Eleanor Roosevelt

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.”

Friendships are the best thing about life and true friends the most difficult to attain.  We are not designed to do life on our own, we are designed for relationships.  Our goal is to develop good biblical principles for developing friendships.

This ten part series aims to help you:

  1. Structure your friendships by following Jesus’ example
  2. Understand how your personality and character impacts your friendships
  3. Know what to do when friendships end
  4. Understand what happens when you outgrow friendships
  5. Develop three attitudes that build good friendships
  6. Know how to communicate affection in a relationship
  7. How to deal with conflict in a friendship
  8. How to respond when confronted in friendship
  9. Finding good balance in Friendships where Romance is possible
  10. Provide you with ten principles in strengthening good friendships

For more info on each part of the series, see below.

What to do?

Watch the video and consider all the concepts.  Work through the questions included in the video, as well as the additional questions provided in each section.

You Tube Series on Friendship:

How To Structure Biblically Based Friendships

Building Biblical Friendships Part 1: How to Structure Your Friendships

This episode explores the value of friendship and why it is not just networking or connecting.  We examine Jesus’ example in the structure of His friendships and how group dynamics have an affect on friendships.  The episode also includes questions to help you evaluate your current circle of friends and identify weaknesses and strengths in your friendship circle.

Questions to consider:

  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses in your friendship circle based on your analysis?
  2. What do you think contributes to these strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Which areas of your friendship circles do you need to work on?
  4. Make a list of 5 action points which you can take right now to improve the structure of your friendships.
How Personality and Character Impact Relationships

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 2: How Character and Personality Effect Friendships

This episode explores the impact of our personality and character on friendships.  It helps to understand what kind of friends you have chosen and how you are relating to your friends.    It gives you tools to explain why some friendships work better than others, as well as identifying what kind of friends you should be looking for.  Most importantly, this episode reminds us why God is our best friend.

Questions to consider:

  1. The episode describes 3 types of friends, friends who…
    1. Love you for who you are
    2. Love who you will be
    3. Love what you bring to the relationship

Can you identify these friends in your friendship circle?

2. Have you expected friends to meet every one of your needs, or do you need to make more friends that meet some of your unfulfilled needs?

3. Meditate on your friendship with God and His ability to meet all your needs.

What to Do When Friendships End

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 3: What to do when Friendships End

This episode explores the feelings and confusion we experience when friendships end. This can be a really difficult time: we question ourselves; have a sense of being lost and need to process our fear of rejection and isolation.

We explore what to do when:

  • People seem to be avoiding you, or seem to dislike you
  • When people move on, either physically or emotionally

The goal is to develop strategies that process our emotions, give us tools to cope with the changes, as well as change our thinking and attitudes to friendship changes.

Questions to consider:

  1. The episode describes the concept of Porcupine Factor…
    1. Can you identify this phenomenon in friendships in the past
    2. How did you respond and how did your friend respond?
    3. What would you do differently next time?
  2. Do you have an “open hand” in your friendships?
  3. Do you see people playing a role in the story of your life?
What to Do When We Outgrow Friendships

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 4: What to do when you Outgrow Friendships

Friendships are continually changing and where we once fit in, we may feel that we don’t belong to our circle anymore.  We feel uncomfortable, or frustrated and have a sense of wanting change.  Perhaps we have had a season of personal growth, or have a new direction in life and feel we have outgrown a friendship.  This episode explores the feelings and confusion we experience when we outgrow friendships. It also explores strategies and thinking to embrace during this period.

Questions to consider:

  1. Have you had a personal period of growth that has had an impact on your friendships?
  2. Growth can come from a new interest, new thinking, taking a new direction in life.  It can also come after a period of personal growth, especially after a difficult experience or trial.  Growth can also come from learning a new skill, which opens up new possibilities.  Even a personal “a-ha” moment can bring about change in how you approach life.

Look back over your life and the friendships you have, or had, and identify how personal growth may have impacted those relationships.

Strategies for building friendships

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 5: Attitudes that Cultivate Friends

This episode explores three attitudes that contribute to cultivating friendships and the mistakes that we make in each area.

Questions to consider:

  1. Consider the statement: A lonely person places little emphasis on close relationships.  Would you consider this statement true or false as you examine people and their relationships around you?
  2. What is the difference between socializing and cultivating deep relationships?
  3. Are you using your time well?  Are you aware of moments, fully present and awake so that the moments can define a friendship? Are you a person who will miss important events and occasions, cancel at the last minute, or fail to commit till the last minute, use your phone in company, fall asleep in company etc.
  4. How would you describe yourself when you are real?  Use these words to stimulate your thinking on what it is to be real: image free, genuine, no pretense, now walls, no fences, no masks, lack of facade, open, humble
How to Communicate Affection in Friendships

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 6: How To Communicate Affection in Friendships

We are slow to declare our love for the people we care for, if at all!

