With 30 years of friendship behind them, Christian comedians Tommy Woodard and Eddie James, widely known as “The Skit Guys,” shared three main essentials and tips for achieving lasting “godly” friendships.
Woodard and James' antics can be seen on their SkitGuys website, where fans can read their blogs, listen to their podcast and watch their popular skits on everything from Christmas to Vacation Bible School.
The duo released a book on Aug. 17 titled, Smells Like Bacon: The Skit Guys Guide to Lifelong Friendships, which teaches readers how to form long-lasting friendships and highlights the importance and benefits of friendship while bringing humor to the topic.
Together, the two came up with three things that are essential for a friendship to last: time, trust and transparency.
Woodard and James agree that the first “T,” which is time, means that to maintain a long-lasting friendship, people must go through a process, which takes time in order to become familiar with one another to discover what they like about one another.
The second “T,” trust, they said, is essential to take any relationship beyond a mere acquaintance. And the final “T,” is transparency, which they explained will only feel safe if there's time and trust already established in a friendship.
“Godly friendships are huge as far as growth as a human being. … You have to know the other person has your back, no matter what,” James told The Christian Post. “It's not just about telling each other deep and dark secrets; it's also about being who you really are and being vulnerable."
“All the years that we've been on the road doing live shows, the thing we hear the most are questions about our friendship since high school. … It takes work and sacrifice of time and energy to be a good friend to someone,” Woodard added. “We like to say that we're not the funniest guys, we're not the best actors, we're just a couple of best friends who do skits, and people seem to want to be part of our friendship.”
The longtime comrades said another secret to how they've maintained a decades-long friendship is by letting the Bible serve as a guide on how they approach “godly” relationships, and that prevented an abrupt end to their bond.
James said that Hebrews 10:24 can serve as a reminder of the importance of "spurring" each other on through encouragement, but also by challenging one another with "love and good deeds" to be better than they were the day before. Friends should strive to “grow in Christ” alongside one another by focusing on each other and not primarily on themselves, he added.
“The facets of two people who are trying to grow in Christ takes the focus off ‘What is this friend doing for me 24/7?’ and instead makes us think, ‘If this friend is a gift from God, I want to be responsible with that person,’” James emphasized. “These types of relationships make us better — ‘spur us on.’”
Woodard said he found that Jesus demonstrated an example of “true friendship” during His ministry, in relationship with His disciples, that can serve as a model of “godly friendship.”
“Aside from loving, caring for and listening to the disciples, He took time for one-on-one encounters, as we see in the story with Nicodemus in John 3:1-21. Jesus welcomed interruptions. We could all learn to do that better,” Woodard said.
“For example, on His way to heal Jairus' daughter, in the story in Mark 5, Jesus stopped when a woman touched His robe. The disciples were probably frustrated that He stopped since they knew the importance of healing the young girl. But Jesus took the time to stop and talk with the woman and, of course, heal her. In so many of the stories in the Gospels, we see that Jesus noticed people. He saw needs and did what He could to meet them. He listened to people's struggles and responded with compassion and concern,” Woodard continued.
While they're known for their camaraderie, the men have encountered ups and downs over the years and times when they weren't striving as hard to hold each other to higher standards.
“There have been times when we've been unhealthy for each other, like when we would finish a gig and then order two pizzas and two 2-liter sodas and each eat an entire pizza,” James recounted. “But we've always strived to make sure our friendship has been healthy.”
Healthy friendships, they said, involve active listening and caring about what the other one says. Through the years, they've owned up to their own downfalls and forgave one another, celebrated each other's successes and never left the other behind. They've also strived to point one another to Jesus.
“If people find themselves in a friendship where any of those things is missing, it might be worth looking a little closer at the relationship and see if there's something that can be done to improve the friendship,” James said, with Woodard sharing his agreement.
Woodard and James said they both hope that people will be changed and uplifted after reading their book, Smells Like Bacon: The Skit Guys Guide to Lifelong Friendships.
“We figured that after 30 plus years as friends, we might have a few nuggets of wisdom or bacon bits, if you will, to help other people find and be good friends, so we wrote Smells Like Bacon, Woodard explained.
“We hope people laugh while reading it and that was a new challenge for us, to be funny on a printed page, as opposed to on stage or on video,” James concluded. “We also hope that people get inspired to dig deeper into the friendships they already have, or to start building friendships that will last a lifetime.”