This post was written by Dru McIlhenny. Dru is the co-founder of Go Rings, a jewelry company that helps fund gospel-centered missions. She lives in Austin, TX, where everything is weird (except Dru). 

During my time as a Charlotte Fellow, every Monday we gathered at Matt Avery’s house for Fellows Life Together — FLT. From the beginning, it quickly became one of my favorite parts of the program. We would pair off, cook dinner for each other, laugh, and catch up. But we also shared real issues we were facing and prayed for each other. I loved FLT because it felt so authentic, and quite honestly, it gave me an excuse to spend more time with people who were quickly becoming some of my best friends. What I didn’t know was that FLT was raising my standard and instilling a precedent for every community that followed. Here are a few things that stuck with me about making friends since my time as a Charlotte Fellow.

Be Real

I loved that every Monday we would go around in a circle and basically answer the question, “What’s going on?” We could have been shallow or dishonest and said everything was fine, but instead everyone chose to be real. We let each other in on struggles we were having with our internships, host families, or relationships. We celebrated engagements, job offers, and other big life decisions. I remember laughing, crying, celebrating, mourning, confessing and repenting at different points throughout the year. Being honest about life is something I will forever value in friendships because of the authenticity I experienced in FLT.

Be Consistent

Hebrews 10:25 says “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We all showed up every week. Granted, we didn’t have much of a choice, but the practice of showing up on a weekly basis was vital to growing deeper with my Fellows class. The consistency created an environment where I felt cared about and free to share. I felt so loved when someone followed up about something I shared the week before. True community means being consistently invested. It’s getting to know people like you’re going to know them the rest of your life.

Pray for Your Friends

I will always remember one FLT where we spent the entire hour in prayer. It felt raw and vulnerable, but I came out the other side closer to my friends. It is a beautiful thing to pray for your friends. Our unity with them is strengthened and our view of self is lessened. This is why Jesus, when asked what the greatest commandment was, included “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

A year ago I moved to Austin, TX—closer to home but a new city nonetheless. With this comes the challenge of meeting new people and finding community. I am so thankful I got to experience a community like the Fellows my first year out of college. I truly believe it shifted the trajectory of how I make friends as an adult.