You’ve Got A Friend In Me

One of the most difficult transitions to adult life is friendships. When you’re in college friends come easily, either by starting a new semester with new classes, or by just walking around campus and sitting at a different table. But then college ends, and real life begins, and how do you continue to make friends that are more meaningful then, “hey, want to go to a movie?” Relevant Magazine posted an article today titled ‘Why Is It So Hard to Make Friends After College?‘ And part of it is true, there’s just something about college that makes finding friends easy: you’re all the same age, going through similar things and really wanting friends. It’s almost like the beginning of Toy Story, you’ve got a friend in me.

I was really blessed after college with an incredibly close group of friends (shoutout to Ryan, Joseph and David!) who were able to pour into me, and I pray I was able to pour into. One of them even went to college with me, but we decided we hated each other back then…

So how do you make friends after college? I’m going to address 3 things I’ve done that have been incredibly helpful in making friendships that are meaningful and go deeper than a surface friendship.

1. Find an interest.

All of us have things we’re passionate about and enjoy doing. Whether that’s playing video games, reading books, hiking, climbing, playing basketball, running, watching movies, taking pictures, drinking coffee or playing music (if you enjoy all those things, please call me! Let’s hang out!) everyone has something they enjoy doing and are decently good at, or could get good at. So pick a hobby and start doing it. Find places nearby that you can do your passion with others, and before you know it, you’ve got a friend! And even if it’s something you haven’t really enjoyed before, there’s always room to try something new. When I moved to Wyoming I started playing no-stakes poker with some guys from church. Turns out I somewhat enjoy playing poker!

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”” – C.S. Lewis

2. Get involved in a church.

This is the other area that guys especially can have a tendency to neglect. The way I met those friends right after college was through a church small group. Church also allows you to become friends with people you wouldn’t necessarily gravitate toward. I have a group of men from church that I get together with 2 times a month. 2 of them are retired, 1 is in his 60s, and the other is a decade older than me. It’s awesome! While we don’t have everything in common, we are all trying to become more like Christ in our everyday lives. You’d be surprised how much believers can have in common despite having no shared areas of passion or interest. Church allows you to become friends with those who are older, younger and the same age as you. And that’s what the church is supposed to be: a family. Proverbs tells us “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Ultimately that friend is Jesus, but we can have that in the church as well.

“Most often, growth happens through deep relationships and in communities where the implications of the gospel are worked out cognitively and worked in practically — in ways no other setting or venue can afford.” – Tim Keller

3. Be a friend.

This is one of the most difficult but necessary things you can do. This takes time, work and a TON of energy. Is there someone in your life that you can stick closer than a brother to? Is there someone you can serve, as Christ has commanded us to? This is the one area I didn’t see addressed in the article on Relevant. People are sinful which makes relationships with each other very difficult. There are going to be ways people rub you wrong and ways you are sinned, but that doesn’t mean you should withdraw. In fact, we should be like Jesus who was betrayed to death. I’m guessing most of us have never had our friends betray us to death, but we so often get offended like they have. So pray about this and find someone that you can be a friend to.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”  – C.S. Lewis

Obviously this isn’t an all inclusive list of ways to make friends after college, but I think it’s a good start. We are created to be a friend and have friends, we are not created to be lone ranger Christians. We need people around us to help us, encourage us and point out our blind spots of continual sin. May we truly be a community that represents Christ to the world so they see what it means to sacrificially lay down our lives for each other.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

-C.S. Lewis “The Four Loves”

Chronological Snobbery

I’ve been reading a book called ‘The Narnian‘ that is about the life of C.S. Lewis. It’s been an interesting journey into Lewis’ life from his young life through his adult years and I have just reached the point where he became a Christian. (interesting side note, we have 1 remaining recording of Lewis’ voice reading what would eventually become ‘Mere Christianity’ that you can hear here.)

One of the things Lewis was most concerned about was the way he saw his students completely dismissing anything people from history said. I’ve talked a couple times on this blog before about the importance of remembering where we’ve come from, and this book reminded me again of how important it is to maintain perspective. Lewis called this “chronological snobbery” where because we now know that the earth revolves around the sun we dismiss anything said or written during the middle ages because they believed the sun revolved around the earth. We should not be so quick the throw the baby out with the bath water, but instead should look at what they wrote that was good and see how it applies to our lives and times today. Lewis said of the old books, “The great books of the past, then, if we read them properly and carefully, can be mirrors into which we see the sins and limitations of our own period.” This especially goes for the Bible too. No, the Bible writers didn’t know of molecules and planets and cells like we do, but God used them in their time and their place to write down his very Words. Let’s not be so quick to dismiss any thoughts from history, but instead weigh them carefully in light of our own generations blind spots.