They Do Exist.

How To Be A Really Good Friend: A Tiny Story.

Editor’s Note: Everyone wants to be a really good friend, but sometimes it feels impossible. It’s a daunting task. Sometimes it feels like attempts to be a good friend go unnoticed, and that we aren’t helping because we can’t actually fix someone else’s hurts or problems. Today’s post is Anonymous. It’s beautiful. – Lauren

Photo by Branden Harvey / / Design by Lauren Dubinsky

Living in a new place was a difficult transition for me. I moved here for a job knowing basically no one.

I had lived in my previous home for my entire life, and had developed really strong relationships there. But when I moved, I was excited about the change. I figured I was following God to a new place, would make new wonderful friends, maybe meet a boyfriend, have a wonderful job, etc.

Starting your life over is much more difficult than it seemed, though. My job was good, but exhausting. I didn’t meet a boyfriend. God seemed so quiet, and more than anything, I was paralyzed with loneliness. I became closer with the casts of Gossip Girl and the Kardashians than any actual human being.

However, I did have this one remarkable friend.

I am confident I would not have been able to stay in this new place – especially during the long winter months – without her. She made me laugh, sat with me when I cried, dragged me to work out, and would even make me dinner sometimes.

One day she declared a day just as a celebration for me, and said we were going to re arrange my room so I’d have a space that was more live-able. She was so artsy and had an eye for that kind of thing, so after the transformation, my tiny bedroom in which I watched Gossip Girl was significantly more welcoming.

That’s just a little background for you, though.

That winter, in my relatively “new” town, I went on a date. I was sexually assaulted that evening.

Afterwards, I just decided it didn’t happen. I even went out with him the next day. I told myself, and the people who asked, that the date was good. I didn’t say that I was drunk, possibly drugged, unable to consent, and had a man nearly twice my size on top of me.

I had never done any of the sexual acts that I did that night. I was paralyzed with guilt. I figured that it was absolutely my fault, because I had been drinking. I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone, because a good Christian shouldn’t have been as drunk as I was. I had never felt so alone.

3 weeks later, I felt like I was imploding. I was disgusted with myself and with my body. I felt tarnished.

I asked this one friend if she would come over. Being the good friend she was, she did. We sat at my kitchen table, and I started to cry. I didn’t know how to tell her what happened, especially since I had previously told her that the date went well. But somehow, I got the words out.

Her response was possibly the most “Jesus-like” response I have ever received.

She heard my greatest shame, and just listened. She did not ask many questions, but just listened. She asked if she could rub my back, and listened. I am a messy crier, so then, she took her sleeves, and used them to wipe the snot and tears from my face. No one has ever willingly touched my snot before. I did not feel judged, I did not feel as though she did not believe me, and I did not feel alone. She wrapped her arms around me and loved me. She took me upstairs to her apartment and allowed me to sleep in her bed that night so I wasn’t alone.

I will never, ever forget her act of loving kindness to me that evening. Maybe it’s something silly, to be so immeasurably grateful to someone to using their own sleeves to wipe your tears and snot, but it truly grabbed ahold of my heart and whispered, “you are not disgusting.”

This is the difference that a good friend makes.

I am so thankful to the tangible Love that my friend was to me, and will always remember the grace she extended to me.

I know that I was so fortunate to have that friend. I know that some of you may be reading and experiencing enormous pain, or feeling abandoned or bitter if you don’t feel that you have a friend in your life. And to be completely honest, that friend is not perfect. She has also really hurt me. But we are so radically human, mistakes are inevitable. So rather than focus on the ways she has hurt me, I choose to remember the moment where she was like Jesus. He gives us these moments in our imperfect friends and humanity to be reminded of who he is.

The thing I am continually learning though, is that even if we do not have that close friend, we do still have Jesus’s promise that he will redeem us. That he has never left our side. That he knows our hearts, our heartbreak, and our shame. That he is still walking with us, even through the absolute darkest and most dangerous of valleys. And I firmly believe, that he does, and will provide us with friends to love, hold, and act out his love for us.

Do not give up on that hope.

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39 Responses

  1. scream911

    This moves deeply. Thank you.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

  2. Ore

    It’s amazing how I was just thinking about how cross I am with one of my friends who moved and barely keeps in touch now. This story just reminded me of how she’s always stuck by me and encouraged me to be myself at times when all I could think of was how not good enough I was. It’s really reminded me to be grateful for all the friends, guys and girls that have been there over the years. And it’s reminded me to be a good friend too.

    January 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

  3. kelseygoestoafrica

    Oh wow is this beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this story! It touched me deeply and made me so grateful for my best friend, who I am often tempted to get frustrated and angry with for her shortcomings. Today I'm celebrating her Christ-likeness instead! Thanks again.

    January 22, 2013 at 10:01 am

  4. Thanks for sharing, anonymous. What a beautiful picture you painted for each of us in how to be a good friend. UH and about your horrible date–it's not your fault. I hate how common these stories are and how as women the easiest thing to do is hide our shame away and believe we played a role.

    January 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

  5. margaretfeinberg

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing. I am praying for healing for you and am grateful you have a friend to sit with you in the darkness!

    January 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

  6. Stephanie


    January 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm

  7. I just want to cry reading this. SO BEAUTIFUL. God is so good to put people like this in our lives. :)

    January 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm

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  10. Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for writing this! Your story is eerily exactly like my own, it's astounding. The healing from such a traumatic experience is found through pure love like you experienced, and the source is always Christ. True friends are like lights in the darkness, and I'm so grateful you had someone to show you Love!

    There is so much pain and feelings of brokenness associated with this experience, I know. But you are giving others ( me! :) hope and courage to heal, and to know that God is perfect love!

    February 5, 2013 at 3:02 am

  11. It's always difficult to read about stories like this. However, knowing that everything will be alright is inspiring.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm

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  13. This story brought tears to my eyes. Being a good friend is SO important. Just as important as having a good friend. It makes me sad when women don't invest in other women. Everyone has a story, and everyone needs a shoulder to cry on sometimes.

    March 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

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    March 26, 2013 at 4:05 am

  20. thank you for your tiny story. And I feel I can fully understand your felling!

    March 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

  21. You are blessed to have a friend like her. There are no perfect friendships, dear. Many of us argue and had issues with our friends. But these challenges will not ruin your friendship, but strengthen it rather. Like you, I am also blessed to have a good friend. As a chiropractor, I need to be always relaxed and this friend of mine reminds me to feel like that.

    April 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm

  22. i love it then and I can be really a good friend for it. Things will get better and i can do such things too.

    April 10, 2013 at 2:59 am

  23. i can also be really a good friend and yes things will get better now and I do love it then.

    April 10, 2013 at 3:01 am

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    May 7, 2013 at 3:01 am

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    Oh wow is this beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this story! It touched me deeply and made me so grateful for my best friend, who I am often tempted to get frustrated and angry with for her shortcomings. Today I'm celebrating her Christ-likeness instead! Thanks again.
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