When I was younger, I didn’t understand the power of friendship. There were many people in my life that I called a friend that weren’t. When you are child, you think as a child. But now that I’m an adult, I understand the power of friendship. Because of this power, I guard my inner circle diligently. I can honestly say that I have a great inner circle. I count it all joy that I have even one person I can trust with my truth in friendship. But, I’m truly blessed to have more than one. Some people don’t get the one.
So what makes a person worthy of being in your inner circle? What qualities should this person or persons possess?
First, a good friend will rejoice when you rejoice and conversely mourn when you mourn (Romans 12:15). Both of these are important and a true testament to the power of a friendship. If you can mourn with me, but cannot rejoice with me, you cannot be in my inner circle. Some people are good at mourning with you because it makes them feel needed or superior. But, when things are going well, they are nowhere to be found. This could be a trait of jealousy which you want to avoid in friendships. A friend who is around during both the high and low moments in life is someone you should consider adding to your inner circle.
Second, a friend – a true friend is made for adversity (Proverbs 17:17). When you’re going through difficulty, a good friend treats it as if they’re going through it too. Some of the most difficult times I’ve had in life, brought me closer to the friends that I had. They supported me, cried with me, and they prayed for me when I couldn’t find the strength to pray for myself. When I was going through one of the darkest moments in my life, my two high school best friends gave me the advice to see a therapist. Only a true friend–a friend who loves you through the difficult times, can give you that type of advice and do it in love.
It is almost easier to distance yourself from someone who is going through a difficult season. But in friendships, this is the time to show yourself friendly. If you look around at your friendships and you can see that there are people who disappear anytime you are in a low season, then you may want to rethink whether they are truly your friend.
Third, a real friend will give you constructive criticism (Proverbs 27:17). As my pastor often says: Some people don’t have friends; they have fans. If you are always around people who pump you up and never have anything constructive to say to build you up, then those aren’t friends; they are just fans. I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to a point my life where growth in every area of life is essential to living my best life. I have given my inner circle permission and, in some ways, have made it their duty to give me constructive criticism. This is also considered accountability. I have friends who are holding me accountable for goals that I have in my finances, my business, and my spiritual life. These friends are very genuine in their desire to see me succeed and have also given me authority over helping them succeed in certain areas of their lives. Now, I would not give them the power to give me this feedback, if they weren’t open to receiving feedback. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “as iron sharpens iron, so does one person sharpen another.” You cannot be my friend and sharpen me, unless you are allowing yourself to be sharpened as well.
Friendship is a two-way street. Ultimately to have friends with the above qualities, you have to be a friend with the above qualities. It takes time to find out who in your life not only exhibits these qualities, but is also trustworthy in friendship. Take your time and remember, when you’re building your inner circle, it’s always quality over quantity.