Monday, September 29, 2008

Friendships take effort

I was back reading one of my friend's myspace blog post (Kelli Quave), and came across an entry I had missed about friendship. She made some great points, some of which I want to share with you today.

Once while talking to a friend she shared that she does not have many friends. I said, "Have you considered how much maintenance, and energy is required to have friends? Are you willing to make that kind of commitment to others? If not, then why would you expect others to make that same commitment to you? If you are, then how many friends can you manage?"

One major aspect of all relationships is respect, and I find there is a huge lack of respect in the world today. People, even friends, don't honor their own word. They don't follow through. They don't do what they say they are going to do. It's disappointing.

My parents will tell you, I've had a knack for making friends with people who are fickle and flaky- who skip out on plans without even a phone call to say they can't make it, who promise they are going to do something but don't.

I became so use to this sort of relationship, I began to take on some of these traits myself, but the guilt of treating my friends so poorly pulled at me, and I felt horrible.

I would rather have one really good, committed, loving friend who is there for me than have twenty buddies who are not dependable and don't follow through with what they say they are going to do.

We shouldn't make a commitment to anyone, especially our friends, if we don't intend on keeping it. I have found people will say they are going to do something just to avoid saying no, but have no real intention of following through in the end. This is sending a message that you can't be trusted.

Also, friendships can't be one-sided. I have had relationships with people who require me to do all the work. Brandon has a friend who, every time Brandon calls or bumps into him, chews him out for not keeping in touch with him. Brandon has to remind him each time that the phone works both ways, and that his friend could just as well pick up the phone and give him a call and chat or make plans!

Friendships require effort, just like any relationship. They require our time. Kelli made this point well in her post:

A person cannot expect to have TRUE friends if they do not apply the same expectations for themselves that they require from their friend. I have discovered that a TRUE friend has to be committed, dedicated, respectful, and probably the most difficult of all for longevity is self-sacrificing!

Of course, we cannot be unrealistic and expect our friends to drop everything, all of the time, for us. We cannot be selfish and require all of their time and effort, even if we are giving equally in return. Afterall, there are other aspects of life, and it takes a lot of energy to be a loving spouse, parent, sibling, child and tend to all of the other things that are required of us (like work, homekeeping, schooling, reading and praying and building our relationship with God, etc).

It sounds impressive to hear people say I have 5, 6, 7, etc. BEST friends, but I believe that is an exaggeration. It is possible to have countless friends, but to have a TRUE, loyal, BEST friend, one that will be there for you…no matter what comes…I believe those are rare and when you find one or two or three…REJOICE, but be willing to invest in them or you will lose that blessing. (Kelli)

It's worth examining ourselves: Are we dependable? Are we loyal? Are we helpful? Are we encouragers? Are we uplifters? Are we willing to be honest and trustworthy? Are we willing to put forth the effort?

Friendships take a lot of work. I am blessed to have a couple really close friends, along with some friendships that are more relaxed and don't require a huge level of commitment. It's okay to have friendships that are relaxed and easy going, friendships that aren't "high-maintenance", but even then, we should be willing to honor our word and follow through.


Catherine R. said...

Mandy, I think about this frequently. Why do friends have to make promises that they have zero intention of keeping? When someone says "I'll call you at this time." I just think "Yeah, whatever." How sad is that?

In my experience, I really haven't met anyone who is not a flake. Every single one of my friends has let me down and some more than others.

On one hand, why is calling someone when you say you will so hard? On the other hand I try to remember that we are all very much in need of grace because of how badly we sin.

It's still very frustrating though. Friendship has been rough for me over the years.

Arlene said...

Hmm, I'm ashamed to say I sometimes fall into the "flake" category, not because I don't care about my friends, but because I've got so much going on I forget, till it's like 10:00pm and then it's late. I guess I need to schedule myself a little better. You're right, every worthwhile relationship takes effort, even our relationship with God. If we aren't willing to put in the time to pray, read the Word, fellowship, etc, we can't expect to grow in our walk with Him.

Good stuff as usual. God bless.

Louisiana Momma said...

gosh mandy - what you say is so true.. I used to have little pitty parties because I moved away from all my friends and family to be here with my hubby.. and it seemed I couldn't seem to find any lasting friendships.. and even my hubby said - would you really have time for someone else? And when I think about it the answer would be no - to anything more than a casual friendship.. because with homeschool, running a household with a hubby that's usually not here, and my craft business - there is only time for me and God and then that's it. I have found my casual internet friendships work best.. keep up with each other thru emails, blogs, and occassional phone calls, and even less frequent in person meetings.. I guess God knows best for me afterall :-) I am glad to have you as an internet friend and sister in Christ - your blog does wonders for me :-)