Updated: Feb 15, 2020
This past weekend, I was in a situation with two other grown women that made me wonder if I was accidentally catapulted back to the eighth grade. And while I was pondering whether or not I was going to buy a trapper keeper or just carry on with my life, I decided to ponder some thoughts about friendship. These thoughts may or may not have been inspired by the aforementioned trapper-keeper buying spree temptation.
Without further ado.. my thoughts about building, keeping and enjoying friendships on various levels.
1) We do not own anyone.
If someone is friends with us, it does not mean that we can use this intimacy to control who they are friends or not friends with. The minute someone tries to “own” my loyalty, I immediately back off. I don’t want that kind of bondage. We can empathize with their hurts or struggles. We might even feel a righteous indignation at times, but we don’t need to act on this.
2) Shared vulnerability takes time.
So many people have been hurt by others, that they will often want to wait a long time before forming intimate bonds with others. We need to respect that timing and not force it. We’ve all been hurt. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. The ability to be vulnerable and share your heart is a choice you make or choose not to make, depending on your circumstances.
3) Truly rejoice in others’ successes.
Jealousy and envy destroy intimate bonds. If a friend is sharing a success with you, they believe in you enough to trust that you will be happy with them. They aren’t doing it to get a one-up-man-ship on you. Or if they are, let them have all of that glory by themselves and find other friends. But true friends rejoice together over things. Be secure enough in yourself to come away from your situation to rejoice with others. It’s a happy thing. Try it. You’ll like it.
4) Good friends love and invite others into friendships.
Yes, we do need “special friends” in which to share our intimate struggles with, but we also need to be secure enough to do group things and invite others into that little world once in a while. It’s O.K. to share. Having friends who share their friends makes life so much richer. I love connecting two friends who haven’t met yet but have similar interests! So far, no one has dropped my friendship because I have connected two other people who didn’t know each other before. If anything, it has made me closer to the two that I just connected. Go figure.
5) Some friendships are seasonal.
Sometimes you meet someone through your kids being in sports or school together and the only time you see them is at that event. I used to wonder if that was O.K. I’ve come to realize that that is perfectly normal and healthy. Not every friendship is going to result in a long-drawn out intimate thing. They are just your “basketball friends” or your “step aerobic friends” or whatever. And when you see them at Woodmans or the dentist’s office, you reconnect and laugh and catch up. And sometimes those more shallow friendships develop into something more, and sometimes they don’t. Don’t force it; just go with it. Just enjoy it.
And that’s just what I do.