We Need to Rediscover the Power of Friendship. Here’s How to Do it

The research is startling. Friendship has been proven to boost our immune system, decrease anxiety and depression, increase our lifespan, and be a buffer against addictions, prejudice and extremism. And yet rates of it are declining in western countries. Why? In this keynote talk for Christian Schools Trust‘s recent conference, I unpack some of the reasons and highlight some of the solutions. While the session is focussed on professional educators, the content applies to all of us. You’ll hear:

  • What friendship is (and isn’t)
  • The two forces pushing friendship to the sidelines in both culture and church
  • Why Christian workers can have impoverished friendship circles
  • Two convictions that can transform the friendship problem
  • The six stages of friendship formation

My goal in this session is to re-convert us to this forgotten love, lift it up as a sacred calling and re-prioritise it in our lives. Towards the end I’ll lead you in a prayerful exercise to think about your current friendships. I’d love to know your insights too in the comments.

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Comments:

  • November 12, 2021
    Pamela Campbell Bickford

    Hi Sheridan,
    Thank you for this wonderfully inspiring talk on friendship. I commit to setting up a time for coffee with a friend that I haven’t seen or talked to for awhile, and emailing another friend that I need to reconnect with in another state. I am very grateful for my sister friend with whom we can share each others burdens and encourage one another in ur spiritual growth on a weekly basis. I have two other sister friends that are far away, but when we text orphan we are able to be in friendship of shared spiritual richness and commradery.

    May god continue to bless your ministry and I look forward to your new book on friendship!

    reply
    • November 16, 2021
      Sheridan Voysey

      Excellent steps forward Pamela, and by committing tp do them publicly here you’re much more likely to follow through! May your efforts result in friendships formed and strengthened.

      reply
  • November 15, 2021
    Jeff Nagle

    Hey Sheridan,
    This matters!
    Here’s a half formed thought. I THINK… filial love pre-supposes agape. I’m imagining this from a Trinitarian perspective, where each member of the Trinity functions from an eternal and exhaustive self-givenness for the other. It is the reciprocity and mutuality of this agape love that establishes the filial love of Trinity. This raises another question then. Is filial love possible without the agape love of each friend for the other? Is filial love possible otherwise?
    Love it… keep going!
    Jeff

    reply
    • November 16, 2021
      Sheridan Voysey

      Ooh this good, Jeff. You’ve got me thinking. While agape can operate without philia (eg. non-reciprocated, non-mutual love of enemies), philia couldn’t work without agape. The two are definitely intertwined there.

      You know I’ll be awake all night thinking about this now, right? 🙂

      reply
  • November 16, 2021
    Melaine Ann

    Thank you so very much for your message on friendship. Your insightful lesson taught me the difference between kinds of friends! Most specifically, that Philia friends need to be mutually supportive and enjoyable. This is a very poignant lesson I need at this very time of life. God bless you!

    reply
    • November 16, 2021
      Sheridan Voysey

      Glad it was helpful, Melaine! Thanks for the feedack.

      reply
  • November 28, 2021
    Anne Sparks

    Thank you for these thoughts. My husband has been ordained for the past 25 years and we have really struggled with finding time for extended family and friends. We have some very valued friends but have given up precious friendships every time we have left one church and moved to another. I look forward to hearing what you have to say about Church Leaders

    reply

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