Never gives up.
These are words that most would use to describe a good friend and qualities that will produce long lasting, fruitful relationships. When I think about the word friendship, I’m reminded of the bible verse that states: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV.
I know you probably wanted to read a blog post that was going to give you confirmation on whether or not you should walk away from a friendship. I know, if you are in the space that I’ve been in with friendships, you are tired of giving your all and receiving nothing in return. Being there for everywhere in there madness, sadness, ups/downs, search for self-identity and when you are looking for your friends to reciprocate it just isn’t there. You have to deal with your friends’ seasons of isolation, pushing you away, undertones of jealousy. You check on everyone else but no one is there to check on you. You’re tired of having friends that take your personal experiences and make them their own, instead of being present to stand and fight with you. I get it! I GET IT! However, as much as I want to be that confirmation for you, I believe the heaviness in your heart might be confirmation enough. But before you go cutting off what friendships you have left, let me give you a different perspective to consider.
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly…”
It’s time to stop wanting and desiring others to be the best of friend to you and ask yourself this really tough question: “am I a good friend?” Yeah I said it! Look at the list of qualities again and ask yourself, have you been that type of friend. How present have you been? How often are you checking on your friends? When your friend is having a really difficult moment are you there for them or are you somewhere calling them “toxic” (I will definitely get on the subject matter of the word toxic another day). How are you reciprocating love in your friendship? Are you accountable for your actions? Are you open to hearing your friend’s point of view and not just your own? Are you reliable, trustworthy, and loyal? Can your friends trust that you won’t switch sides, fence ride, or talk about them behind there back? Are you praying for them? Are you inviting your friends out or only getting upset when you feel like you’ve been denied an invite? Are you making assumptions and not communicating? Are you shutting people out without even giving them a chance?
I can go on and on with the lists of questions to ask yourself but hopefully you get the point by now. A lot of us want a healthy romantic relationship but are unable to have a healthy relationship with ourselves and more importantly with our friends. We love to cut friends off quickly when things get hard versus communicating. We love to tell others what they don’t do for us but refuse to hold the mirror to ourselves and really assess what we are not bringing to the relationship as well.
Every relationship we enter takes time, patience, dedication, reciprocation, understanding, and FORGIVENESS. If you find yourself in a space wanting to get rid of all your friends, I strongly suggest you take a look at yourself first. Don’t get me wrong, maybe you have been all of those things and there are people in your life that are not reciprocating, then by all means move forward. Life is too short to hold onto people that have no desire in holding onto us. Somethings are meant to work out no matter how crazy life can get and somethings are meant for us to find lessons in and keep pressing forward. We also must remember that even with the list of “good” qualities, people are still human with human emotions. That means we will enter seasons of sadness, depression, uncertainty, identity crises, loss, and even what some will consider toxicity. Then we have to assess are we giving our friends the space to have human experiences and still knowing how to build and maintain a healthy relationship. This generation loves to go ghost instead of talking things out. This generation also loves control, if people aren’t doing what we want them to and/or taking our advice we are cutting them off. Here’s a suggestion, if you see a change in your friends behavior don’t automatically assume they are acting different, ask them if they are okay or if they need anything. Let that friend know that you see the behavior change and you just want to be there for them in any way that you can. Also, don’t expect your friends to be mind readers, tell your friends what you need. I’m learning that for myself; to be considered the “strong” friend I need to remind those close to me that I’m not strong by myself alone, that the strength I have comes from the love, encouragement, and prayers that I receive and I need those often.
I pray that we learn to build a healthy, fruitful, and long lasting relationship with ourselves so that we can build the same with those around us. That we let go of the desire to fix, control, and to take things personally but truly learn to be present in our friendships. That we give our friendships the space to grow, to heal, and to thrive. That we learn the value of friendship and work hard to maintain great ones. I pray we acknowledge that we all have seasons in life to endure and we must learn to be better first before we expect others to provide for us what we are unwilling to reciprocate and most importantly provide for ourselves. I pray that we find encouragement in these words to do a self-assessment, to mend some broken relationships, or even to truly walk away from what’s not working anymore. I pray that every relationship we walk into from this point forward will be one that produces fruit because our actions have created space for it.