11 super-practical ways to encourage a girlfriend today
Encouraging a friend isn’t a natural reflex, like the way your knee jerks when your doctor taps your leg with that tiny hammer.
If someone deserves praise for the way they handled something, or if they’re facing a tough choice or an everyday struggle, encouragement doesn’t always kick in automatically for many of us.
Encouragement is more like a muscle we need to work out or a skill we need to build. What is natural is thinking only about ourselves.
We can all use encouragement — daily! Good friends learn to give it in different ways to different people at different times. The value of knowing someone’s love languages applies to friendships, too!
Try some of these ideas for encouragement, and build up a girlfriend today!
1. Use words
Whether you talk to someone face-to-face, break off a phone call, send snail mail, or simply tap out a text, your words can make a huge difference. God spoke the world into existence, and the Bible is clear about the power of words. Sharing life-giving words not only feels good — for you and the other person — but they’re also like food for the soul.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21).
2. Show up! Show up! Show up!
Attend the daughter’s wedding, the grandpa’s funeral, or the dinner party at the house. Give the gift of presence. Friends show up!
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Don’t just let your gal pal borrow something. Go first and suggest she wear your little black dress or use your car while hers is in the shop. Be extravagant, with no strings attached.
“Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14).
4. Buy a gift
Gifts don’t have to be big or expensive to be meaningful. Just pick up that “little something” to show you noticed her socks had holes or that her favorite verse would go great on canvas for her wall. Be “extra!” because, in Christ, we are made to reflect a God who does “exceedingly-abundantly more” (Ephesians 3:20).
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
5. Make “girl time”
Don’t sit around binge-watching “Friends,” lamenting that you’re home alone. Take the initiative and invite some girlfriends out for dessert. If they don’t respond, keep trying. Don’t let yourself give up or get discouraged if they turn you down a few times or if it doesn’t grow quickly into a deeper friendship. Encourage yourself by encouraging another with some time out.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
6. Doing > offering
Try this: “I’m bringing you dinner this week. Which day works best for you?” Not this: “Let me know if you need anything.” Real friends know what we need before we ask.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17).
7. Have her back
In life's foxholes, when arrows are flying, we need someone to cover our back. Be the friend who absolutely will not hear anything even slightly derogatory about her friend without defending her. If anything that is said changes the way we think or feel about our girlfriend, stop the conversation or turn the negative to positive.
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12-13).
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8. Be truthful in love
Love the friend more than the relationship. We cannot encourage each other without honesty, and sometimes the truth hurts. True love is about receiving what we need to hear, not just what we want to hear.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6).
9. Celebrate her!
Build up your sisters in front of others. Be a friend who isn’t afraid or intimidated by others’ successes. Be on the front row, cheering her on as she crosses the finish line, or the one throwing the party when she gets the promotion. Her success doesn’t diminish yours. Celebrate her! Friends push each other forward rather than hold each other back.
“...It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
10. Remind her of who she is.
When the world tries to steal her joy, be the one who points out who she is in Christ. When she feels rejected, afraid, or useless, be the voice to remind her that she is greatly loved by God; that her value and purpose makes a difference to others; that she has unique gifts, skills, and talents.
“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Psalms 139:15).
11. Pray over her
Nothing is more powerful than praying over a sister. When you seek the Lord on behalf of a friend, it’s like a shot of adrenaline to her soul. By agreeing in faith for what she needs — and for what only God is able to do — you’ll create deep, unexplainable healing and blessing. Seeking God’s favor on behalf of another is the greatest gift we can give!
“... The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).