Real Friendships Are Not Convenient

Susan Narjala   |   May 17, 2024 

There’s a joke circulating on Instagram that goes something like this:

“Do you know one of Jesus’ greatest miracles that no one ever talks about?



He had 12 close friends in his 30s.”


Whoever came up with that meme struck some solid truth: as we get older, nurturing authentic friendships becomes more difficult than we’d ever imagined.

When we were younger, opportunities to make BFFs abounded. There were daily lunch dabbas to be shared and long conversations on cordless telephones, which were only interrupted by our parents who wanted to use the line.

But as we get older, we’re pulled in a hundred different directions. Work deadlines push against kids’ piano lessons which jostle with your aunt's 70th birthday party which is planned for the same day as your church ladies’ brunch which happens to fall on the Saturday where you’d scheduled a sofa cleaning service.

Of course, you want to hang out with friends and chat about nothing in particular while covering every conceivable topic under the sun. You want to giggle together like schoolgirls till your sides ache and tears run down your face. You want to share greasy Chinese food and not be judged for dripping chocolate ice cream down the front of your shirt.

And, of course, you want to have deep, soul-baring, vulnerable, I’m-such-a-mess conversations with a close friend.

But in today’s day and age, friendship seems such a luxury.

There seems to be little time and space to grow in our friendships. But true friendship requires sacrifice.

We have grown up with the notion that friendships happen naturally. And they do. But nurturing friendship may require us to give up our time and our to-do’s. Real friendships are not convenient.

Real friends listen intently to stories that they’ve heard a hundred times before. They offer a shoulder to cry on—even though their own shoulders are weighed down by cares. Real friends walk with you when the road is bumpy. They celebrate your victories, however small. They speak truth in love even when it makes them look bad. Real friends are vulnerable with their weaknesses and flaws.  Real friends cry with you. Real friends propel you toward Jesus.

As a culture, however, we’ve grown accustomed to a new category of “online friends.” While there’s value in relationships we nurture through social media, has it made friendship too convenient? Are we merely content with getting our “friend fix” on our own terms? Are we morphing into extreme introverts who prefer commenting to conversing? Are we more prone to sharing memes than opening up our hearts? Do we prefer texting friends to sitting across the table from them?

If that is what we’re gravitating toward—convenient online-only friendships—then we might be missing out on the depth, beauty and joy of true connection.

Scripture also reminds us that a friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17).

Not just at convenient times but at all times.

That ability to demonstrate deep phileo love or brotherly / friendship love comes when we cultivate our friendship with God.

In growing our relationship with Jesus through constant communion with Him, we realize the depth to which we are forgiven, we grasp the riches of His grace, we enjoy the privilege of His constant presence, and we experience the security of opening our hearts to Someone who listens with compassion.

As we receive that love, forgiveness, grace, presence, and joy from Jesus, we can extend that to our friendships.

We are able to love at all times, just as Jesus loves us through all our messes.

Friendships invade your personal space.

They intrude on your time.

They inconvenience your schedule.

But that’s how they grow into meaningful relationships.

You and I were never meant to do life alone.

In communion with Jesus, we find ourselves nourished enough to nurture real friendships.


Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash


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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog,

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2 comments on “Real Friendships Are Not Convenient”

  1. Great reminder - thank you. I think we might be seeing a related phenomenon in our churches, the death of true fellowship through the one anothers. There’s no time for bearing burdens and forgiving and praying in our 90 minutes once per week meetings. Is this different in Indian churches you know?

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