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September 29, 2023

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Look to friends for guidance, support

I celebrated how a few close friends helped me return to a state of peace.

Although I still continue sorting through several life issues, my story is a testament to how valuable supportive friends are.

Friends who are able to listen and support are what many at-risk young adults need when virtually all hope is lost. Many emotional outcries on social networking websites and other forms of communications may be pleas for help.

Finding the right friends to speak with can be challenging, I know. This process may take a lot of pruning, but it can really pay off.

Most importantly, you want to befriend someone you can trust. You should feel comfortable talking to this person. You should feel confident that they won’t divulge personal thoughts and emotions that may embarrass you.

Also, a trustworthy friend is someone who will not try to malign your name.

Another aspect of a good friend is that they offer reproach when you make a bad decision. A good friend is gentle and constructive— not harsh or overbearing— when reproving.

Some people accept criticism differently than others. For example, some people appreciate friends who are very direct or blunt. Others appreciate friends who offer correction softly without sugar-coating truth.

With a friend’s gentle reproach, encouragement and grace is another good aspect of an honest friend.

For me, it was helpful speaking with friends who are honest but personable simultaneously. It was also helpful that my friends realized I was very self-aware about my mistakes when they corrected me. Then, at times, it was helpful when my friends offered me grace. They acknowledged growth in my spiritual life and behavior at times when I didn’t notice it myself.

Along with honesty, listening is another important trait a good friend has. If you feel like you’re never being listened to, find someone who will listen.

I found it helpful that my friends were good reflective listeners: As we spoke, my friends learned how to give tentative responses like “Phil, it sounds like … ” or “Phil, it seems as if … ” These non-judgmental and tactful reactions helped make our conversations more interactive and enjoyable.

Finally, I’ve learned a good friend will endure your hardships. No matter what, they will walk with you all the way to the end. They will also fight for your name and on your behalf. Not only do I consider this commitment as loyalty, but also as Godly character.

Finding a few loyal friends among young adults may be challenging. For example, some people may not know how to handle certain situations. They may flee to relieve their own stress.

Others may flee because they choose not to get involved. However, it’s not their fault. They may not be the person best fit to help you through your hardships, after all. Therefore, a friendship with them may be detrimental to both of your health.

Nevertheless, keep searching for loyal friends. People who can best answer your cries for help in these ways may be nearby. You may be surprised. They may even be whom you least expect to be friends with.

Respond to Phil at

[email protected]

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