The Friend Zone
When Biz Markie sang the line ‘So you say he’s just a friend…’about the infamous ‘Friend Zone,’ it resonated with many. The Friend Zone is the place where you put that guy friend or girl friend that you just aren’t that into. Some of you may be more familiar with the usage of this ‘zone’ than others, and that is totally okay. But this post is not about that kind of friend zone. Whodini had a single that says, ‘Friends, how many of us have them. Friends, ones we can depend on.’ And even in 1984, they sang about a topic most of us think we know so well. Of course, we can’t forget the television show Friends, about six young adults and their lives in Manhattan. But what is a friend exactly?
Friendship has lost its sacredness. This age of social media has caused the word friend to mean a button click. Someone can no longer consider you a ‘friend’ by clicking that same button. Friendship used to be considered a covenant, partnership with someone who has your best interest at heart. Friendship today no longer reflects a deep relationship but oftentimes a collection of pictures, status updates, and relationship changes.
It is an honor for someone to consider you a friend.
A friend, as defined by Webster, is ‘one attached to another by affection or esteem, a favored companion.’ The Bible in Proverbs 18:24 says ‘A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.’
It is more than what you can give to people, more than the amount of money you have, more than the car you drive, but it takes a special connection for someone to consider you a true friend. Are you a true friend? Do you know how to be a good friend? Let’s take a look at the qualities of a true friend as defined by the Bible.
1. A good friend is there through the good and bad.
To be considered a friend, you can’t only show up for the birthday parties, graduations, award ceremonies, and house warming parties. As a friend, you will be there when someone needs to talk, that class they are struggling to pass, the promotion they did not get, and the house they thought they couldn’t afford. To be considered a friend, you have to show support even when someone cannot meet your needs. Sometimes you have to get down in the trenches, mess up your new outfit, break your manicured nails, to help your friend. A good friend has no regard for their own comfort. They know it is not about them or just enjoying the good times of others. ‘A friend loves at all times.’ (Proverbs 17:17)
2. A good friend invests in others.
It is not always convenient to support those you care about. Being a good friend requires you to stay up all night on the phone, offer a few dollars to help, and spend extra time in prayer about someone. The most rewarding things in your life require investment. Spend time encouraging and pouring into someone else, as we are called as Christians to do. (1 Thess. 5:11) To be a friend, it requires time, sacrifice, and unselfishness. If something is affecting someone close to you, it should affect you. A good friend won’t let you cry or even rejoice alone. (Romans 12:15)
You cannot consider yourself a friend if you do not put in the work to be a friend.
3. A good friend pushes others to Christ.
The ultimate characteristic, to be considered a true good friend, is found in how much you push them toward a relationship with Christ. Not to be more like you or like you want them to be, but to be more like Christ. Real friends don’t let other friends go to Hell. Real friends don’t let other friends live in sin. Real friends want to see Christ in the lives of those around them. You cannot be considered a friend of someone you watch live below the life Christ has called them to. As a good friend, it should affect you when you see those close to you compromise in their walk with Christ. Friends don’t let friends live below their potential. A good friend is ready to hold that brother or sister up when they see them fall. Be a good friend in Christ.
We cannot live this life alone. We need each other. Being a friend is a choice. You have to choose to be there, invest in, and push others to Christ. It is not all about finding the right kind of friend, but being the right kind of friend.
Having the qualities of a good friend causes you to fully rely on Christ.
Being a good friend requires you to have Christ as a foundation, so that you can show His love to others. Jesus showed us how to be a friend. (John 15:13) Only by His power are we able to deny ourselves for the sake of someone else. Only through Him can we truly be that good friend.
I encourage you to not look for good friends anymore. Don’t search for those who can accommodate you the best. But be the good friend that you want. Persevere with others. Invest unselfishly. Embody the characteristics of Christ. To have friends, one must show himself friendly.
Do you possess the characteristics of a true friend? What other characteristics do you feel are needed to be a good friend?