We explore why it is good to communicate affection to our friends and explore some rules in how to say “I love you.”

Questions to consider:

  1. What fear nestles in your heart when it comes to telling people how important they are to you, or declaring your affection?
  2. Would you agree with the statement: “If you want to be loved, love.”  Why or why not?
  3. Are you guilty of the three mistakes made in declaring affection?  You may not be guilty all the time, but do you make use of these strategies to address the fears in your heart.
  4. Brainstorm different ways and ideas in which you can declare your love and affection to friends.  Make an action list of at least 3 items to get you started.
How to Deal with Conflict in Relationships

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 7: How To Deal with Conflict in Friendship

When dealing with conflict in a friendship, our ultimate goal is to preserve the friendship!

Conflict allows strong emotions to fester and be ignored, which when allowed to continue without being addressed results in a break down of a friendship.  They invite into the friendship relationship breakers like anger, revenge, slander and malice.  Conflict needs to be dealt with in a healthy manner.  Here we explore why conflict needs to be addressed and strategies for managing conflict in a friendship.

Questions to consider:

  1. Have you ever experienced or watched strong emotions give rise to a bitter root in a heart and ultimately seen it destroy relationships?
  2. Would you agree that the companions of bitterness or offense in a relationship are anger, wrath, slander and malice?  Name examples of this behavior that you have seen or experienced around you.
  3. Have you ever considered the implications of Matt 5:23-24 for your relationships?  How would living with a clean slate with people AND God change your life?
  4. Are you a person that does forgiveness well?  Consider the following statements:
    • I will not bring this up in the future and use it against you.
    • I am not going to dwell on this in my heart and mind.
    • I am not going to talk about this to other people.
    • I am not going to let this stand between us and hinder the relationship.
How to Respond to Confrontation in Friendship

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 8: How To Respond when You are Confronted in a Friendship

Not being good with confrontation is something we all battle with.  Some of us dread that statement: “We need to talk.”  It does not have to fill you with fear, there are ways to manage confrontation in a healthy way that seeks to build the friendship.

This episode seeks to give you strategies when you find yourself confronted by a friend. It also gives you a few rules for yourself as you walk through the conflict with your friend.

The goal is to prioritise resolving the conflict so that the friendship in both hearts is enhanced and strengthened.

Questions to consider:

  1. What is your emotional ‘climate’ when you are confronted?  Do you defend yourself, lay blame, go on the attack?
  2. Would you describe yourself as a good listener?  Do a survey with your closest friends and family and ask for feedback?
  3. Would you say that you are a person that prioritises resolving the conflict over being right?
  4. Read James 4:1-3. Consider the passage and ask yourself: How do our motives and attitudes affect the tone of our friendships?
Friendships and Romance

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 9: Friendship and Romance 

Friendship with someone of the opposite sex can be very complicated.  We look at the role of friendships as a foundation for marriage, then explore exactly where a friendship will start to break down.  We look at a biblical foundation for friendships with the opposite sex as well as principles to consider when looking for something more than friendship in a relationship.

Questions to consider:

  1. What does your social environment say about friendships and romance and how does this shape your thinking about relationships with the opposite sex?
  2. Looking at what happens when a frienship starts to break down, have you ever been in that situation, or watched another friend in that situation.  Can you identify the mixed messages given.
  3. Review the biblical principles for relationships and consider how you have practically honored these principles in your relationships?
  4. Consider some principles and rules that you can embrace for yourself to protect your heart in these types of relationships.
Ten Principles for Building Stronger Friendships

Building Biblical Based Friendship Part 10: Ten Principles for Good Friendships 

These are like a ten commandments for building strong friendships.  Each principle if ignored, has the potential to break down a friendship or cause discord in the relationship.

Questions to consider:

  1. How could being intentional, using the strategies described, grow your confidence in strengthening friendships.
  2. Friendships take time to grow.  Consider the four qualities to look for as you invest in the friendship, that will deepen the quality over time.  Examine your closest friends for these qualities.  Examine yourself as a friend.
  3. How can you celebrate and support what is happening in the lives of your friends?
  4. Have you ever considered the role the Jesus can play in a friendship where He is given first priority?