You are probably as busy as I am, if not busier. You look forward to the end of the busy-ness so that you can have a quiet moment alone or at least have a relaxing time with your family. Maybe there is that movie you never got to finish watching or you just can’t wait for the weekend so that you can curl up and rest.
I totally understand the type of crazy your days have been.
I speak as a lover of “me-time” and “my space”. This may appear like a selfish attitude but hey, remember that Jesus had it too! He loved to retreat and rest. The difference with Jesus though is that he was never too stuck into having His alone time to put aside friendship and fellowship.
Likewise, I am convinced that you and I can hack the demands of this life and still have time for meaningful friendships and fellowships.
A friend is a gift you give yourself, said Robert Louis. It’s delightful to have someone who you call a friend and who calls you friend as well. There is comfort to know that there will be someone who will shake you out of your day dream if you are dreaming too long. There is no limit to the possibilities of joys you could share with such a one, and you have no idea how much lesser your pains would be if you had people to share them with. That should be motivational enough, but for those of us whose model is Christ, we aim to be friends not for what we can get out of it but because we have so much love to go around and then we still have some!
A friendship is a BOND that exists between two people who are not related or bound to any legal obligation, that’s the definition by David Baird, an author on the subject of friendship.
This being a parenting blog, let me start with the reason your friendships are important for your children.
You want to bring up children who are able to create meaningful relationships, and enjoy the gift of friendship. In the adolescent years, you want your children to have a culture of bringing their friends home or at least let you know who their friends are. Do not assume that your child’s classmates, neighbours and cousins suffice as friends, because all your workmates, neighbours and relatives are not your close friends. Children enjoy the thrills of having particular friends just as we adults do. Observe your child enjoy the company of other children that they are not fighting with or trying to impress or obliged to be with. Once you know who it is that your children love to play with, whom they are truly “at home “ with, it is your responsibility to invest time and effort on their behalf so that they can know the joy of building friendships. Children who are brought up without sensitization of this value usually have two problems in future; first, they are likely to have secretive bad friendships as teens and secondly they will have problems creating the essential friendships they need as adults.
Your friendships are also important for your children’s character growth because your children need to hear you speak about them in happy positive ways to someone who is happy to listen! This is one way to reinforce good attributes, among many others which would have to come in another blog post altogether. Who else offers you this opportunity apart from your close friend who understands your parenting goals? If you speak to anyone, some might think you are bragging, some might not have an appropriate response to build up the character of your child, and some might tell you at that point of the series they watched last night, totally nullifying a teaching moment. You need friends who know what you value, who can cherish it along with you and who can help you bring up your child because it sure takes a village!
Back to you, it’s never too late to build vintage friendships. It’s a priceless investment and a deliberate effort to bring sunshine into another person’s life. Remember you cannot bring sunshine into a person’s life and still remain in darkness.
You have heard it said that friends are the family we choose for ourselves. Therefore, isn’t the most important choice that of your best friend(s)?
The best friend is as close as a relative, if not closer, and you should have trouble counting the moments of your life in which they are not welcome. The best friend fights for you and shares your deepest confidences. You have no shame about letting them in since you know no argument will ever drive them away, because there sure will be arguments due to them always giving you unsought advice and opinions while your casual friends are quietly playing safe!
Thank your best friend for being honest with you! They do not delight in giving you their honest and painful feedback, they just love you too much to keep quiet and watch your downfall. They are equally heartbroken to be the party poopers. But they will be as excited as you are when you rise and rise.
Very close, not necessarily physically but close to your thoughts and sharing your feelings! They might be far but the distance cannot keep them apart because when you meet them, you will feel as if you were with them last week! They are the people you can be outrageous with and they pass no judgement because they know your overall character so well. They are the people you tell how your work is driving you crazy and your even crazier exit strategy. They listen to your fears, they know your weaknesses and they can easily point out your greatest strengths.
They know what’s happening in your life, they sometimes have differing opinions on how you are handling stuff but you know they always have your back and when push comes to shove they will definitely show up! Close friends know your family. Close friends are not waiting for you to send them your wedding invitation card because they obviously plan to be there. Close friends know it’s their RESPONSIBILITY to attend your children’s birthdays and will try everything workable before they can give you an apology for absence. Your best friend is the one planning the event with you, and checking if you have enough cash for it or you are simply doing shows.
These are the friends we use to study your character when we hear that birds of a feather flock together.
You may visit your casual friend if they had a baby, got sick, lost a family member…or then again you may not. Either way, your friendship remains.
You might once have been close friends but things left to themselves deteriorate. That’s the second law of thermodynamics. It applies in friendship too, unless at least one party is doing something to fan the flame, close friendship will wane into a casual one.
It is however okay to have some casual friends.
You might both be lovers of books or great blogs such as this, but that’s all you have in common. Maybe you like to get together once in a while and watch a play or attend a match, but it ends there. Once in a while you might invite them over to your house, but they are rarely expected at the family table. They receive Christmas greetings, and you probably wish them a happy birthday when its time.
They are friends alright, but they don’t have the details. Most friendships are usually stuck at this stage.
A person you happen to know. Just that. Could be your lecturer, a former classmate, a workmate or a friend of a friend. Unless deliberate effort is made, acquaintances do not develop into friends and we do wrong to expect too much from them in terms of friendship. Quit calling your acquaintances your friends, if you want them as friends go be a friend, they will be friends if they share your relationship goals.
The group that forms the people in your life that you regularly see, and the interaction is primarily for spiritual growth. Among them could be close friends, casual friends and if you are very lucky, your best friends. When an acquaintance joins a fellowship, we Christians expect that they will quickly fit in the circle and become a friend. Because a fellowship offers even the friendless a whole list of new friends!
It’s important to join a fellowship, because everyone has something to give and also has something to receive. Some of the members in the fellowship might open your eyes to a vista beyond your own experience. If you find such a one, approach them for mentorship, don’t settle for just friendship. If you find one who is starting on a path you have walked, open your heart and offer to make their walk easier than yours was, because you know its bends and curves. Don’t force these relationships, evaluate the willingness and step back into friendship if you sense the other person is not ready.
The regularity of a fellowship is what gives it an edge over a friendship. The people who walk with you are more likely to anticipate your needs before you can reach out to your friends outside the fellowship.
Join a fellowship or create a fellowship, but be in a fellowship.
Re- Categorizing friendships
It is okay to promote some and demote some, which is what the Bible calls laying aside unnecessary weights so as to run the race marked out for you.
If you keep friends who are dragging you behind, you will not have helped them in any way unless you can ask them to step up. You will just have slowed yourself down and wasted time that could have been better spent in a meaningful friendship! You have heard people say they gave up on friendships. That is because they let toxic friends hang around their lives for too long.
Promote a great casual friend who you are happy to be with and helps you grow to a level above and demote the close friend who constantly tells you everything negative about others. You truly need less baggage to live a successful life. As I started, we are all too busy and we also need some alone-time so when we make time for friends, it better be worth the while!
Most importantly, be a great friend to your friends.