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5 Ways to Build Intentional Friendships

We’ve all heard the saying: you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So it’s absolutely important to have the right type of people around you, this is your inner circle (your circle of influence).

It’s been proven that we can only have a deep connection with just 5 people at any one time. So if you look at the closest 5 people in your life right now they’re the ones you connect with and are influenced by on a daily basis. The other tens or even hundreds of people you know or call ‘friends’ are actually friendly acquaintances. You can have up to 150 of these people in your life but you can’t have true friendship or influence with so many people at once.  

The biggest lesson I’m learning in my twenties is the importance of having and finding true friends. I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way by getting hurt, bouncing back and knowing my values so that I can go out there and make better friendships.   

1. Choose your Friends

My mother has always told me,

“Don't let people pick you Natalie-Claire, choose your friends!"

Now in my twenties, I’ve finally understood what she means and I’ve made it my personal mission to intentionally pursue true friendships. I intentionally seek to connect with people who share my values and have similar ambitions in life. I’ve been getting out there going to events, meetups and joining new activities that I enjoy. I’ve also made some phone calls to women I know and admire with similar passions/interests so that we can discover if we can become good friends. When we try new experiences there are many new opportunities to find people who share our values, interests, and passions.

For me, my priorities are God, my love, my family, my values, and aspirations. I intentionally pursue friendships that share or have similar priorities in their life. I want to have a core group of friends that encourage me to live my life with intention and focus on the important things.

2. Make Space in Your Life

You need to make space in your life for new friendships to form, hence you’ll need to let go of certain people. It’s okay to take the time to evaluate your current friendships and see who adds value to your life or who drains you, these are the ones to let go. (Or at least create boundaries that allow you to slowly distance yourself from them).

3. Nurture and Grow your Relationships

Make sure to keep in contact with your friends regularly, this can be daily, weekly or monthly have some dates set in your diary. I know we millennials love technology - APPs and social media in particular so we sometimes think that we are in constant communication with our friends just because we see a post or status update. Make time to see and communicate with your friends in person and not just online/ through technology. A real human connection is very powerful.
Being a true friend involves being there during the highs and lows of life. Take the time to celebrate exciting and happy events for your friends. And in reverse also take the time to acknowledge the bad and painful moments. Being there for them in all circumstances.

When weeks, months and years pass by, take some time to celebrate your friendship. We often just rely on some people to always being there for us but it is also important to let them know how much you love and appreciate them being in your life through the ups and downs.

Be Vulnerable

For any relationship to grow we need to be able to show vulnerability. A true friendship is built on trust, shared experiences and the courage to be vulnerable with each other. This is where true intimacy is shared between two people and the bond grows stronger. Being open and sharing personal experiences with a friend allows you to truly see and understand each other.

4. Stay Committed to Your Friendship

In every relationship, there are times of pain and conflict. It is in these times when our commitment to a friendship is tested. We are all human and make mistakes so being able to work through difficult situations and forgive each other is an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship.

Allow the friendship to evolve, as we grow and develop the friendships we have can change. As life gets busier, we tend to have less time for our friends, this can be an opportunity for you to discover new ways in which you can continue to grow your friendships. It could be having a long call every month or to go on a weekend getaway every few months.

Even if we are busy we can make time and create solid plans for when to see and communicate with our friends, this will help to keep the bond strong even if you don’t get to see each other everyday.  

Tell me in the comments below how are you building intentional friendships?

5. Know what Type of Friendship it is

There are friends that come into your life to teach you something about yourself. You became friends because of the things you like or hate.

We grow apart from friends because our interests change and our priorities change, this is part of life. There comes a time when this friend leaves and the bond you had fades away.

This is a friend who comes into your life for a reason.

The second type of friend is someone you’ll draw close to at a time when you are both experiencing something together. It could be a life challenge or a project you both worked on. You find that in this situation any similar interests bring you two closer together.

As you share this experience with each other you grow together and depend on their support. But like the first kind of friend this friendship is temporary, it is dependant on the situation you’re both in. Friendships often change due to the season we are in.

This type of friend will be by your side for a season.

In my new season of preparing for marriage, I’ve found myself drawing closer to friends who are married or in long-term relationships because of the similar experiences we share. My perspective on life and the future has changed. These new and growing friendships understand and support me in this season.    

Then there are friends who are truly there for you no matter what situation you are in. They are for you, you’re friends because of the values you share. They believe in you and encourage you to go after your dreams and you do the same for them. This type of friend is true to you.

This friend is the kind of friend you will have for a lifetime.

You’ll know when you find this type of friend because they are with you in times of joy and in times of sorrow. These are the hardest to find because so few of them come into your life. It is easier to find this friend when you know your core values and beliefs, your priorities and have a clear vision of your aspirations in life.  

To fulfill your purpose in life you will need to experience all 3 types of friends: a friend for a season, a reason and a lifetime.  

I'm so grateful to have and have had a number of wonderful people in my life to call friends. Those who are still here and those who have moved one, each one of them has taught me so much about life and through our friendships I have learnt so about myself.

                                                  Natalie-Claire x 

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  1. Natalie Claire24 July 2018 at 13:42

    Thank you Dione. I'm so glad you like it :)


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