Four ways to lavishly love your friends year-round
When I started dating my first boyfriend, I was on cloud nine. We were Facebook official, he had met my parents, and we were a legitimate item. Finally, someone to smother with my love and affection. Someone to communicate with all day, every day. Someone to give little presents to, just because. Someone to encourage. Someone to shower with attention. Someone to really know.
Then one day it occurred to me — why does making someone feel special have to be limited to him? He might be gone tomorrow. (Clearly, I was confident in that relationship.) What if I pursued my friends the way I pursued this guy? What if I loved them like they might be gone tomorrow, thinking of creative ways to show them I care? What if I was as intentional with them as I was with my boyfriend? I didn’t want to limit my love to one boy and neglect my friendships with the girls who were there before him and would be there after he left.
For some reason, we reserve the all-in, sold-out, whatever-it-takes type of love for guys, while our girlfriends get a fraction of the love we have to offer in comparison. I want to challenge you to rethink the way you love your friends.
Here are four ways to make your best girlfriend feel like she’s the luckiest friend in the world:
- Take her on a date.
Think through her favorite activities, places and food. Plan a day just for her, save up a little money — or plan a cost-free day — and take her out! Maybe she loves the ocean, good music and Taco Bell (a girl after my own heart). Have some T-Bell waiting in the car when you pick her up, play a custom playlist you put together for her, and spend the day at the beach or the aquarium. Maybe keep it simple and cook her a meal she loves. Whatever you do, make it totally and completely “her.”
- Speak her love language.
Author Gary Chapman says there are five “languages” in which we give and receive love — words of encouragement, quality time, acts of service, meaningful touch, and gifts. Learn someone’s language and learn the way to her heart! Ask your friend which of these make her feel the most loved, and try to speak her love language once a week. Send her an encouraging card via snail mail, bring her dinner at work, paint her favorite verse on a canvas, text her when a funny GIF makes you think of her, or offer to scratch her head during a movie (honestly, is there anything better than a good head scratch? Absolutely not).
- Ask how you can be a better friend.
In romantic relationships, the status of the relationship is often checked on and worked on. Am I doing this well? Can you work on this? How can I love you better? Ask your gal pal how you can love her better. Ask what she needs most this week and do your best to fulfill that need. Chances are, she’ll reciprocate the effort and you’ll end up feeling more loved, too!
- Pray for her.
This is the greatest gift we can give our friends — talking to God about them and asking Him to provide for her needs. Make her a part of your regular prayer routine and check in on what God is doing in her life. It’s not just boyfriends who can reflect God to us and help us love Him better! Friendships have a mighty role in God’s Kingdom. Don’t take them for granted.
At our best, we love in a lavish, wild, crazy, Jesus type of way. It’s a love that sacrifices, a love that lasts, a love that celebrates. Think of how special you’d feel if a friend loved you that way! You can start a culture of affection in your friend group that goes beyond lazy, last-second love.
A boy may enter the scene, or maybe he’s already in your life. If so, you won’t be grasping and longing for love, because you’ve got what you need already. He’ll be an added bonus. So take a look at the friends around you and do what’s often so scary in the dating world: Make the first move.
Heather Leith is feelin’ 22 and madly in love with mac ‘n cheese, gold nail polish and finding typos. She works in youth ministry at Saddleback Church and is determined to be on SNL someday. Heather tweets and ‘grams @heatherleithal.