When I was growing up, I made a decision to change my life, to live for God and try to live as a Christian did. I started watching who I hung around with, and what I let influence my life. When I was in my mid 20s I started playing paintball. There is something thrilling about running around in the forest with guys shooting at you! This was something I did on a regular basis, and eventually I wanted to play tournaments. I wanted to win, so I joined a team that was really, really good.
Why Did I Say That?
But on this team, my teammates and I did not hold the same values. I started to notice over time that the words I chose to use were more and more colorful. I was not using them because I was mad and it was an “accident.” I was using them because they were convenient and familiar. I used these words because the people around me used them. I never once stopped to ask myself, “Why did I say that?” My wife noticed this growing habit as well. She told me once, “In the heat of battle you seem to be cussing a lot.”
Eventually, my wife’s words convicted me and I apologized to her. I then had to make the tough decision to find a new team that better reflected my beliefs and character. This new team did not win as many games, but it was far better for my both my character and my soul.
If you ever find yourself asking “Why did I say that?”, take a look at the people you spend time with. If so, it may be time for you to make some changes as well.
By the way, my new team and I eventually got better, and actually ended up beating my original team.
I am truly blessed. I have great friends. Like everyone else, I have different levels of friendships. (These names are not scientific in any way. They’re just some general groupings I came up with on the fly…)
- Facebook friends. Over 1500 of them. Many of them are friends, others are acquaintances. Some I’ve yet to meet in real life.
- Casual friends. The kind that you get together with 2 or 3 times a year.
- Consistent friends. Ones that you hang out with, go to dinner with, see movies, etc.
- Close friends. These are the ones who you can vent with, be real with, be honest with – and when you do, they don’t run off with their panties in a wad.
How many friends do you have from those last two groups? If you don’t have as many as you would like, look in the mirror. You have the kinds of friends that you are yourself.
Here are a few keys to having friends:
- It’s a two-way street. I have guy friends I invite to go see movies with (one of my favorite ways to “escape”), play paintball with, or go to dinner with. When I meet someone new that I connect with, I will often add them to this list of friends in the future. I really enjoy spending time with these guys. But it’s important that they invite each other (and me) to do things as well. Otherwise it’s a one-sided deal.
- Look for opportunities to help them. I have helped friends move, repair houses, throw parties, drive them to the airport, etc. For many people, “Acts of Service” is one of their primary love languages, so these things speak to them more than others, but everyone appreciates being taken care of like this.
- Be real with them. If you’re struggling, let them know. A good friend will want to help. For some dumb reason, we often think that we can put a mask on and hide what’s going on inside. But good friends tend to see right through that. They may not know details, but they can tell when something’s off. Tell them. Let them help like real friends do.
Want good friends? Be the friend that you’d like to have.
How good a friend have you been lately?