Photo Credit: OiMax via Creative Commons

[dropcaps style= ‘square’]I[/dropcaps] was sitting across the table from a friend talking about friendship and how 50% of friendship is just showing up. While the percentage could be debatable, being present in friendship is so valuable. I sat my cup of tea down on the table, pondering the value of showing up – the value of having space in your life for people. While showing up doesn’t guarantee trust, we can’t  build community in our lives without starting with our presence.


Furthermore, the premise that we have to show up with our authentic self is intimidating. Most people want meaningful relationships in their life; however, we can want them without the work. Sometimes we think the work involves the other person: calling them on the phone, getting together, or spending time with them. Part of the work is our ability to let them into our lives by creating space for them.

Online Friends

In a world where our Facebook friends or Instagram followers can rank in the thousands, we can feel like we are one in a sea of many people. The persona of a person online is usually quite different than their everyday, normal routine that makes up 90% of their life. We view people through a lens of 10% of their life that gets vetted and finds its way onto the Internet. Yet, the things that we don’t see are the things that connect people’s hearts. We don’t always see the struggle to find a job, the strain to overcome a loss in the family, the pain of a heartbreak, or the struggle through the emotional aftermath of hard circumstances. However, sitting across from someone over a cup of coffee doesn’t guarantee that we see that part of people’s story either.


Building trust takes time. It takes time to unveil the secret things of the heart. It allows people to be authentic and vulnerable. It displays the hurts and the celebrations and the secret dreams. God created us for relationship that extends back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He also created us for relationship with Himself and never intended for us to do life alone. The burdens are lighter when shared with a friend. The joys are greater when celebrated with a friend.


Being Known 


So how do we get from just knowing about someone to really knowing that person?


Space. Time. Trust.


People need to feel like there is space in your life for them. If we are always busy running from one thing to the next, there won’t be room for them. We all have friends who will spill their life at the drop of a hat. Yet, the more I learn about people and about myself, the person with fears and dreams is underneath it all. It takes time to learn the other person and for trust to develop. In the context of friendships and even marriage, two people are learning about each other for years. Time doesn’t always equal trust, but it can help it grow if we invest and nurture it. Many times people want to know that we are going to be there on the other side of their story, that their imperfections, disappointments, or failures don’t disqualify them from our friendship.  The heart of a person is not found in their job title or facts and figures. If this is all we know about our friends, then we will come to find out that we know very little about them.



While it would be impossible to have that type of relationship with everyone, there should be a handful of people in our lives that know us. I don’t think anyone is born as an expert on friendship or relationships. We are all wading through the murky waters of being known in a world that values perfection and independence. Sometimes it is simply one moment, story, or experience that begins to bind hearts together in friendship. Everyone has a story, and if you don’t think someone does, then you likely just haven’t heard it yet. Hearing about someone’s struggle with their family, overcoming a health difficulty, or navigating a broken relationship reminds us that we are not alone. It can be scary and intimidating, but we will never truly experience the gifts of community without letting people share in our story.


The Gift


Maybe there is someone in your life to whom you need to give the gift of space, time, and trust. If we have courage to let people know us, we may just experience the community in which we long to participate. I hope we have the courage to reach out and participate in people’s lives by being present and willing to be known. My hope is that the walls that we have built to protect ourselves would force us to kneel at the foot of the cross and find acceptance, peace, and restoration through our relationship with Jesus. Looking to people to find healing will only leave us searching for more. Only Jesus can heal our hearts. But, there is something truly nourishing to the soul to find friends who give space and time to develop trust and meaningful relationships.  


Some may walk away from the opportunity. However, if you embrace the opportunity, you may be surprised to find yourself sitting in your living room some evening with a dear friend, drinking a cup of tea, and listening to their story that is changing your story in the process. 


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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.




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