“Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave and impossible to forget.”
In my first year of college, I felt super lonely and knew that I desired friendship. But in the past, I had experienced a lot of surface level friendships that would develop because it was convenient. Since college is a time where everyone is on their own schedules, both parties have to be involved in meeting up with each other and being present in one another’s lives.
Before getting to college, I had images of me laughing with all my new friends. Of us hanging out in the dorms for late nights. I had visions of early morning hikes on the Virginia mountains. I just knew I needed a deep, intentional friendship.
Now, a year later, after some many random memories of watching Home Alone at Christmas time to a night of Just Dance battles, I have truly found friends that are there for me and available in my every need, season, or mood. I’ve gone hiking with them, to a UVA basketball game (side note: The day we became National Champs may have been one of the best days of my life. Okay, humblebrag over.), to potlucks and summer bonfires.
How do you build a friendship that is deep? First, you have to understand why or how a friendship is deep before you build one for yourself. Ask yourself, “What makes a deep friendship? How do you know if a friendship is intentional?”
Signs of a Deep Friendship
“Friendship begins with small talks; then grows into a long and deep conversation, the next thing you know, you care so much.”
They reach out and check in.
When someone cares for you, they will let you know. They will ask how you’re doing, how you’re really doing. They will ask you deep questions because they want to learn more about who you are and why you are the way you are. “How have you been feeling lately?” “Is there anything I can do for you?” They will aid you in your growth. They are the people that get up at 6 a.m. because they know that without a partner you won’t get to the gym. They set aside time for you to spend together. They want to know what’s going on in your life and how they can be involved.
They aren’t afraid of carefrontation.
This is a big one. I know, you might be thinking, “I have no idea what a carefrontation even is!” A carefrontation is a combo word – care and confrontation. You need people in your life who aren’t afraid to call you up and step you aside at an event, and say, “What you’re doing isn’t right,” or “The way you said … hurt my feelings.” True friends let you know when you’ve hurt them or when you’re doing something to hurt yourself because they want to see you grow. They are accountable. They care about your progress, not only in your own goals but in your character towards them and others. This means that they value YOU more than they value your friendship. You may not want to hear them say what they need you to hear, but they are willing to lose you and your friendship to let you know that you can be better and they want to see you be better.
They celebrate with you in the good and cry with you in the bad.
We have all had friendships where a good thing for one friend meant someone else felt less than and jealous, so they didn’t acknowledge the good thing. This can lead to toxic tension in friendships. These friends are not the friends you want in your life.
You need people who recognize that if you have something to celebrate, they have something to celebrate too! You also need friends who can understand when things are bad, when you feel low, that you need someone to listen to you and a shoulder to cry on in hard times. Your joy and your pain should be recognized by your friend because they are living life with you.
They are vulnerable.
In order to reach a state of friendship where you feel like you both know each other deeply, you’ve got to go past surface level topics of conversation and get to the deep parts of each other’s lives. This could be family and current issues in that area of life. Maybe it’s past relationships that have left you with a deep ache in your heart and the thought that you may never be loved the way you want to. Perhaps it’s faith, that you both gravitate towards to stay grounded in when life gets rocky.
Whatever it is, a deep relationship invites each friend to be vulnerable and to acknowledge life’s wounds knowing there is someone who is willing to build you up.
I have a few tips on how to build a friendship like this in the midst of your busy life.
How to build deep friendships
- Join a club. A community group. Community service. Whatever you have to do to find one or more people who share your interests.
- Introduce yourself. Maybe have a list of silly questions to ask to break the initial ice.
- Schedule time to meet with them outside of your activity together. Get their contact info and use it to your advantage. Do something fun together!
- Be consistent. If you meet with them once every few months, how can you expect a deep friendship to form? Get coffee every week. Do a weekly challenge together and discuss it when you meet. Maybe a no coffee week? Or take a photo of a special moment every day? Share with one another and watch yourself develop a deep friendship.
- Check in on them. You carefront. You laugh and cry with them. You’re vulnerable.
I hope you take some time to nurture the friendships you have in your life, and take some time to make some new friends.
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