Friendships have always been a struggle for me. Growing up as a reserved and shy girl, I only wanted to have one best friend. I honestly was perfectly content with just one friend. I would get really close to someone and then we would slowly drift apart with life changes. I thought it was strange and sad to get so close to someone and then see our paths drift apart. Did I do something wrong? Did she do something wrong? How could we be so close and then one day, that friendship was over?
It took me a very long time before I realized that life changes and personal changes within me or the other person can, and will, cause drifts in relationships... and thats's okay. At one time I didn't think I needed to leave certain circles of friendships, I thought you were just supposed to work it out and stick with it. Now that I'm older, I realize that friendships or relationships in general take a ton of work. Both parties have to be intentional about making time for each other... you will have moments that you sacrifice what you enjoy doing and decide to do things that the other person enjoys, even if you don't really care to do it! It's a long-term investment of sacrifice and being supportive as well as understanding that goes a long way in maintaining a thriving friendship.
Life's harsh reality and truth is that... sometimes people grow apart because they just change. They are not the same person you once were so close to... and neither are you! That's okay, maybe later on in life your circles will overlap, but for right now, it's time to move forward and remember that the seasons of that friendship were great and to carry those memories with you! Nothing is wasted and each season has so much purpose.
There are times in life when you are so fortunate to maintain friendships that don't drastically change. The seasons of life change and the other person actually changes with you through the different seasons, not against you. That's a great feeling to look back on memories and share those awkward moments in life as well as the fun and festive memories with life long friends! Friendships that have lasted through the good times as well as the bad times are ones that have lots of grace, love, and forgiveness. You have to be incredibily intentional to keep friendships alive and revitalized. You have to reach out, create safe boundaries, be respectful, be patient, have grace... and a whole lot of grace at times, laugh a lot, find times to be silly together, create time for each other, and be thoughtful in speech as well as actions.
It also means that you as well as your friend must actively listen more than you talk. Put away the phone or any distractions and truly listen to what's going on in your friend's life.
Try to always have a take away from the conversations you have with your friends. Follow up with them in a few days and let them know you are praying for them and ask them questions related to your last conversation with them.
Send them a random encouragement via text or phone call to let them know how much you appreciate them as a friend.
Make a date to meet up and stick with it, don't keep changing the plans or putting them off.
You have to be present and available in the lives of those friends that have consistently invested back into your life and have laughed and cried with you as well as walked life's journey of defeats and victories with you! Find a friend that truly loves your passions and your heart... because they are the ones that will unconditionally love and support you... and be that friend back to them! :)
Top Ten Truths No One Told Me About Friendships...
1.) The best friendships are two great forgivers.
2.) A humble and thoughtful friend is a life long friend.
3.) If you want to keep community, then you have to be very intentional about creating time for community
4.) It's okay to walk away from toxic people and friendships. That's creating boundaries and a healthy head space.
5.) Different seasons call for different types of friendships. Keep the old ones, embrace the new ones, let go of the bad ones.
6.) Befriend the teenager, the younger crowd, and the older crowd... Friendship has no age limit and you can learn and grow from all age spectrums.
7.) Your friend circle is your circle of influence. The people you surround yourself with today will ultimately influence and shape your future.
8.) You hold the power to allow people and friends to treat you as good or as bad as you allow them to... You have a voice, make sure to use it wisely and be aware of your value. Distance yourself from negative people and don't allow a friend or someone close to you to label you unworthy or speak discouragement over you!
9.) Treat your friends with respect, love, and speak encouragement over them!! Pray for them and invest your time and energy into the topics, passions, and conversations that they share with you. If you treat people with this mindset, soon you will find a double blessing and those same types of friends will be drawn to you!
10.) Lastly, you don't have to say "yes" to every friend event. It's okay to be honest and even healthy to say "no, I can't make it this time. Thanks for the invite, but I'm exhausted from this busy week!" I used to feel guilty about saying "no" to friend events, but being exhausted and running on low fumes throughout the week was not healthy or productive for my spirit. There are a lot of "good things" to do... but many times they have turned out to be more of a distraction by keeping me busy and run down... and ultimately more exhausted. Sometimes the best thing is for me to be open and honest with my friends and tell them, "I would love to hang out this week, but I'm exhausted. Let's shoot for next week. I will have a slower week with my schedule and would love to hang out!" I have to be very aware of the difference between a "good thing" and the "Best Thing" for my emotions, my mind, my health, and my spirit. Sometimes the "Best Thing" for me is a night to rest and re-coop from a busy week... and that is perfectly normal and fine. I just have to communicate that with my friends.
Live Courageously. Love Radiantly.