Once upon a time, I had writer’s block. Well, blog writer’s block, anyway. So, as is sometimes the case, I put the call out on social media for topical ideas. I got one response from a Facebook friend asking, “What constitutes a true Christian friend?”
I’ll be honest, that’s deep. It’s deeper than I had hoped to get for a random blog post. But it’s something I figured I could work with. See, I’ve had a lot of friends come and go in my life. And there have been all different kinds. So I’m not just going to focus on the true Christian friends. I think it’s important to know the difference between the real and the fake. Because, I’m here to tell you, they’re out there. Sadly, the fake tend to outnumber the real.
1. The Life of the Party – This is the friend that is always in a great mood. This is the friend that is spontaneous and always on the lookout for a good time. This is the friend that pushes us to do the things we may not otherwise do on our own. It’s important to have this friend around from time to time. Everyone needs the occasional adrenaline rush.
2. The Downer – This is the friend who might just be the polar opposite of the Life of the Party. It’s not that this kind of friend is necessarily a bad person. This friend just has a tendency to look at the glass as half empty. Or even mostly empty. Or completely empty. This is the person that may not intend to see the worst in people or situations, they just do. This person might not think of him or herself as a sad individual, but there’s a good chance you’ll be brought down with too much exposure.
3. The Bad Influence – This is the friend that scared your parents throughout your childhood. This is the friend that they forbade you from hanging out with. Let’s face it, the people you spend time with are going to influence you for better or worse. And there’s a very real possibility that you’re hoping you’ll influence them for the better. From what I’ve experienced, it really doesn’t take much negativity to destroy a good person. Just remember, sometimes your parents were right.
4. The Klingon – This is the aggressive friend. This is the friend who will not back down from a fight. This friend will stand up for you on the playground when that bully just won’t leave you alone. In that sense, this friend is extremely loyal. But you have to be careful, because that aggression can easily turn around on you.
5. The Cling-On – This is the friend that can’t seem to function without you. This is the one that calls and texts and leaves awkward and sometimes confusing messages on your Facebook page. And this is the friend that suffers from some pretty extreme jealousy. ‘Cause God forbid you should have other friends.
6. The “Christian” – I use the quotes for a reason. I won’t say that this type of friend isn’t really a Christian. Because that’s between them and God. But this is the friend that does all the right things on the surface. But when the chips are down, this is the person that will turn their back on you before you even realize what’s happening. As long as you’re living life the way they think you should, everything is sunshine and rainbows. But if you screw up, look out. The judgmental pants come on and you become an outcast and a former friend. This friend isn’t as easy to identify as many of the above. This friend is a true chameleon. Approach with caution.
7. The True Christian – It’s hard to say if this friend really exists. Because, you know, everyone messes up. Nobody is perfect. I knew a guy in college who, when asked how he was doing, would say, “I’m just trying to be a Christian.” To me, that phrase perfectly sums up the true Christian life. The point of someone calling themselves a Christian is because they’re trying to be Christ-like. It’s a standard that people can’t be expected to live up to, but should be expected to attempt. The true Christian friend will do just that. With every fiber of their being, they will try to live up to Christ’s example. It means that, no matter what, that friend will be there for you. You screw up, it won’t matter. They’re going to love you just the same. This is the kind of friend who won’t back down from the truth. And they’ll share that truth with you, even if it hurts. They will share that brutal truth because it’s something you need to hear. And they won’t give up on you. When you get mad at them because they told you something you needed to hear, they’ll be there when you feel like talking again. This friend will shut up and listen when the occasion calls for it. This friend will hold your hand and pick you up when you fall. And they won’t expect anything in return.
For the record, Christians haven’t cornered the market on the characteristics of a True Christian friend. These are traits that can be found in people of all walks of life. Most of it just comes from treating people around you with love and respect. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, it means treating people the way Christ would treat us.
Look, I won’t claim that this is the definitive list of every type of friend that’s out there. I won’t even say that each definition listed is anything more than my personal opinion. The fact of the matter is, there are as many types of friends as there are people in the world. Everyone has it in them to be a great friend to their fellow man. And, just as easily, everyone has it in them to be a horrible friend. It’s up to you to decide what kind of friend you’re going to be. Choose wisely.