For a long time, I had a very closed view on the topic.
I didn’t know your spouse should be your very good friend if not your best friend. Didn’t think you could be friends with your parents , siblings, aunts, uncles or your boss. But who was I kidding? God is our Father and calls us into a friendship with him………I was of the view too that some relationships were etched in stone and cement- that’s true but only for the one between us and God through Jesus. Paul said it aptly, at Romans 8 v 35-39. Now that I am enlightened, I thus do my best not to sacrifice my friendships on the altar of expediency, pride or complacency.
I have been blessed with some great friendships- I won’t go as far as to say I don’t deserve them (I may not) but I believe I do, because I make a great friend too. I will add this caveat however, I may not be the most friendly person you ever meet. My mom has many friends and they have been friends for many moons now. She doesn’t lose her friends, only to death and migration as far as I can see. I think I inherited that condition from her, if that’s at all possible. Only difference is I have way more male friends than her. But I may be compensating for the friendship I wish I had with my dad.
My journey has taught me that friendship is about giving, giving, giving. Giving of your love and support, giving advice, giving your time, giving your ears, giving of your favourite things……especially when you don’t feel like doing it. And for me, real giving is not about sharing what I don’t want, or for what I can get in return. I use 2 Corinthians 9 v 7 as my giving guide. I once heard Oprah say this, “if it isn’t right, your whole body feels it”. Friendship is about that, and intuition and also freedom; each person must have wings to fly and we can’t fly if our wings are too heavy. I need friends but I have lost some friends too, we all do along the way. De-cluttering is not just about cleaning out our closets ………
My friendships and the decisions I make regarding same, are supposed to honour me and the other party. If I am to compromise, I must do so willingly and lovingly………Of course, you may at times disappoint and annoy each other, but there should be enough empathy between friends to ensure that in those times you can talk about the issues TO each other and not around or above each other. Gossiping is inimical to a friendship, so too silence; although at times silence is golden.
Friendships may be diverse. I share different political views, religious affiliation, socio-economic background, generational gap, ethnicity and educational achievement with my friends. I learn from them and they from me. But I must confess, I avoid discussing religion and politics with friends who share opposing views. Oh I get too riled up about that and I really really can become the worst of myself.
Each friendship serves a different purpose and strike varying chords but each is special and important to me. I don’t have a best friend (actually I think I do, but there is a non-disclosure clause), I have many great friends. Most of my exotic experiences have been courtesy of friends and I treasure them for a lifetime. Most of my challenging experiences have been due to friendships too….I didn’t welcome them but I am grateful for them. I know for sure my life is on this trajectory because of the friends I chose, or who chose me. I give credit to the Giver of friendships for giving me just who I needed at the right times. Reminds me of Psalms 32 v 8….
There are four horsemen of the apocalypse for friendship (these are taken from the four horsemen of the apocalypse for Marriage by Dr. Gottman). Contempt, Defensiveness, Criticism and Stonewalling. That said, I believe each friendship has an unwritten contract and it’s each person’s job to know what the terms and conditions are. Once you do, then respect them.