Relationships are hard. Recently, I've been asking myself this question: How do I be a good friend, and continue to take care of myself? And then a wise friend said, "Just focus on meeting the needs of those you love, and God will make sure that someone is there to meet your needs."
Wow. It is all too easy for me to forget that the Kingdom of God is abundant in all resources. You see, when am choosing to love my friends out of my own strength and support, I will never be able to give all that they need. But when I begin to turn my focus toward God, suddenly not only am I able to take care of my friends, but I am completely taken care of as well.
So, here are some ways that we can choose to love our friends and let God work in and through that:
Your friends do not need you to fix their problems. In fact, you can't fix their problems. Nothing you say will make them feel better, but just listening will make them feel heard and understood. So take the time to hear them, and maybe even try remembering what they have said.
Nothing says "I'm bored and you suck" more than someone sitting on his/her phone while hanging out with you. Consciously choose to stay away from that. Make an effort to be around the people you love. On days you are really busy, take 10 minutes to stop and talk to just one person. A roommate, a classmate, a teacher. You would be surprised at how much you can learn about a person in just 10 minutes.
Say their name
There is power in hearing your own name. It says "You matter enough for me to speak directly to you." When you see a friend on campus, instead of just saying hi or smiling, speak their name because they matter to you.
Don't just ask "How are you?", but mean it when you ask. Expect your friend to actually tell you how he/she is doing. Asking questions and waiting for honest answers is so important to a friendship. Friendship means wanting to know more. Don't be afraid to ask Why. Why are you scared? Why do you like to be outside? Why is this your favorite song? You would be surprised at the answers you get.
Everyone is different, so stop assuming that you know your friends. Don't assume that they know you love them. Somehow, by the grace of God, when we choose to love others and make our friends feel like the magnificent spiritual beings that they are, we end up experiencing the same feeling. Selflessness leads to self-love. You don't have to have it all together to be able to make your friends feel loved. Would it help? Maybe. But let me know if you meet someone who has it all together.