“Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.” -Bob Goff, Love Does.
- Listen. It’s all too easy to begin to disregard what a friend is saying when they’ve been talking about the same thing (say, a boy or a conflict they had with someone) over and over again. And that’s more than understandable! It’s only human nature to want to change the subject or begin to space out a bit when the same information or story has been loaded onto you for (what feels like) the millionth time, and that’s exactly where the challenge lies. When you can set aside your own interests, and allow yourself to be a safe place for all of your friend’s troubles and stories and emotions to land, that’s when you’ve mastered the art of listening.
- Invest. If you haven’t read the book Love Does by Bob Goff, I HIGHLY recommend it to every and any human ever. The author puts into words what I think we all know the importance of in our hearts; the importance of being present. Making it a point to actively decide that you are going be there for someone and then follow through with it is love in its most simple form. I think Jesus shows us this in that He came down from Heaven to experience this earth with us and to simply be present. It was the simple action of being there that created an even deeper relationship between Himself and the world. In this same way, we can practice a Jesus-like-love with the people in our lives by simply investing in someone by joyfully giving our time, energy, and presence.
- Practice selflessness. Now, first off, to be clear, I am not speaking of selflessness as a lack of self-love and self-care, because I think it is incredibly important to care for yourself and love who you are. Selflessness in friendship is completely different and I believe it to be key for being a Jesus-like friend. You can listen to, love, and invest in your friend all day everyday- but if you’re expecting something for yourself from them because you were a wonderful friend, then you’ve actually missed the point. While it feels so great to have someone listen to you and invest in you, its even more rewarding to be on the giving end of that kind of love, just as Jesus has given His love and His companionship to us, not for His sake, but for our own.