what to do when a friend is going through a hard time...

Friendship is a sacred thing to me. I have been blessed to be surrounded by some pretty awesome girlfriends in my lifetime. It amazes me at God's generosity in this area of my life. I am and have been so incredibly blessed. 

A good friendship takes work on both sides. As you develop and change as a person, so do your friendships. There are ups and downs, each of you stretching and growing within the bounds of that friendship. 

Time changes people. Time changes friendships and that's OK. It is part of life. Some friendships are meant to take place within a time or season. God brings them to you as you need each other and then you each move on. 

Recently, several of my friends have gone through struggles. You name it, many have faced it. As their friend, I have a specific role to play when they are in the middle of a battle. 

#1- Pray for them 
I have a prayer journal and inside the front cover I have my girlfriends names listed. I pray for them every day. Every.day. When trouble hits, I hit my knees and ratchet up the prayer heat. This is always my first step of support. 

#2 - Listen
When the calls come and they need to vent. Listen. Meet them where they are and just listen. Don't take on their worry or anger, just listen and pray to the holy spirit to give you the right word of support. A listening friend is a true gift. 

#3 - Be There 
I mean show up at the house with flowers, an encouraging note, dinner or just give them a hug, but physically be there. Words are one thing,but to show up is the sign of a true friend. You have shown them with your actions, how much they mean to you. 

#4 - Don't try to "fix" it
Not your circus. Not your monkeys. 
When your friend is struggling be there to pray, listen and support but unless they ask you for it, hush it and don't try to fix things. This is their issue to work through and you are there to help support them as they figure things out. 

#5 - What is shared between girlfriends, stays between girlfriends 
No gossip. No sharing (only with your spouse). Keep it to yourself. Trust is key is any relationship but especially when someone is in distress. So pray, listen, be there and keep your mouth shut. Once that trust is broken, you can try and rebuild the friendship, but it will never be the same. 

These five things have really helped me over the last three decades to maintain some wonderful friendships. What have you done to build and maintain your friendships? Please share in the comments. 

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