Saturday, March 24, 2012


“There are only two places to make friends in this community,” a new resident said to me. This observation emphasizes how few options there are to make connections with new friends. It rarely happens in the neighborhood. It even rarely happens at our place of work – acquaintances, yes, but good friends, seldom.
     When families stay in the same general geographical area, they sometimes remain our primary best friends, but that is not guaranteed. How often do we choose our family with whom to spend an evening out, like a dinner, or a show, or concert or sports event?
     Friendship online has become a popular substitute for face - to - face interaction. Groups with common interests online, let’s face it, do meet a need. How many couples have you met who are now married, and some happily, through internet connections, not necessarily through single’s groups?
     One of the two places mentioned in the first sentence, was the local pub. Those who frequent pubs, often go for social reasons, and plan to engage in conversation in an unhurried manner while they are there. And if a pattern is set with two, three or more visits a week, repeat connections at the bar can lead to friendships. We will not take time to analyze, here, the risk in finding healthy friendships in a pub. But it provides a ripe atmosphere to make friends.
     The other of the two places mentioned was a local church. I was reminded about that this week when my wife, Anne, and I had opportunity for first-time visits with two different sets of people at two different places, all of which attend our church. We came away from each, amazed at how easily we connected. We could have three sets of new  friends right there.  The neat thing about coming to a new church these days is that almost all have small groups that meet weekly. That setting provides an ideal place to check out individuals with whom you think you might like to establish a long-term, meaningful relationship. And church offers you more than a social outlet. The risk level of being drawn into a negative pattern, is very low and, what is more, there you will find nurture for your soul.


Saturday, March 10, 2012


When is a friend a bosom buddy?
      We have many people connections and they all add meaning to our lives. We seldom make a list and categorize them. But by the way we interact with them, we unknowingly identify them as casual, business, high maintenance, refreshing, or essential friends. And there are degrees of friendship between these as well. If we bump into one of these, we might ask if he/she has time for coffee and talk about our favorite sports team, a movie, a sermon at church. But we would not phone them on a Saturday to see how they are doing.  Still, it’s pleasant and undemanding to spend time with them. We might enjoy a lunch with an office colleague and chat about things related to our work scene, but it would not occur to us to have them over to our place for dinner. Some individuals never have to be contacted because they always take initiative and when visiting we try to listen politely. The stories are pages long, without paragraphs or periods or even commas. There are other examples of high maintenance “friends” we allow into our lives, sometimes out of pity because they have no other connections. Prayer for endurance is often needed in such cases. Then again, the occasional connection with a buoyant, interesting acquaintance has us concluding we would not mind at all spending more quality time with that individual. But it doesn’t happen and we are puzzled since we feel that there is a mutuality that could develop into a close relationship.
     Our whole person gets a lift, though, when we get time with our special friends. There probably are not many of these, perhaps only three or four. With these we feel we can be vulnerable and lay bare our inner thoughts and personal struggles. We would not tell any of the others what the doctor said, disappointments in our marriage, the secret goals we are achieving or failing at. We feel at ease in expressing our joys. We can listen with empathy to such a friend’s own vagaries, and give words of encouragement. Affirmation to such a friend flows readily. There is free give and take, and uninhibited laughter and tears. Of such qualities is a bosom buddy relationship.  How can we find and nurture these kinds of connections? Should we try to answer that question? I welcome input.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Need to know how to make new friends? Having trouble making new friends? Well these little bits of advice I got off a friendship card will certainly give you a few tips on making new friends. Keep these in mind as you go out and soon you will lots of new TRUE friends
1. Don't worry about knowing people, just make yourself worth knowing.

2. Be friendly with the folks you know. If it weren't for them you would be a total stranger.

3. Friends are those who speak to you after others don't.

4. The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail and not his tongue.

5. The way to have friends is to be willing to lose some arguments.

6. Deal with other's faults as gently as if they were your own.

7. A friend is a person who can step on your toes without messing your shine.

8. You will never have a friend if you must have one without faults.

9. You can make more friends by being interested in them than trying to have them be interested in you.

10. A real friend is a person who, when you've made a fool of yourself, lets you forget it.

11. A friend is a person who listens attentively while you say nothing.

12. A friend is someone who thinks you're a good egg even though you're slightly cracked.

. . . and most important, A FRIEND IS A TREASURE!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


When we speak of investing, we almost exclusively refer to money. This week, my wife and I spent most of a day evaluating our small pool of money, where it is invested, what the dividends are, and what our minimal withdrawals will be this year. We’ll survive, is our conclusion.
     The pursuit of money, getting and enjoying the things we buy with that money, and the protection of our money, however, often preoccupy us to such a degree that we have little time to consider other types of investment. We overrate money. It does not produce contentment and satisfaction.
     I suggest investing time in other targeted areas of life will pay much higher dividends of personal satisfaction. One of those is friendship. We all want friends and to be befriended. Here are five ways to do invest in friendship:

1.      Whenever you connect with people, leave the impression that you have time to hear what they are saying. Ask some questions. Respond to what they are saying.

