My husband and I were talking in the car the other day, and he said something about a friend of ours. He said, “She’s really good at being a friend.”
And in the silence, we were thinking of a couple people we love very much but who, frankly, are not so good at being friends.
They are our friends, certainly.
Which means we share history and care about one another and are always happy to see each other, but when it comes down to it, they don’t DO what good friends DO very often.
And, of course, that led us into a conversation about all the ways we don’t always DO what good friends DO either. Because it doesn’t matter how you feel in your heart about your friends—what matters is showing those feelings through words and actions.
What matters is communicating that love in a way that they can understand and feel that love.
Aaron had a college professor who said over and over, “It doesn’t matter how much you love your kids. What matters is communicating that love in a way that they can understand and feel that love.”
And the same is true for friendship.
As it is true for marriages and all relationships.
It’s so easy for me to feel warm, loving thoughts about friends or family members… and then go on about my day, never reaching out, sending a text, or setting a date to connect.
I think about them all the time, pray for them, and watch the details of their lives spool out over Facebook—first day of school photos, last moments of summer photos. I feel connected and warm, full of affection for these lovely people.
But how on earth would they know that?
Anyway, back to that original conversation in the car about the person who’s good at showing love and the one who’s not so good at showing it.
We were on our way to a birthday party for me, and after dinner each person toasted my birthday and said one kind word about me. The not-so-good friend blew my mind, saying something so lovely and sweet and meaningful, something that I had no idea she felt about me.
How often is that happening in our lives? The things we feel about one another so often go unexpressed, because we’re busy or thoughtless, assuming they know, assuming it’s more than clear.
Since that day I’ve been noticing all the times that I think loving thoughts about the people in my life… and then produce no corresponding action to show that love.
I’ve looked people in the eye and said, “I love you. I’m thankful for you.”
Since that day, I’ve sent more texts and emails, a couple old-fashioned letters. I’ve scheduled a walk and a coffee and a dinner. I’ve looked people in the eye and said, “I love you. I’m thankful for you.”
Because at the end of the day, Aaron’s professor is exactly right: It doesn’t matter how much you love someone. What matters is that they know it.
So let’s do it: who are you going to show love to today? Text, email, phone call, love letter. What would being good at being a friend look like in your life today?
This blog post originally appeared on Storyline and was republished with permission.