About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the author of several books, including Growing Slow. She and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way...

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things we love
& you will too!
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  1. Jennifer,

    I love all these different friends and I am so thankful that God has blessed me with friends in these categories. I hope and pray that I can, in turn, be these types of friends to others?! One friend that I might add would be the “Mirror friend”. Perhaps this is an extension of the “Real” of “Been There” friend?? When Jesus met up with his friends who were mourning the death of Lazarus, Jesus wept. He did more than listen, He mirrored the pain that his friends were feeling. He literally felt their pain as His own. Good words to ponder and act upon, Jennifer!
    Blessings dear friend,
    Bev xx

  2. I love the sentiment in these types of posts but where do you start when you find yourself in a point in your life where you don’t have any friends surrounding you? I’m deep in the midst of crisis and other than my two daughters, I am alone.

    • I pray. I have had a mega life problem and when I told my very best friend..she walked out of my life. not because the problem was bad or anything. she simply loves to have everything perfect and didn’t want to hear my problem.
      so I pray..i sit..i wait on the Lord. May sound cliche but it works to soothe us..to add clarity to our problems and to feel him near by. May he be with you …hes only a shout away.

    • Kristy, I certainly empathize with you, and I know that many women resonate with what you are saying here. Even in non-crisis times, women are experiencing a lot of loneliness. And then, that ache is intensified in times of crisis. Might I suggest that you begin with finding someone in the Mentor category. If I may, I think this will be critical for your long-term healing. This mentor might not be an actual friend that you currently have. It may be a counselor, a pastor, a spiritual director, or a support group. Praying for you, Kristy. You deserve people in your life, and you need them now.

    • Kristy,
      I’ve had points in my life in which all my friends were gone or emotionally unavailable. When my husband left and my dad passed away, I felt SO alone. Looking back, I can see purpose in this because, like Krissy said, I had to rely solely on God – there was no one else to go to. When we can’t look around and see friendly or compassionate faces, we are forced to look up…to the Lord. I know I wouldn’t have the faith that I do now had I not been kind of forced to be alone with God. I learned that even though the rest of the world will forsake us at one time or another, God is the One person who will ALWAYS be there. Lifting you in prayer, right now. He longs to draw close to you.
      Bev xx

  3. This is very timely! I have an extended family member who is going through a very tough year and she is making it very , very hard on the immediate family with the way she is handling herself. I have prayed about this extensively and have tried talking with her a couple of times. She is an extended pity party and the family is just starting to give up on her. She inherited a medium size inheritance and has almost blown through it so she’s starting to whine for money from them now. She is going from doctor to doctor trying to find a diagnosis for all her pain and they are telling her they can find nothing wrong and she just gets more and more angry with everyone and God because she states she can no longer live this way. We don’t know what to do other than pray for her! I suggested maybe she talk with someone and won’t repeat the reply. Please pray for Lori, know it’s in His hands and pray every day for her. I have left it at the Cross and pray that the seed sown will find some fertile soil. The family have stopped going to see her and are ignoring her calls. She’s pretty much burned her bridges. Her kids are not speaking to her at all.

    • Oh Linda! What a painful situation for her, and for all of you who have tried to be the kind of support that she truly needs. While I hope and pray that we all can fit into one of the four categories above for people in pain, I certainly don’t agree that anyone should be used or mistreated in the process. I wish I had the answers for you all. I CAN pray. …. And I just did that, right now. xo

  4. Recently, I was grateful for a friend who listened to me as I explained why I was overwhelmed and couldn’t possible do everything I needed to do, and who then proceeded to tell me that I COULD do it, that I had handled big loads in the past, and that God would be under this one with me as well. To be honest, that was NOT what I was looking for at the time. Actually, I was in the market for a pity party friend who would tell me how over-loaded and under-appreciated I am. But what I really NEEDED was a truth-telling friend, and somehow she knew that.
    Very Grateful.

