Do you think it’s more important to be a friend or to have friends?
I’ve had several conversations lately with people who say things like, “I’ve just put in all I’m going to on this relationship.” “I have to do all the work, they never reciprocate, I’m done with them.” “If we ever do anything it’s going to be because I initiate and I’m just tired of chasing them.” “I’m just getting too old to waste time on people.”
I find these comments bothersome and disturbing and oddly middle school girl-ish. De-friending on facebook and twitter is mildly entertaining but irritating at the same to me. As a product of the 80’s I think we’ve all been through enough sensitivity training to realize when we are being taken advantage. But also as products of this time period I think we’ve put a little much value on our self-esteem.
Yes, I get it. You don’t want to be a door mat.
Yes, I get it. You don’t want to be walked all over.
Yes, I get it. There are people who will suck the life out of you.
But come on. We’re all grown ups now. It’s time we stop thinking it’s all about what prize we get out of the cracker jack box. It’s time to stop pouting when we put into people’s lives and don’t pull out a prize.
In the past week I can tell you I’ve had the wool pulled over my eyes by someone I trusted. In the past week it’s come to light that another friend has been deceiving me for months about a personal situation. In the past hour I’ve learned a friend is probably not being completely honest with me. I could choose to take all of these as personal affronts and say that I am done with them, that they are essentially “dead to me.”
Now before I push myself to sainthood, I would be lying if I said these situations didn’t make me mad, didn’t hurt my heart, didn’t question my discernment. But I’ve made commitment to these people to be their friend whether they have asked for it, assumed it, or expected it. That commitment doesn’t come with a disclaimer that I will be their friend only if they meet some expectation of mine. One of my mantras is to walk in love, not on eggshells. I can’t tiptoe through life deciding on whim who has earned my love and who has not. That’s legalistically exhausting. I want grace also for when I’m less than perfect. I’m no better than anyone else. I’m a screw up just the rest of you.
How do you handle this situation of unmet expectations all the way up to betrayal in friendships?
The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.