Twenty years ago, I had just relocated from my homeland in the North of England to Warwickshire. I had a crazy itinerant life and a young child in tow and suddenly realised I had no friends and needed to get some.

This was brand new territory for me. I didn’t know anyone and I couldn’t see how to quickly build friendships. A few other things happened that caused the little time I did have to get squeezed, to the point where building meaningful friendships, though desirable, seemed impossible. Whenever I did see a neighbour on the street, I was always in a rush. I had gone from lots of friends to no friends at all!

Fast forward nearly 20 years later and I am now thriving on having so many fantastic friends in my town.

So what changed?


The Lord really spoke to me through John 4 and the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. It’s a story that shows us the importance of reaching out, in which Jesus took the time to acknowledge this woman, inquire of her and speak with her. It’s become a life passage for me.

So, allow me to share five simple ways to apply it to our social lives:

1. Pause, and be present. My attention was grabbed by the fact that in Jesus’ weakness – He was tired, hungry, and thirsty – He sat down”. Do you feel a bit tired from the journey of life? Does the thought of doing more make you feel pressurised? Well maybe you need to do less, not more. I began to create what I called John 4 mornings where, tired as I was from the journey of life, I would just take some time out. I would walk with my daughter in her pushchair and just stop. I would do the same every day and at the same time – and guess what? I met the same people and some relationships started to form. I found that before long, I had broken the default of rushing around.

2. Let others help. So often as Christians we end up being the ones who give. Interesting here that before Jesus did anything for the woman, He asked her to do something for Him. He asked for a drink. Real relationships are formed when we let people do things for us as, well as we for them.

3. Meaningful conversations build meaningful relationships. If we spend quality time with people, we will have quality conversations, which will build quality relationships. Are there any of your current relationships that need to go next level in terms of depth?

4. Set out to converse, not to convert. There is a danger for Christians that our desire to share our faith with people can become the main aim of any relational build. Now, I am an evangelist and love to tell people about my faith one-to-one, but let’s make sure we are building quality relational bridges in our friendships over which our words can travel. Words said at the right time have greater impact than the same words said at the wrong time.

5. Introduce your friends to other friends. Don’t let your friends be unconnected, stand-alone relationships. A real shame in the church is that our non-Christian friends and our Christian friends become separate communities. I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want that separation and so I just have friends! What can you do to connect your two spheres of friendships together?

My prayer for me, you, and the church…

Dear God, would you give us a greater thrill of people than we have ever had. Would you help me to build greater relationships with those I already know. Would you help me establish new relationships, being a best friend to many people who don’t know you. Amen.