2.      If you are pressed for time at that moment, tell them you’re sorry to have to rush off, but you will be in touch later that day, and be sure you do it.

3.      Take the time to text, phone, e-mail, stop by the office, to ask how they are.

4.      Take time while you are shopping or strolling through shops to look for little gifts you can leave with a friend. They will realize that they are in your thoughts.

5.      When you hear about friends wading through deep waters, initiate having coffee with them.

This is not exhaustive list, but even if you invest in these simple ways, you will gain respect and become a treasured friend. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Among the many ways to invest in friendship, there is one we often neglect ­– prayer. When we can’t connect with friends personally, and that is the most rewarding part of a friendship, we can do our part in continuing caring, positive input into their lives by speaking to God about them. Friendship is a two-way deal, but by asking for favor, for protection, for guidance, for wisdom, for healing, for grace from their Creator for them, we maintain the one part of the relationship for which we are responsible. We probably know how life is with them and from what we know, we can appeal to God to change circumstances for them.
     Of course we now have the ease of sending e-mails, texting and Skyping to discover specific needs they may have. And you can  choose to leave with them items of concern in your life.
     Maybe some days you wish a friend would be in touch. You are ready to admit that you are lonely and really wish they would connect. Pray for them. You will experience satisfaction and also can be pleased that you are messaging good will toward them.
     Praying for each other, and even you only for a friend, strengthens the bond of friendship. Try it.


Thursday, February 2, 2012


My blog heading is Befriend; it assumes there must be people open to friendship. I did a little sleuthing and found the following answers to the question about why some people do not have friends. Here are some of the answers: 
·         Some are just shy.
·         Some people are naturally more comfortable by themselves.
·         Others gave up because many of the unfriended people are into themselves
·         For some it is a  choice because they refuse to bare their personal lives
·         Then there are those who have been hurt by ignorant and hurtful treatment
·         Still others are nice enough but are boring to be around. 

Would you like to add to this list? I will begin to answer these barriers to friendship next week, but in the meantime welcome your additions and responses.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


We make the world a better place by presenting ourselves, even to strangers, in a friendly manner. Two contrasting encounters on our visit to Abu Dhabi proved that truth. My wife and I were heading to a bus stop one morning, when a lady with a white head cover, approached us with a big smile. We’d never seen her before. And in Abu Dhabi, the local women never initiate conversation with outsiders. When she got to us she greeted us in broken English, embraced my wife and shook hands with me, seeming to admire us and welcomed us. She offered that she was from Indonesia. And we told her about our numerous trips to Bali to help a church. She kept smiling and wished us well.

     Set that experience beside a brush with rudeness at the Frankfurt airport. This was not a local German individual. I was lined up to pay for my coffee at McDonalds, when a young, scruffy-bearded young man stepped right in front of me to get to the teller. He never said a word, just pushed in. When I reminded him I was already in line, he scowled and reluctantly stepped back. The cold way he responded gave me an uneasy feeling. I even wondered if there might be something malicious about him.

     After meeting the woman, we hoped we could meet her again. And I wish I could always meet strangers with such care and interest. After meeting the young man, I rather wished I never had to encounter him again, except to try to help him reconsider his selfishness.

     The first encounter made us feel we perhaps had met an angel sent by God. The second one I thought I saw again later, at Heathrow Airport, leaning against a glass wall, watching me, expressionless. Hope I never meet him alone.

     I like to live in the world represented by the smiling, caring woman.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Maybe we could have empathy like this dog 
Lucky, a Golden Retriever, had the habit of storing all toys in the house and ones visitors might leave, in his downstairs dog bed. Whenever a visitor might call about an item left while at the house, Mary always knew where to look.

     It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this fact; she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her....what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked the husband, Jim, Lucky was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

     The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

     Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.

     Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

     When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.

     Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free.