This is How You’ll Know if Your Friendships Will Last
5 Questions to Ask Yourself
I noticed her name in my worn out address book.
You remember address books, don’t you? They are something from the past.
I hadn’t thought about her in a long time. I wondered how she was, what was going on in her life. And then I decided to leaf through the pages at other friends I no longer knew.
I think we all have them. Don’t you?
Thinking about them, I saw some common threads. This is how you’ll know if your friendships will last.
1) Do you love yourself?
I’ve always heard how we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. The problem is, some of us don’t like ourselves very much.
May I confess something to you? I used to hate myself.
I actually thought no one would know. Turns out, I was wrong.
Outwardly it looked like I only cared about what others wanted. But that’s not true. I did have a list of things I wanted, I didn’t think I deserved to be included.
I learned people pleasing in my family of origin. And I just kept doing it as an adult.
I actually came upon a verse that said do I seek to please men or God. I had never noticed the word “or” in there before.
That’s when things started changing for me. I started seeing people for who they were and realized they were NOT bigger than God to me.
2) Is your friendship mutual?
One past friendship I missed a lot. This woman whom I’ll call Jessie and I would do things together. I met her at a craft show. And we enjoyed each other’s company.
We’d laugh a lot when we were together. We’d even share serious things as well. I liked her and I believed it was mutual.
Then one day I did what many people warn you about. I let money into the relationship. She wanted me to do a job for her and I agreed. What we didn’t do was discuss the amount.
I went on and finished the job certain she would like my work. And then we talked about how much my job would cost.
Note to self: Always talk about the amount up front, don’t leave it for later.
When we finally talked about it, we discovered we had very different amounts in mind. To say we were not on the same page would be an understatement. We weren’t even in the same book.
Needless to say, I quickly realized we saw the friendship differently. I thought our friendship was mutual. I was wrong.
3) Have your lives taken different paths?
In another friendship I had, this friend and I were close. Our children were also friends when they were small, and we shared church activities as well.
When Kari, (not her real name) went through a difficult time in her life she struggled with her faith. Since this was one of the things we shared, when she pulled away from her faith, she also pulled away from me.
No more conversations, no more anything. Maybe one day we’ll talk again, who knows?
Sometimes your life choices will take you in different directions.
4) When times got hard, has your friend stuck by you?
Most of the time we choose friends who are like us. They share our interests or something that is important to us.
The more emotionally mature we become, the freer we are to think of others. But sometimes we’re not there yet.
When I first met Bonnie, I was in so much pain in my life. Not only did I hate myself, I was so wounded. Bonnie cared about me when I didn’t.
Bonnie modeled what boundaries looked like. In the beginning of our relationship, I monopolized the conversations. Yet, she patiently waited and she understood where I was. She endlessly listened and prayed for me.
She helped me understand broken friendships I had experienced. She pointed out what part I played in them. Why did I care about what she had to say? She showed me how much she cared.
I respected not only Bonnie but her opinions as well.
I also learned that if people reject us, it says more about who they are. You see, it’s not all about us.
And even if people do reject us, we are still valuable people.
5) Are you like George or Raymond?
We all laugh at the antics of George Constanza on Seinfeld, and Ray Ramano on Everyone Loves Raymond. We laugh because it’s funny, but we also know there is truth in it.
Deep inside we all want to be liked.
And while we’re uncomfortable when people don’t like us, the truth is: not everyone is going to like us.
How can I make such a bold statement? Because I don’t like everyone. And if you’re honest, you don’t either, do you?
When we truly accept ourselves we can finally let others be who they are.
Then when we make friends, they will like us for our authentic selves and not a fake self we project.
Friendships are tricky at times. Our lives will be peppered with some that are strong, and some that break. But we can still choose to care about others.
We can make friends and value the relationships we have.
And we can learn to love others as we love ourselves. But first, let’s start with us. That should take some time.
Call to Action:
What about you?
Do you have friendships that have broken?
Do you have friendships that have lasted for years?
I’d love to hear your stories.