"Give me a Word to sustain the weary; awaken my ear to listen." - Isaiah 50:4

The What-Is and How-To of Friendships

**Just some heart reflections on the notion of Friendship**

There’s no self-preservation mode in true friendship. There’s no need to protect or defend yourself against someone who’s committed to protecting and defending you. Once you find that you’re protecting and defending, it’s best to do a self check-in to see what that’s all about. Nine out of 10 times we go into self-preservation mode because we are afraid. Fear is the biggest obstacle in friendships; it hinders trust and stifles love. The reason there’s so much defensiveness in our friendships is because we have unresolved issues and baggage that we drag into every new connection. Rarely do we take the needed time after a friendship ends to sit with ourselves and endure the painful process of assessing the damage and identifying our own contribution to it. Instead we cut the person off, assign complete blame to them, and jump head first into the next friendship. No lessons learned.

An even deeper issue is the fact that we truly may not know what true friendship is or how it should look. We loosely label as friends people we really don’t know. We base friendships on commonality and shared experiences more than on the characteristics of loyalty, truth, honesty, faithfulness, etc. There are people I share common experiences with, who are quicker to tell me what they heard about me, than to defend me in the face of the rumor. Should I continue to consider them my friends? How are we defining friendship nowadays? Maybe if we assess our definition we’d realize the reason our connections don’t last or we’d identify the pattern in our “group”.

You attract who you are. Yes it’s easy to blame others for all the “wrong” they do and for being “trifling” and “fake”. But take a moment to examine yourself. What is it about you that would attract and cause you to be attracted to “trifling” and “fake”? The truth is, the people you’ve been in relationship with says more about you than it does about them. “Statistics show that you are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with.”

As human beings capable of higher level thinking, we can be extremely self-deceptive. We can fool ourselves into thinking our actions are producing uncorrelated results. To constantly find yourself in the same unfortunate situations in your friendships, while constantly having the same complaints about all the “other party” has done…… is self-deception at its highest. “Wherever you go, there you are”, meaning you are you regardless of a change in your environment. You’re the only stable factor in your friendships and until you are willing to do some intense self-examination, you will continue to be self-deceived.

God created friendships to operate on the 1 Corinthians 13 foundation. That’s not just a scripture for weddings…… it’s for everyday life. It speaks to character traits that, when developed, will enhance all our interactions.
So ask yourself today:
-Am I patient?
-Am I kind?
-Am I envious?
-Am I arrogant and demanding?
-Do I “act out” when I don’t get what I want?
-Am I selfish? Do I seek to only (or mainly) satisfy myself?
-Am I easily provoked or ticked off?
-Do I think the negative before considering the positive?
-Am I happy when people “get caught”? Or when I’m able to “call people out” about a wrong they’ve done?
-Am I happy when the truth is revealed, however painful and inconvenient it may be? Am I willing to embrace it, however painful and inconvenient it may be?
-Am I tolerant? How much am I willing to bear/put up with?
-Am I trusting? Do I readily believe the good and positive things about my significant others? Or am I quick to believe the negative?
-Am I hopeful? Am I willing to endure some stuff for the sake of love?
-Does the love I profess to have for others (significant or not) often end? Is that a pattern in my connections?

True friendship has its roots firmly planted in love and, contrary to popular belief, love is more than a feeling….. it’s a decision to stay true to your character regardless of what the other person does. If we each asked God to work on our character (Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 13), we’d experience healthier connections, instead of the dysfunctional and maladaptive cycles we ignorantly call “friendships”.


1 Comment

  1. Frederick Thompson

    A profound exposition on “Friendship” Very insightful and worthy of contemplation.

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