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6 Ways to Deepen Your Friendships


On May 3, our nation’s top health officer, the Surgeon General, issued a report: Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation. Dr. Vivek Murthy called loneliness a public health crisis and stated that being socially disconnected is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Many responded to the report by saying that we need more friends. But is it possible that we also need deeper friendships? You can have lots of “friends” and still be lonely because your friendships have only skimmed the surface of life.

How do we deepen the friendships we already have?

Unfortunately, there’s no overnight hack for relationships. Even if you have a natural connection with another person, deeper friendships take time to develop. But there are ways to nudge your friendships to the next level. Are you ready to move past, “I’m busy” to, “I’m struggling”? From talking about schedules to talking about values? From sharing common interests to sharing a common faith?

Here are 6 ways to deepen every relationship you’re in, starting in the shallow end of the pool and moving into deeper water.

1. Find common interests.

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves that the difference between lovers and friends is that the lovers’ relationship is defined by being face to face while friends stand shoulder to shoulder pursuing common interests. If you want to go a little deeper with a friend at work, find something you both enjoy doing and then invite them to join you.

2. Invite them to your house for dinner.

People relax and open up when they eat together, but that’s especially true when you prepare them a meal in your home. Sharing a meal at your kitchen table breaks down a lot of walls.

3. Read, listen, or watch something together and then discuss it. 

Have you read a book or listened to a podcast or watched a documentary you especially enjoyed? Send it to a friend and ask them to read it so you can discuss it over dinner. The possibilities are endless and I’m sure you’ll have your favorites but if you need help getting started, here are some ideas.

4. Ask good questions. 

The best way I know to spice up a dinner conversation is to ask a spicy question. Here are some of my favorites.

  • “How much of your career and financial success do you attribute to luck and how much do you attribute to your hard work and good choices?”
  • “What was your relationship with your dad like growing up and how do you think that affected you?”
  • “If you were home alone and an intruder broke into your home, would you kill them before they killed you? How does your faith affect your decision?”
  • “When you walk into the voting booth, what are your top three priorities?”

A good question gets people thinking, talking, and even debating because it doesn’t have an obvious “right” answer.

If you want to be a better conversationalist, read The Six Conversations: Pathways to Connecting in an Age of Isolation and Incivility by Heather Holleman or listen to my conversation with her on Truth Over Tribe

5. Share something you’re excited about or struggling with.

Deeper friendships require vulnerability. You must move from the head to the heart, from ideas to feelings.

For example, my daughter and her husband recently moved ten hours away so she could start her medical residency. While I was happy for them to pursue new challenges, I was also really sad that I wouldn’t see her as often and even afraid my relationship with her would change. When I shared that with our good friends, they shared things that were weighing heavily on their hearts, too.

Friends share their hearts, listen without judgment, bear one another’s burdens, and celebrate life’s joys.

6. Pray for each other. 

Swapping prayer requests is an intimate act because it requires us to share our needs with another person. Now the only question is: How vulnerable are we willing to be?

Will we ask someone to pray that God will give us a clean bill of health from the doctor, or will we be a little more transparent and share that we haven’t been sleeping because we are scared that we might have a serious health issue? Will we ask people to pray that our high school kid will make good choices, or will we more honestly share that we’re afraid they’re walking away from their faith?

Every friendship doesn’t have to “go deep.” You don’t have to turn your hunting buddy into your therapist. But every person needs at least one deep friend (and probably more). What if you chose a few people and tried to take your relationship with them one step deeper? Don’t worry, you won’t drown.


Who do you want to grow deeper in friendship with? Invite that person to take a class with you at church. Doing this together is a great way to see each other regularly, develop common interests, and discuss what you’re learning about God, the Bible, and yourself.