Recently, I read that 70% of pastors don’t have any close personal friends. I have quoted this figure publicly and several pastors have confided to me that it is true for them. They admitted that they don’t have any close personal friends. This made me very sad. I think it is also true of CEOs and other leaders as well.
Why is this true?
I know that for years, I didn’t think I needed any close friends. I assumed that my colleagues at work and the people I went to church with were enough. I finally woke up the fact that I didn’t really have any close personal friends. All of them were either dependent on me in some way or simply acquaintances.
Since that time, I have been much, much more intentional about friendships. In fact, this is one of the “accounts” in my Life Plan. I have several great friends, most of whom live in my neighborhood. We get together on a regular basis and support and encourage one another.
When I mentioned this in a talk I gave recently at Catalyst West, one brave soul asked, “But what if you don’t have any friends? Where do you start?”
My answer? Be to others the friend you wish you had. It’s that simple.
For example, here are the characteristics I look for in a close friend. I want someone who …
- Shows up for me when I am in a crisis.
- Listens empathetically without judging.
- Is willing to pitch in when I am too embarrassed to ask.
- Affirms me when I doubt myself.
- Reminds me of who I am, when I forget.
- Celebrates my wins and mourns my losses.
- Remembers the things that are important to me.
- Trusts me with their secrets.
Do you wish you had that kind of friend? Well, God says that you reap what you sow (e.g., see Galatians 6:7).
If you want this kind of friend in your life, then go BE this kind of friend to others. You might be surprised to see what happens.
Question: What are the characteristics of the friends you have—or wish you had?