“Lifelong friends not only know the person you are, but also the person you were,” Irene Levine, Ph.D., creator of The Friendship Blog.
It’s a part of our DNA to seek out like minded people and establish relationships with them – we call them Friends! God created each of us with a need to be with other people. But let’s be honest. Sometimes friendship is hard. Thankfully, I’ve learned some things about friendship over the years and I want to share with you 3 secrets for having lifelong friends.
Friendships are the flowers of life. Each one is beautiful, unique, and priceless. I have several BFF’s who have been with me throughout my lifetime. Some of them for more than 40 years! We know each other’s families; we know each other’s spouses, children, and grandchildren. We have experienced proms, graduations, breakups, college, marriage, children, divorce, and yes even death.
My first BFF was a close confidante in high-school and we stayed at each other’s homes, went to football and basketball games, and spent many an hour talking about life and boys. We graduated from high school, she got married and I went on to college.
Enter BFF #2. We were roommates on and off for six years while we each struggled to decide on a course of action and then how to complete it. We had hours of fun as we moved off campus and lived in an apartment where we had our first taste of true freedom. She finished college and moved out-of-state. I got married.
Enter BFF’s 3 & 4, who helped me become a better wife and mother as I watched how they lived their lives as we shared gallons of coffee and watched our children grow up. Moving, I found BFF #5 who was a co-volunteer at a church children’s program. She and I taught many kids’ programs and even a Jr. High program where we traveled on several missions trips.
These friendships took years to develop and grow into the beautiful relationships they are today! We are lifelong friends because we did 3 basic things:
- We spent time with each other.
- We developed trust through shared experiences, and
- We were vulnerable with each other.
Friendships develop when you spend time with each other. A true friend is one who, even if you don’t see each other regularly, when you do; it’s as if you were never apart! Secondly, you have to trust each other. That seems like a no brainer. But honestly, sometimes in our desire to have a lifelong friend, we let our guard down when we shouldn’t. Trust your instincts! Trust is the foundation of a good friendship. Finally, you need to be vulnerable with each other. Being vulnerable means you know you can tell your friend your darkest secrets and they won’t judge you because they have their own. You know they will help you find ways to improve your life; and if you can’t, they’ll be there to help you through it.
One of my sweetest memories was when one of my BFF’s father died. I lived only a few blocks away from her parents and we had previously set up that if none of the family was nearby, I’d run over to be with her Mother until they could get there. The night came when I got the call and headed over there. The family gathered around their Father and prayed together for comfort. It was such a bitter-sweet moment that bonded us even closer.
Through the years my lifelong friends have always been a phone call away. They are still in my life on a regular basis because we choose to make an effort to connect. We choose to make time to spend together. We still build trust as we do life together, and we continually remain vulnerable with each other. Those are the secrets to building amazing, real, and lifelong friendships.