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If you're like me, you have many acquaintances—people you know through your neighborhood, through church, through your job, and even some you know through shopping at the same stores every week.

It's great to know a lot of people, but that doesn't guarantee that even one of them is a friend—let alone, a "forever friend."

What do I mean by a "forever friend"? It's basically someone who you've become so close to she feels like family. In fact, the Bible says it's possible to have friends who are even closer to you than family!

Proverbs 18:24 says, "There are 'friends' who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." How is that possible?

Well, most basically, it starts by being friendly with people on more than just a surface level. That's what the first part of this verse says in another translation, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly." And there are basic things about being friendly we oftentimes overlook!

So what are some ways to "show ourselves friendly" and begin to develop friendships—to make "forever friends"?

Become genuinely interested in people.
Ask them questions about their children, about their life, about the things they like to do, about the things they dream about, about their home and marriage.

If we would spend less time talking about ourselves, and more time asking questions, we would be taking an important step towards developing a new friendship.

Smile more than you frown!
Most people have enough sad things going on in their life without you adding to them. They want to have friends who will make them smile and focus on the positive, rather than on the negative things in life. That doesn't mean you can never be serious.

Proverbs 17:17 says that..."Friends love through ALL kinds of weather." But if you're always serious and talking problems, that's being a rainy day friend. And it will get to a point where people will want to stop being around you, because being with you leaves them feeling exhausted and worn out.

Be sure there's plenty of sunshine in your conversations. And don't always want someone else to bring the sunshine into your life. If you want to make a "forever friend," purpose to bring sunshine into their lives too!

Be a good listener.
Why do most women want to have a "forever friend"? They want to be able to talk to someone who understands what they're feeling or going through.

James says,
...don't ever forget that it is best to listen much.... (James 1:19)
And then if she asks what you think or what you would've done, give an answer. Otherwise, resist the temptation to give your opinion unless asked to. Oftentimes, people just need you to listen. That is one of the greatest acts of friendship.

Be sensitive of their time.
When you call a friend up on the telephone, a simple, "Hey, are you in the middle of something?" can make all the difference. Ask someone if this is a good time for them to talk before you launch into your conversation!

I've seen people strike up what appears to be the start of a great friendship, but one or the other puts too much of a demand on the other person's time. So, be sensitive to how much time they want to invest in the friendship.

Proverbs 25:17 says, "When you find a friend, don't outwear your welcome; show up at all hours and he'll soon get fed up!"

Aristotle said this: "Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit!" So, realize that "forever friendships" don't happen overnight—but they're worth the work it takes to grow them!

Copyright © CFAITH All rights reserved.

Author Biography

Renee Burt
Web site: Living Word Christian Center
Renee is also the pastor over the Small Group department, leads a monthly book group, helps teach at Marriage Matters, and puts together an annual event for women called Ladies Day Out. She also is a part of Christians United for Israel alongside her husband, Tim, who is the CUFI Minnesota State Director.

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