    • What a treasure of a friend! You’ve clearly built a relationship of trust, over time, where your friend could see something in you that perhaps you couldn’t see, where she knew that she could speak truth over you even if it isn’t what you wanted to hear, and where you could receive it with an open heart. I love this!

  5. On Monday our family laid to rest our sweet precious 90 yr old Dad. While we are heartbroken, we know he is with Jesus and we rejoice in knowing he is eternally with his Lord and Savior!!!!
    I will lean on my friends in the days ahead as I am blessed to have friends in all the categories you talked about. Thank you for a most timely post. ❤️

    • Joan,
      I know the pain of losing a loving dad. Praying that God would draw close and comfort you in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Praying that friends would be there for you in the ways you need them most.
      Gentle ((hugs)),

      I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. (John 14:18)

    • Joan,

      The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18. So sorry for the loss of your beloved father. I have laid both parents to rest in the arms of God. It isn’t easy. May you all feel God near to you at this time. Rest in the knowledge that he is with Jesus. I’m praying for all as you grieve this loss.

      Blessings 🙂

  6. One Friend you should try and be one that your friends can trust. So as when they tell you something if it a problem or something they want you to keep to yourself you will. Or they or worried about something and don’t want anyone else to know. You can be trusted too keep it to yourself. If they ask you pray for them you will. By praying to God and asking him what to do next to help your friend and His Holy Spirit will let you know what to do next. Then God will tell you through the Holy Spirit if they need Christian Councling. If you can’t as friend help them. If it a problem that need other help. But always as friend let them know you are there for them and you will keep all between yourself and God all that they have told you. As the friend telling you the problem has really trust you enough to tell it too you. Until they get the help ask them can you pray with. This is being a good friend to your friend in need. This is one type of friend we can be with Jesus help to our friends in need. Jesus was a good listner. Plus he prayed with people. He cared for them. Was a good friend to them as well. We can do the same. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx

    • Dawn, You are absolutely right. And that characteristic of trustworthiness ought to be present in all four of the categories that I presented today. Thanks for sharing your insights with us today.

  7. This is strong, safe, solid advice. I’m sorry your friend has been hurt. Our greatest hurts will always be our greatest place of ministry… And friendship.

    You are a good friend to her and a good mentor to many. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord.

  8. I am so blessed because I have a friend that fits into all four categories which is so amazing. I met her here on this blog. You all know her and each day we are so blessed to read her insightful comments. It’s precious Bev! What a dear friend she is. Bev is the real deal.

    • Bev is a dear soul! She is such a treasure to all of us here in the (in)courage community. She is often the first one to comment, and quite often is encouraging our team of writers, even as we reach out to encourage others. She is such a gift! Thanks, Kathleen!

    • Kath,
      I count you among my greatest blessings!! You are an awesome listener and you make me laugh when I need a good laugh. You, too, are the real deal, my friend!! Thank you (in)courage for bringing us together….you are making a difference!
      Bev xo

      ps. If I could bring you a giant bag of Cheetos I would. I hear they are great post-surgery therapy 😉

  9. Jennifer, when I started reading this, I was a bit fearful. I don’t think of myself as someone who has gobs of friends. But as I read through the qualities in the categories, internally I nodded. Yes, I have friends for each. They might all be busy people, but they are enough. They provide enough of what I need, when I desperately need it. And I try to be there for them. I try to figure out what they need from me and try to provide that. Just that.

    • Hi, Irene. I knew, in writing this, that it was a little risky. Because we might think to ourselves, “But I don’t have four friends in even my non-crisis times!” I think that’s why it is so, so, so important to nurture the relationships we have, and to BE these people during our non-crisis times, knowing that the tables will turn and we will need these people to be there for us as well. I know from experience how hard it is to seek out friendships and strong relationships with others. But it’s worth the work. God calls us to live in community and carry each others’ burdens. Grateful for you sharing today, Irene.

