In dealing with a current situation I am in, I can’t tell you how having a friend, a real friend is making the difference. If you don’t have one of these, you need to pray for one, and then actively try to find one. That is what I did, and it works. Sorry, if I’m sounding like a 3am infomercial pitchman, but this is that important.

What is a real friend? I person who you can tell the truth to, and one who can tell the truth to you. No judgement, just an open ear. Many times (me included) we suguar coat the truth to our friends in order not to rock the boat. They return the favor, and we create this superficial relationship where we scratch each others’ back, and at best barely scratch the surface on real issues in our lives.

Here are some pointers for finding a real friend:

1. Find one of the same gender. Listen, my wife is my best friend, but there are some topics you need to share with just the guys (in my case)… or just the girls, if you are a woman. Not that you don’t share issues with your spouse, but getting that perspective from someone of your own gender is something your spouse can’t give you.

2. Disclose bit by bit. Just like relationships with those of the opposite sex, “real” friend relationships need to take it slow too. No need to spill the beans about how you were abandoned by your parents at age 2, sexually abused at age 8, smoked pot at age 11, went to juvie at age 13, and lost your virginity as soon as you got out at age 14. Give a little, ask for a little.

3. Listen, listen, and listen some more… then talk. I yap like a little chauaua sometimes. My third grade teacher called it diarea of the mouth. I’ve gotten better over the years, and my tool is questions. I really do love listening to peoples’ experiences, so asking questions isn’t that hard. But, if I get going on a story, I have to remind myself to paraphrase and summarize. Ask them questions, pause. Listen and then, listen some more.

4. Pray for that real friend to come into your life. I think God just loves bringing real friends into our lives. He speaks through them, and there is this mutal growth. I’m up for asking God for anything which will bring benefits to those around me, and value my life. A real friend does both, as it gives me a chance to give and receive.

If you don’t have a friend… a real friend, pray, and then hunt one down! God took a couple years to bring in one of my real friends into my life. Therefore, don’t give up hope after a couple weeks or even months. Give, give, give, and you’ll get.