Intentional Friendships: How to Find the Community You’re Craving

Intentional Living

We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

I’ve always been envious of those people who have built-in best friends. You know, since birth, grew up together, never wavered or wandered from each other’s side? 

It just seems so easy

I have found friendships in my life to be many things, but easy is not one of them.

Growing up, I was never entirely without friends. I always had people – and not a word of this is meant to take away from the value of that, or how grateful I am to have had those people in my life. 

But even in high school, I struggled with a lack of depth even in my closest friendships. None of us (myself included) seemed comfortable or capable of developing strong roots in our relationships.

I craved friendships that were deep and real. Where we showed up for each other, had each other’s back, and could call each other out when necessary. 

And honestly, I don’t think I had anything close to that until pretty recently.

The thing about friendships – really, relationships in general – is that you get out what you put in. Sure, in high school you may be somewhat limited by who you end up going to school with, but at some point it is up to you to take responsibility for your life and what you want out of it.

Be an Initiator

Intimate and real friendships require effort, pursuit, and vulnerability. 

Even when it comes to meeting people — a lot of that is up to you. I go to a pretty big church, and one of the things I hear a lot is that “it’s just so hard to meet people”. 

Now, I get that… to a point. You might not be seeing all the same faces every week, and no, it’ll never be a church where everyone knows everyone’s backstory, but you’re also fully in charge of who you walk up to and initiate conversation with. 

Attend events — through church, business, or otherwise. Find people with common interests, walk up, and introduce yourself. You likely won’t find your soul-friends on day one, but you won’t find them at all if you don’t ever try. 

My pro-tip which I am exposing to the world: look around for someone wearing a cute outfit, walk up to them, and tell them their outfit is so cute. If they turn towards you like they’re open to talking, introduce yourself. If you get along – ask to grab a coffee. Hang out. Make friends. Get to know people, and get comfortable letting them get to know you.

Don’t always wait for someone to ask you to hang out. I did this for years, and probably would’ve had a lot more friends if I didn’t. People are busy, and it’s entirely possible that the reason they haven’t called you is because you’ve never called them first. 

Equal effort is important, but you don’t have to constantly monitor who reaches out to who.

Be an initiator. Get groups together, plan things for people to do. If you can’t find community, cultivate it.

Love People Well

I could (and might) write a whole series just on this — but loving well is the foundation of any healthy friendship and relationship. It’s also a huge part of what Christians are called to.

Loving well doesn’t mean being perfect or never forgetting someone’s birthday. It doesn’t mean you have to invite everyone you know to your dinner party or sacrifice your own mental health.

Loving people well is setting boundaries, telling hard truths, and putting kindness first. It’s standing beside someone even when they are less than their best self. Loving well is reaching out, showing up, and knowing when to let go. 

It’s doesn’t mean seeing each other every day, but being present in the moments when you are. Paying attention to what’s going on in someone’s life and checking in when you can, making time when it’s not convenient and making sure your friends know that they are a priority to you.

If you’re praying for someone, let them know. If they pop into your head out of the blue, send a text and see how they’re doing.

You don’t have to have it all together to let someone know that they matter to you. 

This is foundational to developing any kind of strong relationship. Trust is required for vulnerability, and the latter for any kind of intimacy. 

If you want good friends, you have to be one first.

Just Show Up

At the end of the day, consistency goes a long way.

Just show up. Check on your friends. Call them on their birthday. 

If you haven’t heard from someone in a while – try asking them to hang out instead of feeling resentful that they haven’t called you. 

In my experience, most – not all – of the people I know who are hurt that no one’s asked them to hang out are not willing to be initiators. They’ve never made the first move. 

Put yourself out there. Get to know people. Show up, love well, and pursue depth.

The only one stopping you is you.

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