Jesus said: “A new command I give you: Love one another…” We all crave love like White Castle wishes we craved its mini burgers. All joking aside, we need love. We will do anything to get it (or what we think is love).

How can we love our friends, family members and spouses even better? How do we become the friend everyone wishes they had?

Here are a few simple ways we can love others:

1. Listen to them

Simple enough, right? Everyone in the world appreciates an attentive listener. In an age of shrinking attention spans and mobile devices, it can be hard to find a person with ears open and their face away from their phone.

Be the person who loves by giving your full attention to the one speaking to you. Be present, fully engaged in the conversation. This will mean more to them than you realize.

2. Confront them

What?! I thought this was “how to love others?” Yes, it is! To lovingly and carefully confront (or a better term – “talk to”) your friend, is to love and care for them.

Feelings get hurt. Text messages get taken the wrong way. If you allow these “little offenses” to build up, over time you will see your relationships slowly (or quickly) deteriorate.

Lovingly talk to your friend about the situation. Take away the negative thoughts about “confronting” someone, you are merely speaking with your friend, whom you love. Just talk.

3. Give them the benefit of the doubt

If you are alive, you have hurt someone’s feeling at least once in your life. Do you mean to hurt you friend’s feelings? Typical no. We are so quick to assume that our best friends mean to hurt our feelings.

I’m mean after all, they know us so well, “they should know what hurts our feelings” – right? Wrong.

Most of the time, people have no clue when they hurt your feelings. It could have been a simple misunderstanding: a small comment in a group setting or a text that ended with a period instead of an emoji.

Give your friends the benefit of the doubt. They do not mean to hurt you, just like you don’t mean to hurt them. You can make the situation ten times worse by assuming they meant to hurt you and conveying that to your friend.

4. Put them first

Want to stand out as an amazing friend? Put your friends first. It could be a simple as asking them where they would like to eat, or what movie they would like to watch.

The sin nature that all people are born with, really does make us selfish creatures. We want to look out for ourselves and do what we want to do. Caring for others and considering their interests must be intentional.

When we put others first, they light up. They immediately feel the care and consideration. Let’s be the friend who isn’t always being selfish, but the one who “in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3 HCSB)

5. Be there for them

Again, not rocket science, but most friends don’t make sure they are present for their friends when needed. We know the friends who can be counted on and friends that we know only show up when it’s convenient.

Let’s be the kind of friend who can be counted on, through thick and thin.

6. Build them up, never tear down

We can all use a little more encouragement in our lives. Think of the most encouraging person that you know – someone who has built you up, told you that you could do it, etc.

That person loved you and believed in you. You can be that person for someone else. Who is in your life right now that needs YOU to be that person for them?

You can make a massive difference in someone’s life.

7. Call them (use your phone as a phone)

Texting is the norm for most people these days (at least younger people). It’s easy to go months without actually talking to your friends on the phone. Because texting is the preferred method of communication, go one step further and actually call your friend to check in with them and see how they are doing.

This is equivalent to getting snail mail (actual mail in your mailbox). Emails are so common and quick. We get super excited when we get a package in the mail because someone took the time to make that happen.

The phone call is the same. Take the time and make a few calls every week or so, it will mean a lot.

Takeaway point

Be the friend that everyone wishes they had. I mean why not? It’s not that much effort and you can really make a difference in your friend’s life. Love your friends in action.

Challenge: Re-read these 7 ways to love others and go out of your way to do one of them each day for the next 7 days. Your relationships will greatly improve! You can do it!

What are some other ways you can love others? Leave a comment below!

Ryan Maher
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