Growing up, I always wished for a best friend, the kind I saw in books and movies. Some of my friends had that one person they’d been close with for years, and while I certainly had a group of great girlfriends in high school and college, I never had a single “best friend.”
Years down the road, I still have a great group of women who encourage me in my walk with God. But I also have a best friend—a woman who supports, encourages and helps me even though we live hundreds of miles apart. When I think about why we ended up besties, I see five distinct qualities that equipped her to be the kind of person to fill that role.
If you—like me—have spent years without a best friend, start praying for one! And as you do, look for the following qualities.
1. Holiness. A godly best friend should constantly encourage you toward the Lord, not pull you away from Him. We can only draw near to God if we walk in holiness—because we are called to be holy as He is holy! Holiness is not the same as perfection; rather, it’s the imputed holiness of Christ, working a transformation in our hearts as we obey Him. A holy woman is constantly aligning herself with God’s will, asking Him where she needs to change, and is humbly bringing the presence of God into your life, too.
2. Loyalty. If you’ve experienced friendship betrayal, you know how important loyalty is. A loyal friend puts her relationship with you on her priority list; she doesn’t drift into your life when it’s convenient for her, only to disappear when things get tough. Notice the patterns in your friends’ behavior. If certain women are only in your life for the fun times or when it’s convenient, they probably aren’t best friend material.
3. Honesty. A best friend needs to be able to talk about the hard stuff with you. She needs to be bold enough to call you out when you’re in sin, loving you enough to tell you when you’re wrong and steer you back to Christ. This is not easy or comfortable! But if you have a woman in your life who is willing to be honest with you—both about yourself and about her own life—you have someone of incredible value. This is what King Solomon was talking about when he said, “As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
4. Patience. Patience is a practice, not a one-time virtue. A good friend needs to be patient with those around her. People will offend and hurt us, but the patient women can see past these things to the eternal significance of her relationships. Cultivate patience in your own life—giving the benefit of the doubt and extending forgiveness—but also look for a friend who reflects the patience of God.
5. Love. The Apostle Paul said, “Above all else, put on love, which binds [us] all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:14) The bond of friendship is solidified by love. This love isn’t what we make it to be; it’s love designed by God. God’s love is completely founded on sacrifice and commitment. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul tells us what this love looks like: It is patient, kind, not envious or rude. Love makes a best friendship last beyond difficulty, arguments and distance. It’s exactly what you need to make a relationship work.
If you’ve never had a best friend, don’t give up. Ask the Lord to bring someone into your life who helps you draw near to Him, someone with whom you can relate on a weekly (or daily) basis. God designed relationships and He delights to see us draw near to Him! Then keep your eyes open for the girl He has in mind, and be the kind of friend who will deserve her.