Friendships end and with it comes a lot of heartache and oftentimes, unanswered questions.
Did I do or say something?
Is it me? Is it her?
So, as the friendship articles make their way around the blogosphere and shared on social media, I find myself torn. I relate, completely, to the author sharing her heartache. I’ve been the friend who was dropped without apparent reason. I’ve felt the sting of rejection and sometimes, yes, total confusion of when the relationship no longer seemed important to someone.
However, as I grow older, hopefully wiser, and spiritually and emotionally mature, I find myself relating to that friend everyone is writing about. I am the one parting ways with friends who are no longer healthy. I seem to be the one leaving potential new friendships scratching their heads in confusion and asking, “What did I do?”
So, friend, let me share a few thoughts with you since I am that friend everyone is blogging about recently.
You probably didn’t do anything.
Maybe I don’t have time for anything right now, but that doesn’t mean I did not enjoy our awesome conversation in the school pick-up line the other day. I hope, when time allows, we can chat again. Maybe all I had was that 30 minutes and I spent it with you. Can that just be enough right now? Why are we so quick to analyze every.single.encounter? It is seriously not personal. You weren’t being blown off. Not every encounter will result in a lifelong friendship and that’s OK.
The best relationships grow organically and often times very slowly. Some of my best friends now are the ones I saw randomly for years before it blossomed into deeper, more intimate friendship. We are stronger for it. However, I know what I am about to say is not going to sit well. It’s not very P.C. but you may need to hear this.
Maybe it is you.
There have been many times that my friendships seemed to disintegrate before my very eyes. Sometimes the reason had nothing to do with me. But sometimes, now that I am older, hopefully wiser, and spiritually and emotionally mature, I can admit the role I might have played in it ending. I have been toxic, unhealthy and carried a bad attitude into new relationships. And love, no one wants to spend their precious, limited personal time with toxic, unhappy people. I want my personal downtime to be life-giving and energizing. It may not always be rainbows and lollipops, but at least it is healthy. And some of you are not healthy and it isn’t my responsibility to fix you or fill you.
Look, I see you. I see how you are hurting and sometimes even desperate for human interaction. I am oftentimes torn because of it, too. I feel the weight of my decision as much as you feel the weight of its perceived rejection.
And as a Christian, I struggle even more than usual. How is that Christian of me to choose to walk away from you?
But then I remember Jesus had boundaries and it’s OK to set boundaries and severe ties that are weighty. I can’t be a good friend if I’m not healthy. I have to protect my heart and mind or we might both drown. I’m sorry. I truly am, but Who you need is not me.
A few years ago, I would have not understood how my need to constantly seek and work on the vertical relationship with God would affect all other relationships, but in sustaining the vertical, the horizontal happens. I personally attest to this being a huge game-changer in the friendship department. Unfortunately, not everyone in my circle always understands this and hence the confusion and oftentimes, offense.
Healthy community needs space to grow and be what it was meant to be without force. I finally understood this when I studied the book of Acts in the Bible. The way community was formed and sustained was absolutely beautiful to me. It was so fluid. It allowed for growth and for friendships to come and go as they needed. And what I found ever so beautiful and refreshing was the relationship was not dependent on one another, but Christ.
The foundation for any great sustaining relationship is God, nothing more, nothing less. It’s the greatest friendship lesson I have learned in my 38-ish years on this earth.
I don’t expect everyone to agree. I am sure I will still be written about, discussed around a table of ladies for years to come. All I ask is that you remember there are two sides to every story.
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