Why can’t my best friends stay friends?

We were FaceTiming.  I could hear her disappointment and remembered the crushing frustration I’d felt at her age.  I could also relate because this question applies to any of us at any age.

“Uh oh,” I said.  “What happened?”

“Every time I have a best friend, something always happens, and then I don’t,” she wailed.

“How many best friends should we have?”

“Everybody else has lots of best friends.  I don’t have any right now.”  She was unable to move past her disappointment.

I sensed I needed more information. “What’s the difference between a friend and a best friend, do you think?”

She looked away for a moment, then down, then shrugged her shoulders.  “I don’t know.  I guess if you’re best friends, then you don’t go to be best friends with someone else.”

“Oh, I see.  Then your best friend went to play with someone else, and you feel left out?”

“Yeah. And they didn’t invite me to play.”  Her lip began to tremble and she wiped unwanted tears from her eyes.

I had to remember things from her perspective and understand how much pain she was feeling, though I knew the answer lay in taking a needed step in growing up.

“Feeling unwanted hurts really bad, doesn’t it,” I said.  “I’ve felt that same way.  And Jesus did, too.”

“He did?” she responded.

“Yes, He did, several times.  Sometimes it was His brothers.  Sometimes it was His neighbors.  But the saddest was when His best friends, the Apostles, ran away when the soldiers came and arrested Him in the middle of the night.  And when He was crucified, John was the only one that came near.”

“I didn’t know that.”  Now she felt unsure that her problem could be solved.

“But Jesus loved them anyway, and forgave them after He rose from the dead.  Sometimes we just have to forgive our friends, especially when they didn’t mean to hurt us.  I don’t want you to lose your friends, either.  Do you?”

“No.  But what do I do?”

“Maybe we can share our friends with a smile, and a smile always makes people feel better around us.  Could you go get your Bible and look at something with me?”   As she ran to get her Bible, I quickly did a word search and found our help.  When she returned, I told her to find Job 16:20 and asked her to read it for us.

My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God.

“So, who can we talk to when our feelings are hurt?” I asked.

“We can talk to God,” she answered.

“Yes, it’s better to talk to Him about it than to speak badly about our friends to other people.  That’s called gossip.  I’m glad you and I are talking to God about this.  Now find Proverbs 27:10.”

Never abandon a friend.

“So, God says, let’s don’t give up on a friend just because they hurt our feelings accidentally.  Can we hang on and still be friends through disappointment rather than throw them away?” I asked.

“I guess so,” she conceded.  Then when I waited and smiled at her, she smiled and said, “Yes, I can hang on to my friends and not throw them away.”

“Okay.  I have one other verse, and I’ll read it for you, and you tell me what you think God is teaching us. Is that alright?”

She nodded.

I turned to Romans 12:3b.  “God told the Apostle Paul to say to us:

Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

“How do we know we’re important?  Is it because we have lots of friends, or is it because we know we are important to God?”

“Because we are important to God,” she answered.

“Does that make you feel better?  It does me.”

“Me, too.  And so are my friends important to God?”  Her tone had changed.  God’s viewpoint does that to us.

“Yes! Good call!  That’s the way to think like God!  You’re growing wiser, and being wiser makes you feel happier.  I’m proud of you for saying that.”   I genuinely felt impressed to see the effect of just a few words from God in a few moments.

She said, “I’m going to let you go and call someone to see if she had fun.  I still want to be friends. Talk to you later.” She ended the call.

I prayed I would be as quick to respond to the Lord’s correction.  We adults can learn so much from children and their unfettered trust in God.

Author:

I am a mother, grandmother, nanny, and writer—with a passionate concern about children, all children. With the help of my son Travis (who has a graduate degree in apologetics) I hope to share some thoughts that will be helpful to all who have the same concern.

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