Two days ago, I was scrolling through my old photos stored up in my hard drive. I had my folders labelled as the year and was doing some reminiscing over my life events. From high school, to university, to my first year of working to my travels. After chuckling at how much I have or have not changed. I slowly started to notice the people that were in the photos with me. I have to admit that over the last few years, my friendship groups have shifted. And its also good to notice that as I had evolved as “Sarah”, I was surrounded by different people. Some people who walked out, fallen out with, people who I still share memories with, some people that moved away.
And I have noticed that how much each person had influenced me one way or another- whether it be in a positive or negative way. And also how potentially I had noticed that I had still not learnt this valuable lesson in life: You need to pick and choose your friends.
There was a passage:
1 Corinthians 15:33 “bad company corrupts good character”
and I used to think this wasn’t true. I used to think that even if I had good morals and values that I would not succumb to peer pressure. But I proved myself wrong, and indeed you do turn out to be more like the people that you constantly hang around.
I have thrown the word “friends” around very loosely. Simply someone that I had crossed paths with in life, is not a “friend.” But rather, a friendship is something that needs to be built on and maintained. And it’s a two way street.
There are times when I still have people on my facebook/instagram who previously I may have invested quite a lot of quality one-on-one time to build the relationship. And because of my and their life, we’ve slowly drifted and those who I would have considered a really great friend are merely an acquaintance. You know those people right?
The people that you helped pick up them off the ground during breakups, went dancing with on birthdays, helped them move house, introduced them to people, picked up their family members, spoken real ‘deep-and-meaningful’ conversations… and after they have a partner or have moved away, they simple forget that you exist? Or that person that you say to catch up, and you wait for them at the specific place to meet up and they bail on you right on the time that you are supposed to meet up.
We all have that “friend”. And as much you would like to give them the benefit-of-the-doubt that they don’t have time to invest or prioritise you because of their busy life, lets be honest its disrespectful to when someone “forgets” when you’ve already scheduled a catch up, and it takes two seconds to text a simple “Hello” to see how someone is going.
As I was mulling over the fact that I felt ridiculously taken advantaged of and probably wanted to never trust or invest in a relationship again, I couldn’t help that maybe I’m to blame and/or that it was meant to happen. Maybe I was supposed to just give and not expect anything in return. So that I don’t feel disappointed that this was a really one way street relationship and potentially that friendship was supposed to be there for a short season. Once this friendship has served its purpose, it may or may not have to continue…
Also maybe that person wasn’t a true friend after all and you were just there out of convenience.
I’m not going to lie, over the few years I’ve been let down by friends. And without intentionally knowing, I’ve also probably let people down. As I was feeling extremely sorry for myself in the last few months over unrequited friendships, God kept on speaking to me to get me through it- literally podcasts, videos, talks just kept on coming up on my feed left, right and centre.
I heard a particularly great TedX talk and I would love to share with you what I learnt. Feel free to watch it as it really made me understand what makes a true healthy friendship. And I hope that I be that person to another person. As we know how it feels to just feel forgotten about when someone truly wants to have a relationship with you.
Three Pillars of a good relationship/friendship: (you need all three)
Is this person a positive person around you?
Does this person have a positive influence on your life or do they pressure you to do things that you don’t want to do e.g. drugs?
Do they encourage you, motivate you and inspire you to do more with your life? e.g. jobs, relationship
Do you feel good around this person?
Are they showering you with compliments or do they make you feel more insecure?
Are they passive aggressive with comments or do they shower you with love?
Also is this person positive in general. I found that when I hang around toxic, negative people I start adapting to their mindset and everrrryttthinnngggg and everyonnnneeeeeee is a problem.
Are they consistent with the way they treat you or moody? I’m going to say I used to be a moody friend and it was until I knew someone that was extremely moody that I knew I didn’t want to be like that. One day they would be super awesome, but the next day they’d snap at anything that you would say. It feels like walking around egg shells around this person as you don’t know whether you got them on a good day or bad day.
Do they respect you and your time? Do they flake when they say they are going to meet up? Does this happen all the time or is it just a one off?
Do they make time for you?
Do they respect your opinion consistently?
Can you trust this person in what they say?
Will this person make an effort to meet you or message you to see if you are well, or do you catch up when you message and are going out of your way to meet them?
Does this person care about you when you are sick? It’s great to be there during the good times when you are partying, but if you are going through a ditch, will this person stand with you?
How transparent can you be with this friend?
Is it all about being superficial and having a good time, or are you able to speak about deeper things?
Can you speak about your problems and the things you struggle with openly and freely without this person judging?
Does this person trust you enough to speak about their life and their problems?
If you had an issue with them, are you able to speak about issues amicably without them erupting in anger and defensiveness?
Or do they immediately try to understand where you are coming from and find peace.
Do they respect your values?
Do they care about you enough to be honest with you about how they feel?
Do you trust their opinion and counsel?This breakdown really helped me understand and see each relationship as they truly are. Doesn’t mean they are a bad person but rather it protects you from getting your feelings hurt if you are a natural giver- heart- on-your-sleeve person like me. This person may have played a role in your life and vice versa for just a particular season in your lives and its ready to make more space for another person :)I’ve linked the TedX talk below if you want to watch!
After breaking it down, even though it showed me which area certain friends were lacking in and why I never understood why there was something off about that relationship, it also made me appreciate the ones who have always been there and who has been consistent with these three areas.
I actually reflected on all my friends and how they had impacted my life one way or another. And also those that potentially I may have to invest more in to build a greater level of friendtimacy in or not invest in 🙂
We all want good friendships and intimacy within them 🙂 I hope this helped you as much as it helped me 🙂