Got Friends?

How many friends do you have? How many friends are enough? And how many are too much?

If you ask me, we can never have too many friends. But we all need really close friends, those we can call if we’re stranded at the side of the road in the middle of the night. That’s happened to me more than once, and I was grateful for their willingness to help me.

So what makes a friend?

A friend is someone who knows you, likes you, has something in common with you, and wants to spend time with you. And, hopefully, someone you want to spend time with.

We’ve all had some folks who act like friends and hang around for a while, but then their true colors show and we learn that we never were friends.

But just because you made one bad decision is no reason to give up. One bad friend doesn’t mean that you can’t pick out good people. Nor is one bad meal at a restaurant a reason to never eat out again.

We can learn from our mistakes and maybe recognize “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” when looking for a friend. If you see red flags or feel uncomfortable, there’s no law that you have to make them a friend.

What really hurts is when a family member is no longer a friend. It’s easy to avoid an acquaintance who is no longer a friend, but not so easy when you’re related. That’s when you need to rely on God’s love to be around them. Just don’t write them off. After all, they are still family.

Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” (MSG) Yes, true friends love you through all the junk life dumps on you. And you love them back. No judging, just loving.

I asked someone if so-and-so was a friend of hers. She thought for a minute, then said, “No, I can’t say we’re friends. We’re just acquaintances. We’ve laughed together but we’ve never cried together.” Maybe that’s what makes a true friend – sharing hurts.

So, how many friends – true friends – do you have? A lady once bragged that she could count all her friends on one hand. That sure cut down on the number of lunches, birthday cards, and Christmas presents she had to buy. But when her family faced trying times, she had very few folks to help her through the hard times.

Don’t know about you, but I like having friends. Even if it means meeting for lunch when it’s not convenient but they need to talk. Or getting a call in the wee hours asking for help after a car accident.

But I wouldn’t trade my friends for the world. I love every one of them, and hope they know that.

Today’s challenge is to cultivate friends wherever you happen to be. Not just folks you say Hi to at the grocery store, but those you genuinely love and would get out of bed to help.

You never know when you’ll need that friend.