I’m unclear who coined the phrase, “ If you want a friend, be a friend”, but it rings true. I don’t know how many times I have repeated this to my kids, probably at least five thousand times. 😉
I have friends. Good friends and I have had many of them for over thirty years, the kind of friend where you can just pick up right where you left off. Yes, I’m blessed to have so many of those. However, they don’t live near me which means I am in the process of building more new friendships.
You know this type of friend? The thirty-year friend? They are in a different category.
I believe there are levels of friendships. The more time you invest with someone, the higher of “level” you go in your relationship.
Building relationships take emotional work and effort on both sides. What I have found as an adult, is that building these ships of friends is much harder than when I was a kid. We adults are just to wiped out after life takes its swings at us to lift a finger and work emotionally. Isn’t that what we need? Comradeship and all sorts of different types and ages helping us thru the various seasons of our endeavors?
I don’t know about you, but I have found it many times to be quite frustrating trying to break into new circles of people. Back and forth, your schedules don’t line up, and then you both fall into the texting black hole and just quit trying. Then, avoidance can start happening, because one or both of you is ashamed you never made the date you said you were going too. Maybe I’m the only one who has ever experienced this.
I try and follow thru with attempting to make a date like I said I would. And if the people don’t reciprocate, then I’ll try and shrug it off, shake it off and find someone who has the time. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve also been the dingleman that forgets to respond too.
I don’t think our society in general works hard on relationships anymore. My dad talks about the days where families showed up unannounced and stayed thru meal times. They would just decide to visit someone and go. No email, no text, no phone call, no snail mail. They just came. And that was normal. Nowadays, it is almost unacceptable to do that to people. In fact, if someone knocks on my door and I’m not expecting someone, I think a few things. There is a salesperson, a Jehovah witness, a neighbor kid wanting to play with my kids, the delivery guy, or some kind of bad news. I’m also not saying I would like to live in a society where you can’t ever walk around in your bathrobe and messy hair all day because you never know who will drop by. Then again, maybe that would help some of us move out of bathrobes faster in the morning.
We just aren’t connected face to face, (literally) like we use to be. We hide behind our little walls of wood and plaster and bask in the glow of the blue lights from our tv screens. And then when we are filling out the emergency contacts on our forms, we suddenly realize, we have no one to list. Yep, been there a few times.
My folks were excellent friends once with another family about thirty years ago. Both families, ours and theirs did not have television in our homes. Dad noticed the invites to their home start to be diminished, and they no longer wanted to hang out like we use to do. One of the little girls from the family proudly announced to my folks one night that they had gotten TV! And boy was she excited about that. The point of this story being that TV began to take the place of our families close relationship and eventually changed it almost completely to nonexistent. They became more interested in the TV than investing in us. Technology has taken the place of real people. It’s like a synthetic person!
- If we all waited for someone else to ask us to dinner at their house, No dinner dates would ever happen.
- If we all waited to introduce ourselves until the other person introduced themselves, we would never be introduced.
- If we all became too busy in our lives to not notice a person starving for a relationship, then we would miss out on the blessing of knowing new people with new perspectives and new insights.
- If we all said we would text or call and never intended on doing any such thing, we are contributing to a faux relational society.
- If we fully mean to invest in someone, How about we do it? How about we do not wait till we forget about our said intentions and get the date down?
How about we try to stop the trend of friendships based solely upon a thirty-second friendship pump but instead, offer eye contact that searches each other souls and real spoken words.
When we say we will invest in someone, let’s demonstrate it by our actions. Its easy for us to make promises of getting together and lunch dates, what’s not easy, is the follow thru. Let’s do hard things, serve meals, laugh together, cry together, raise kids together, share together and build friendships that last forever long into different seasons of our lives making the thirty year plus relationships. And let’s do it Face to face, not just facebook to facebook.
I will be the one to invite; you be the one to reciprocate. Then you be the one to invite, and I will be the one to reciprocate. We both have parts to play. I can’t be your friend, without you.
Let me never forget, that Life is all about the people and the unique souls that reside in them.