  10. I think the most important friend you must need to be is the “constant &faithful friend”. I’ve walked through some very challenging circumstances in my marriage. Sharing with other Christian women brought it out in the open but then immediately I was forgotten and left to navigate the pain on my own. This shouldn’t be! Friends if you are going to step into another woman’s reality you need to stay faithful. Offering to pray is great but keep checking in on that dear one in crisis. No doubt, this WILL take sacrifice (time, money, emotional investment) on your part but Christ will honour your faithfulness and will help you grow through the journey as well. There is nothing worse than being abandoned by a friend early in your struggle. If you can’t go the distance it might be better if you step back and let another Sister in Christ meet the needs for the long term. With Christ’s help we can do all things. I give Him all the glory.

    • Bonnie,
      Great point! I don’t want to be a friend that is only good for the “short sprint”. I had a long drawn out divorce and there were only a couple close friends that were there for the duration. We all need to be able to sacrifice something in order to be a good friend. Your words have challenged me…
      Bev xx

  11. This is great and true! I recently experienced what I consider a crisis and immediately knew who I could share with, those people filling each of these categories (one of them fills 2 caegories).
    Thanks for the confirmation.

  12. Jennifer,

    God said we would have trials/tribulations down here. He commands us to be in community for just that reason. We were meant to carry each other’s burdens. I have a friend from church. We got really close in 2014 when we both started dealing with aging parents. We were able to lift each other up i prayer & via phones & texts. I fed her/family several times that year & when my dad died she brought food over that day. That common bond that brought us closer together. Now when people face aging parent troubles I am ready with advice, if needed. Mostly I listen with an understanding ear. Everyone goes through trials differently. It takes a variety of people to help get you through. I, myself, try to be each of these to people. Never shying away from hearing their problems. We all need someone to talk now & then. Empathy/encouragement is my talent. I sit & listen not giving advice. Most times they just want to get stuff off their chest.

    Blessings 🙂

  13. This may be the mentor, but someone who will tell you what will happen if you do not follow the right path. For me, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, now four years ago, it took both a pastor and a doctor to tell me what I needed to hear.

    I was so afraid of the treatment prescribed: chemo, surgery, radiation, that I was willing to just die. My pastor said, “Even if the treatment is painful, if it has a chance of success, you need to do it.” So, I went to a second doctor, who was both kind enough and brave enough to tell me how the disease would progress and eventually end in death, if I did not follow through with treatment.

    Therefore, I went through with all but two weeks of the treatment prescribed. As of now, the only remaining symptom is a slightly elevated blood count. No other evidence of disease! Praise God!

    So, I am glad that I followed through with treatment, fatiguing though it was, and with still some lingering side effects.

    I had friends around me, and they made a big difference.

  14. I’m blessed with most of those. The one I don’t have is “been there.” I’m going through a private grief that just isn’t talked about in the church, at all. And it involves someone else’s story, so privacy is crucial. There may be others out there, but we’re all hiding out, so we can’t find each other.

    I am thankful for the friends I do have, though, and I appreciate your putting this into words. It’s also good to recognize that one friend doesn’t have to be all these things!

  15. This is exactly what I need right now. As my husband is suffering from mental illness, almost took his life earlier this week, and is now home from work and all activities but rest until the first of next year in order to focus on “getting better”.
    I know who most of my friends are in each of the categories above.
    The only one I would add is the “Get Things Done” friend. That’s me when my friends experience crises.
    And that’s who I need right now in the middle of my own crisis.
    The friend who offers a meal, or a little light housework, or a period of time to myself in some way.
    Some form of “acts of service” that says, “I love you. I can’t help you with that, but let me do this for you.”

  16. i love these 4 friends jennifer. very true! we need all of them! also have learned (the hard way) that we have to take responsibility to ask for help. often we may seem to be doing fine. our friends don’t know we are struggling if we don’t let them know we are and where we are struggling. that is the benefit of sitting down and thinking it through, maybe even journaling on it…or making a list of the ways we need help. it isn’t being weak to ask for help. it is being wise.