversation can be filled with suggestions, learning and growth information.
What is something that you would like me to be accountable to you for?
We all struggle with our confidence, stepping out, developing our talents and abilities, progressing with our dreams, keeping healthy etc. So, let’s hold space and make ourselves available to each other. This can be a great moment to ask her to help you as well as an accountable person for stuff that matters to us but its still a struggle to stay on top of it. (overeating, over stressing, apathy, working too much etc)
What is something that I can pray for you?
There is stuff going on in our lives that even if we stayed together with our best friend for a long weekend -eating, drinking coffee and talking about life there will be no way to get to the bottom of certain issues or solving everything happening to and in us. That’s why we rely on help from our God who is a friend to us and a savior. Prayer is powerful and to me the best tool to help a friend in distance or near. There are deep issues in our hearts that we don’t even know how to articulate them, but God sees and knows us and our friends intimately and he is there to help. Prayer makes us a bridge for each other where heavy loads of struggles and worries pass without breaking the structure of the friendship but strengthen it. A bridge that we can share our joyous moments together, successes, struggles, tears, and celebrate life.
Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”
Proverbs 27:6 NLT
These are a few things that are helpful to me when it comes to investing in friends. I would love to hear from you about what is something you do to deepen and keep your friendships healthy and whole?
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