Are We (still) Friends?
Updated: Oct 11
I once heard someone say, "Friends are God's way of apologizing for family." Seemed like a funny thing at the time, but I have definitely come to realize the truth in that statement. I call the people in my bloodline relatives. My friends are family.
I recently posted a video with the same title as this blog. In it I discuss my thoughts on the different layers of friendship I've experienced over the years. My disclaimer stands: I am not anywhere near close to perfect in the area of relationships. In fact, I just figured out in the last year that I had ridiculously unrealistic boundaries and expectations in place. After some emotional healing and maturity, as well as practicing a bit of self-awareness, I'm able to see a clearer picture.
Trees are the best analogy - Acquaintances (leaves): plentiful; around in certain seasons; move in whatever direction the wind blows; add external beauty; easy acceptance - Close acquaintances or casual friendships (high/shallow branches): more affirmation and some degree of vulnerability about certain subjects; typically the stage where people share too deep too fast; depth is lacking (a majority of friendships rarely go past this stage) - Friends (closer to the bark/lower branches): accountability and support come into play; some degree of depth, but varying degrees of transparency - Close friends (roots above ground): deepening sense of accountability and responsibility; more transparency and some level of intimacy (meaning fondness of heart, not romance) - Best friends (deep roots): nurturing, caring stage; full vulnerability and transparency; mutual pursuit of quality time; working towards the same goals; doing life together at the highest level of commitment and trust
Don't go around labeling everyone The above definitions are not meant to serve as rigid categories or labels. Acquaintances can become friends and close friends can become casual at any time. The purpose of the tree analogy is to offer some insight on how to conduct ourselves in the presence of relationships. We need to be emotionally, socially, and spiritually wise about when, how much, and with whom we share the deep things of life. Friendships are meant to grow over time and in time.
For years I've made the mistake of trying to pull acquaintances and casual friends into levels of closeness that neither I nor the other person were capable of sustaining. The lack of vulnerability on both our parts prohibited the relationships from developing any roots. Many people have just stopped calling or responding and I'm even guilty of pushing some people away. Relationships take work so we have to be in the right mindset and on the same page as the person we're spending time with. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend (Prov. 27:17).
To anyone who has walked out of my life We crossed paths at a time when I was not ready to be vulnerable or transparent and I was dealing with some personal issues that I failed to disclose. Consequently, this was at the same time you were not able or willing to make the sacrifice of sticking with someone through hard times. Perhaps there is a future moment when we can try again. Hopefully, there has been growth in your life and I pray all is well with you.