Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An Honest Look at Friendships

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships and relationships and I’ve come to believe there’s a difference between the two.

On Facebook, we have a long list of people that we call friends yet we probably never communicate with the vast majority of them. A few days ago, someone posted their status on my home page and I thought, “Who are they???” Then, I realized that person is one of my “friends”. Obviously, it isn’t much of a friendship since I have no idea who she is.

I believe "friend" is a word that’s been cheapened through overuse. We tend to toss that word around casually and call people friends that we hardly ever talk to. I believe the reason for that is because we have a desire to belong and to be accepted. In our introvert promoting society, we tend to look at having many friends as defining our worth. As a result, introverts are made to feel like there’s something wrong with us because we tend to have few friends.

Proverbs 18:24 says “A man of many friends may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Friendships are meant to be deep. Friendship is a heart connection between two people that can’t be broken and the connection goes both ways. I believe a true friendship is mutual with both people working to develop and maintain it.

If only one person is making the effort, the relationship is one-sided and is not a real friendship in my opinion. That’s not to say, however, that we need to end those relationships. I believe one-sided relationships can have great value since they tend to keep us other people focused rather than ME focused. However, we need to understand that there is a difference between a friendship and a one-sided relationship. This is important to know in order to avoid being hurt or hurting others.

The problem with confusing a one sided relationship with a true friendship is that we begin to have expectations of the other person that they cannot or will not fill. Instead of accepting the relationship for what it is, we struggle to make it what we want it to be and we tend to develop a needs based relationship where we want the other person to meet our needs. The result is hurt and anger as we try to manipulate the other person to fit into the box we’ve created for them.

Jesus said that friends lay down their lives for each other and Proverbs says that a friend is close, sometimes closer than family members.

True friendship can only exist with a few people. I believe it’s impossible to have that depth of friendship with a lot of people. Developing friendships require time, thought and effort and, if we try to expand our friendships to include everyone we come in contact with, the results will be superficial relationships and a lot of frustration as we fail to live up to our promises.

Relationships are important and I value those people who have passed through my life, enriched it and then continued passing through. Others, however, have stayed to develop a heart connection and these are the friendships that I treasure.

To read more about friendships, check out this post by David Backus and one of my older post.


Anonymous said...

excellent post Aida and very true, I really like the way you put it :-). For myself I have to work out my fears or be doomed to continue though life without friends and remain floating through aquaintences. Being an introvert bites sometimes.

Aida said...

Hi Ron. Very true. I'm finally coming to accept myself as an introvert and really enjoying that part of me.

Introverts don't have many friends to start with and then add to that the fact that we're not involved in a local church and it can get pretty lonely out here. True friendships are hard to find but, for this season in my life, those friendships seem to be mostly online.

You've made a lot of improvement since I met you in that regard but sometimes it just takes time to feel comfortable stepping out in relationship especially if you've been hurt. It takes time to heal but I believe you've started the process.

I'll be off this weekend and on Monday. I'll try to keep Messenger on in case you're free and can chat.

lionwoman said...

Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? - Prov. 20:6

Amen and amen, Aida. I'm blessed to have found someone like you who understands and values true friendship. Other types of relationships can have value too, as long as we recognize and accept them for what they are. I've been a bit slow to learn the difference.

Leonard said...

Hi Aida, I've been meaning to do a post about the council of true friends, if i weren't so lazy, I'd of done it by now...

Amy, me to.. Blessed and a slow learner... thanks for telling on yourself...

Ron, I got nothing to say to ya, cuz I'm getting ready to turn on messenger and yack there.... LoL

Aida said...

Thanks, Amy. I’ve also been slow and, in the past, I’ve tried to force friendships where there weren’t any. Now, I’m learning how to relax and I’m seeing God bring the friends he wants to me. That’s so much better.

Leonard, get some rest and then do that post. It sounds like it’ll be interesting when you finally get it together.

Leonard said...

You've already read it.

Aida said...

I did. Thanks again.