by Daniel Fleet
In our world of technological advancement one would think we are creating an easier environment for social connections. However, a recent article on msnbc.com entitled, “No friends? It’s worse for your health than being fat,” states that instead of growing closer, people are becoming more and more socially isolated. The article supports a growing body of research that states that in the last two decades Americans are growing in their loneliness. Research concludes that Facebook, texting, chatting, and other electronic connections are not the same as friendship and are not an adequate substitute for friendship.
Loneliness is perhaps one of the most painful feelings, and it comes at a cost. Psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstad found that “a lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.” One research team concluded that “People with strong social relationships were 50 percent less likely to die early than people without such support.”
Loneliness is often rooted in self-centeredness; it is not God’s will; it contributes to disunity in the body of Christ; it drives us into isolation from those who need us.
How can we find friends in a lonely world? The answer is simple: be a friend.
1. Be a friend by spending time with people.
We devote much of our time to making money, getting projects done, and pursuing hobbies, but we neglect giving time (our most valuable possession) to that which matters most – people.
True friendship requires segments of unhurried time. Friendships can’t be micro waved. You can’t listen in a hurry, comfort in a hurry, counsel in a hurry, rejoice in a hurry.
If you want meaningful relationships with others it will require that you devote time to building relationships.
2. Be a friend by being friendly.
Many people do not have friends for the simple reason that they are not friendly. You can only have a friend when you make the decision to become one. Smile, be kind, and be generous.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.”
3. Be a friend by making others a priority.
Friendships are forged when a person assigns high priority to the life of another.
4. Be a friend through adversity.
Where there are two people there will be sin, and where there is sin there will be strife. Be willing to work through disagreements, difficulties, and dissension. We all have bad days – be willing to extend grace and love to others.
Loneliness is harmful and it’s unnecessary. Are you lonely? Are you investing your life into other people? Are you surrounded with people who love you? If not it might be best if you invest in others – because when you do others will invest in you.