When it comes to friendship, no one wants fake. No one wants shallow. No one wants temporary. What you're looking for in a friendship is something that is real, meaningful, and lasting.
What you're looking for is depth, breadth, and width.
The problem is, these types of friendships aren't easy to come by.
After 35 years, I can count the number of these types of friends that I have in my life on one hand (and I wouldn't even have to use all my fingers!)
As I reflect on what makes these one-of-a-kind friendships possible, I think of the following four marks:
Depth doesn't develop overnight. A friendship that has the potential for depth must be cultivated over a span of many years. Friendships that last for three years are a dime a dozen. Friendships that last for 30 years - rare.
A friendship has little to no potential for depth if you can't bring your total self to the table. Likes and dislikes. Future hopes and past hurts. Successes and failures. Quirks and uniquenesses. The quality of a friendship depends on the freedom to be fully you.
A friendship can only be as healthy as it is honest. Lies erode trust, and without trust, friendship isn't possible. But it's not just lies that make for an unhealthy friendship, unrevealed truths don't serve the friendship well either. For depth in a friendship to be achieved, making yourself known must be prioritized.
Is it possible to connect deeply with someone you don't see eye to eye with spiritually? Though I cannot speak for everyone else, I know that because my convictions about who God is run so deep, it would be difficult to have a deep friendship with someone whose convictions weren't similar. If we can't rejoice together in the joy of our salvation, the joy we could experience as friends would have a ceiling.
Though there are many "ingredients" to a friendship that will go the distance, these four are a must a for me.
What are the musts for you? Are your friendships characterized by these marks? Can you see how if these four marks aren't present, deep friendship might be difficult to develop? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!