Question:I have a problem with making friends because I'm very shy. I can't open up to others. Sometimes, I think God doesn't want me to make friends because I might get wrongly influenced. But then again, I know he wants me to have friends. I really need tips on how I can make friends without barfing all over them because I'm so shy.
I think God places a very high priority on friendships. Some people are shy and introverted and others are extroverts. Both types of people can have solid friendships. In fact, I find that some of the shy people I know who do tend to be more introverted have deeper friendships than the extroverts who look like they have all the friends.
My wife, Cathy, is a bit like you. She is an introvert and has deep friendships. I admire her because I am more of an extrovert and my friendships tend to be more shallow. Don't feel like you need to open up immediately with someone. Time spent often brings more trust and deeper friendship. Look for a few trusted friends and enjoy the depth of the relationship. Look for friends who will build you up and not tear you down. The Bible talks about a "friend who is closer than a brother." Look for those kind of friends. I laughed aloud when you used the phrase "make friends without barfing all over them." Sometimes we feel like that, don't we? If you are shy and needy, don't immediately share every problem you have with a new friend. Let the friendship grow and develop. In the long haul, you will have a deeper friendship if you take it slow. Yet, as you develop as friends, you hopefully will be able to listen to their problems also. That's what friends are for. Let me make a couple of general comments about friends. Friends have a profound influence in your life. Choose your friends wisely. You will become like your friends. Here are three questions that might be good to ask: Do your friends bring you up or pull you down? What do you like and dislike about your friendships? What decisions would be best for you to make to ensure that you have quality friendships. How you answer those questions and what you do about it could have significance in the type of person you can become.
As you make positive, healthy friendships a priority in your life, you will have to realize a simple formula: If you want true friends then you have to become a true friend. Let's consider some qualities of a true friend. A true friend is:
1. Caring and available - there is nothing more important than the gift of your time and genuine concern. 2. Encouraging - when you affirm and support people, you are building their self-esteem by showing them that they are important and that you believe in them. 3. Willing to sacrifice - a true friend walks the extra mile and can be depended upon to dedicate himself or herself to being inconvenienced at times. 4. Patient - no one is perfect, and a true friend will endure even in times of hardship. 5. A good listener - listening is the language of love. 6. Loyal - the Bible says it best, "If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost" (2 Corinthians 13:7 TLB). 7. Truthful - telling the truth in love sometimes involves telling a friend how it really is even if it hurts. Now, as you look over this list and think about the names of your friends, how do they measure up? How do you measure up?