The Art of Friendship
Lately I’ve noticed a particular topic frequently mentioned in my social circles and it is the subject of friendship or perhaps the lack thereof.
So many women are desiring yet lacking healthy, meaningful friendships.
Could it be that while we all want friends we have yet to understand “The Art of Friendship?”
The Art of Friendship consists of four major components: Time, Effort, Trust and Vulnerability.
It’s easy in today’s fast-paced culture to get so busy that we have little time for friendships.
Friendships get placed on the back burner becoming an option instead of the necessity they are.
We benefit tremendously from quality friendships but sadly few women see the need to dedicate time to maintaining these friendships.
It’s wonderful to spend time with husbands/boyfriends/family.
But many women believe they have to choose either family or friendships not realizing both were designed to co-exist with and complement each other.
Sending a quick text of “Hey, just wanted to see how you are doing” takes little time but has a positive impact on the friendship.
Busyness is a part of life but what if we made a commitment to stay in touch with friends even in our busyness?
Some women say they feel the friendship’s existence always rests on them meaning if they didn’t make the effort to keep the friendship alive there would be no friendship.
Eventually they grow resentful of carrying the weight of the one-sided relationship and walk away.
When a woman says “My friends never ask me to do anything” I ask her “Have you asked them to do anything?”
If she says “No” I remind her of what I too had to be reminded of and that is the phone lines go both ways.
A balanced friendship requires both women making equal effort.
At some point we all will go through difficult moments and need our friends to comfort us.
But if we neglect the friendships until a crisis hits, do we have any right to be upset when they aren’t eager to be there for us through the hard times?
No. We do not.
A friendship that exists only when it is convenient is not a friendship and will eventually dissolve.
Let me add that a friendship also needs “conversational balance.”
My conversations with friends should include equal parts talking and listening and not simply me talking solely about me never expressing interest in them.
Dominating any conversation is a quick way to find ourselves with no one to talk to.
Friendships must be a priority.
My closest friends and I schedule a monthly night out, planning each month’s meeting in advance.
Sometimes the scheduled date isn’t convenient, they would rather stay in, the weather is bad, they had a rough day, aren’t feeling social or are exhausted from work yet they still show up.
Because our friendship isn’t an option – it is a priority.
Their actions say they value our friendship and are willing to set aside personal preference for the friendship.
It never goes unnoticed or unappreciated.
Friendships ask us to be vulnerable.
Show me a woman who has been hurt in the past by so-called “friends” and I’ll show you a woman who has few friends.
Why? Because she has been wounded and her trust has been broken.
Any possibility of new friendships requires her to be vulnerable.
After one too many betrayals by “friends” she no longer seeks friendship and begins building protective emotional walls while convincing herself she is fine being alone.
I have been there. Have you?
Refusing to cultivate any new friendships out of fear of being hurt again?
Allowing God to heal those wounds opened the door to wonderful friendships that I would’ve missed out on otherwise.
We are stronger together and we need friendships.
What if we commit today to practicing The Art of Friendship?
What if we reconnect with an old friend or seek out a new one?
Reach out, send a text, plan a lunch, meet for coffee, get together after work, make the effort, show up for the friendship.
We don’t have to be friends with everyone because everyone doesn’t need to be our friend.
When a friendship stops being a source of joy it may be time to reconsider the relationship altogether.
It is wise as well to avoid the catty, drama filled, toxic and self-absorbed.
With limited time to spend with friends, choose those that are founded on loyalty and filled with laughter.
After spending time with a friend you feel inspired and reenergized, you have found a good friend indeed.
And this I know for sure.
Be the friend you want and that is the friend you will attract.