When two friends have mutual trust, it’s a beautiful thing. But trust also must be closely guarded. One of the best ways to do that is to talk often about the camaraderie you have and enjoy. Even better, remind each other what it takes to keep that camaraderie going.
Recognizing and discussing the attributes and potential pitfalls of a strong friendship will keep everyone’s eyes on the prize, and camaraderie is a prize indeed. But camaraderie is not something you just get to enjoy; it also must be cultivated. The more open you are about how to guard and protect it, the better the friendship will be.
It’s not about “controlling” the relationship but rather taking the responsibility on yourself. You can periodically remind your friend, “Hey, I have your back. You don’t have to worry about that.” Or “I’m never going to speak badly about you behind your back. If I need to talk to you, I’ll do it.” These kinds of reminders will strengthen the bonds of friendship, and the favors naturally will be returned. This kind of attitude will inspire your friend to be a good friend in return. Friendship is built one trust-brick at a time.
This kind of cultivation can produce one of the very best qualities of a good and healthy friendship: built-in accountability. Accountability, of course, can prevent a lot of bad spots. Friends hold each other accountable in all kinds of ways.
But accountability goes far beyond keeping an eye on one another. It also means keeping an eye on yourself. And when you’ve failed, you’ve got to go to your accountability partner and confess it.
As an accountability partner, your job is to hear and respond with grace, love, encouragement, and a good measure of strength. You’ve now been put on high alert to keep watch over your friend in a place of confessed weakness. This includes prayer and lots of it. There’s no judgment, but there is vigilance. Among other things, you’ve chosen to walk the straight and narrow together, side by side.
Reflection: Is there anything in your own life that could use accountability from a good friend? What is holding you back from talking with them about it?
Challenge: Think of a friend in your circle that you want to be in your life for the rest of your life. Take the time to let him or her know you have his or her back.