Katie Morford was my guest on Monday, but she had so much I wanted to share that we broke it into two posts. If you missed Monday, do go back and read the whole thing, but for the quick catch-up, here’s a summary of what she said:
“I believe we live in the loneliest generation the world has ever known. We are more “connected” than ever, but only on the surface. We crave true friendships that last a lifetime. To be seen. Known. To reveal our real selves and cultivate authentic friendships.
If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place. Sit down. Let’s have a chat. If you want more real friendships in your life, the first thing you have to do is be real and extend the hand first.”
Now, here’s the rest.
by Katie Morford @KLMorford
Ask good questions.
The same is true cultivating authentic friendships. Don’t settle for the easy questions about work, the weather, or where they bought their new dress (though you might want to save the “Did you really cheat on your college boyfriend?” question for at least the second coffee date).
Ask questions that give your friend a chance to share about their hobbies, passions, and experiences. Ask about their life growing up, the good and the bad about their day, and what their “impossible dream” might be (everyone has one).
Write a list of questions and memorize them if you must, but most of all, listen with genuine interest. Good questions show you want to know the real person—not just the image they project to the world.
Be a friend.
Okay. I know this sounds obvious, but hang with me here. I’ve met so many people who lament their lack of friends, yet have made no attempt to be a friend to someone else. I’m sure you have a few people coming to mind.
Don’t be that person.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Healthy friendships are reciprocal. If you’re always the one giving out and never receiving friendship in return, that’s a whole different problem (and blog post).
But seriously—it’s not about you. The point of friendship is not to improve your social status, get that next promotion, or secure a babysitter for date night. Truly authentic people searching for truly authentic friendships can smell selfish motives a mile away.
Be an authentic friend to someone because that’s the kind of person you are—or maybe want to be—and you’ll be surprised how other people are drawn to you along the way.
You ready for this? Real people make mistakes. And I’m not talking everyday “you promised me you’d babysit the kids and you forgot” kind of mistakes (though those happen too). I mean, cutting words and epic failures and the kind of mistakes where you can’t decide whether to cry or throw them out the window.
Understand me. I’m not talking abuse. That’s a different animal. But I’ve seen a disturbing trend of people throwing away lifelong friends like they’re disposable and upgrading to a better model. People “unfriending” others faster than they can click a button simply because they made an honest mistake.
We are all only human. We aren’t the perfect people we like to pretend we can be. So when that day comes and your friend lets you down (and it will come), remember how you’d want them to treat you in your mess and mistakes, and be real enough to admit you’re not perfect either. Forgive, restore, and give a lot of grace.
As the wise C.S. Lewis once said, “We are all sinners and all very hard to live with.”
Best of luck. And remember—you can do this. You only have to take the first step.
Katie Morford is a globe-trotting missionary journalist and travel photographer who’s secretly a homebody, fiction writer and book nerd. She travels the world creating short documentary videos with a Christian media team. You can follow her adventures on her travel photography blog.
In her spare time, Katie writes space opera and action-adventure novels (pick up her latest release, Kenan, under pen name Karis Waters) and is an editor for Crosshair Press. Once a month you’ll catch her on the CP blog, waxing eloquent on life, travel, and living a great story. Katie lives in northern England despite disliking both rain and milk in her tea.