Why is it we are drawn to some people more than others? What makes us want to maintain a friendship?

Friendship is a life-line. Connecting with like-minded people who genuinely care about one another is a gift we take for granted all too often.

Friends are people we feel good with. Some make us laugh, some hear us out and really listen to our hearts, others support us when the going is tough, and still others just hang with us when we need down time.

A true friend holds up a mirror in which we see ourselves.

They are the ones who show us our strengths when all we see is weakness; they point out our good character traits, like courage and loyalty, when we are down on ourselves. They remind us of past accomplishments and spur us on in our future. They build into our lives and we are richer for having spent time with them. We come away with a stronger sense of “self” because we have been together.

But friends don't just expose our good qualities; they tell it as it is. They are the people in our lives who aren't afraid to tell us what they really think, who hold us accountable when we're out of line. They speak the truth in love, and in the process, make us better: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17).

Be mindful of the mirror you hold up for your friends. Do you reflect back to them the goodness you find in their hearts and in their character? Are you able to lovingly reveal the areas in their lives that they need to work on?

It’s popular today to be sarcastic and even mean in our comments with one another. It’s all said in the “I was only joking” way. Yet when we come away from times with friends and admit that their words cut and hurt, we need to evaluate our friendships. A true friend can joke and laugh with you, but the tone changes when they laugh at you. When that happens, the reflection they hold up to you is negative and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You come away with a lesser sense of “self.”

People who leave you with this reflection are not true friends.

Be mindful of the reflection you hold up to those close to you. How do they feel after an interaction with you? Be intentional about reflecting back their strength of character. Be gentle when honesty requires a hard look at something in another’s life. Be conscious of building people in a way that challenges them to continue moving forward in their lives.

Be a relationship-builder

Remember that words make up only seven per cent of your communication. Be aware of the tone and body language you are sharing with those you care about. It communicates loud and clear!

Be intentional about surrounding yourself with friends who are truly friends, and not ones who tear you down.

Over the course of time, people will seldom remember what you said to them. But they will always remember how you made them feel.

Evaluate your friendships. Nurture those who build into your life. Seek out ways to support those you care about.

Photo Credit: Clarisse Meyer