I love friendships, relationships and simply just love getting to know someone. There’s not much else I enjoy more than sitting down with someone and hearing their life story for the first time. If you know me, you know this to be SO true. I will soak up every detail of your life – every triumph, every heartache, everything that shook you and made you who you are! I am here for it all!
I am pretty sure that my love of hearing life stories comes from me hating being judged on first impression. Many times, I am shy and quiet when I meet someone one-on-one and this causes people to be confused about me because they see me on stage at church or emceeing a wedding and I appear to have an outgoing persona. But I am much more comfortable on a stage with a mic in hand in front of 100’s rather than one on one (I know this is weird!). So many times, I’ve been misinterpreted as rude when I’m just shy one-on-one. So, I try not to judge on first impression when I meet others, because I’ve learnt that it is not a very accurate gauge.
I love asking questions about people. This shows sooooooooooooo much of who they actually are, what they believe in and more. But for me, it’s also about body language and how they communicate about themselves. How a person talks about them self is the window into their belief system about them self.
A lot of the times if we don’t know a person’s story – their background – we don’t know them fully. I’ve found every time that I have learnt of a person’s background, I then understand why they do things the way they do, or why they think the way they do.
There’s a reason behind everything we do…
Why do we feel the need to justify ourselves? Because we don’t believe we’re worthy.
Why do we say “sorry” or apologize after we state our opinion, etc.? Because we’re worried about what people will think about us. Also, if you’re Canadian “sorry” is just in our vocabulary WAY too much! I am SO guilty of this!!! But all joking aside, when you really think about it, there is a reason behind why you do what you do.
When you take the time to learn about peoples past experiences, failures and victories in life, you learn who they are today. Every experience, failure, and victory has crafted us into who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly. I can find myself annoyed at the way some people do things and then when I learn about them and understand them, I am no longer annoyed by how they do certain things, because I understand them. Makes sense, right?!
I have been uber blessed through most seasons of my life to be surrounded by amazing friends! I thank God for my friendships daily because I truly don’t know what I would do without them. I am an only child, so I always say friendships mean more to me – true or not I don’t know?! My parents are pastors so throughout my childhood we had about 4 significant moves where we changed cities. This caused me to not have the advantage of having childhood friends who I grew up with and entered adulthood with – unlike Bryan, we can be at the grocery store, at a concert, at a red-light (true story!) and he says “Oh I went to school with him/her!” I have no idea what that would be like – being in the same city your whole life and bumping into classmates or etc. My life was quite the opposite; however, I have been fortunate to have a few friends (thank you social media) who I am still in touch with, but the bulk of my close friends are from Ottawa – where I’ve been for the past 20 years of life. I’ve always kept my inner circle small, and this has always been an intentional move on my part.
Which brings me to my first block of friendship:
- Be Intentional. Don’t toss friends around the same way you toss your outfit on the bedroom chair at the end of the day. This is the reason I keep my inner circle so small; if I am going to be your friend – I want to be your friend. I want to be there for you when you need me and I want to be all in. I want to be reliable and I want the same back. If you have 500 friends, you are guaranteed that at least half of those people are going to have issues and want to talk to you, text you, reach out to you, etc. And how are you going to manage your time effectively and purposefully to these “friends” at such a high quantity? I would say that it would not be possible.
But if you have 5 friends, each friend could be going through a struggle and call you every week and you could manage that and find time for them all.
Do you see my point here?
I’ve been friends with multiple types of people over the years but one thing I’ve learnt is that those with large friendship circles did not have time for me.
Now, my friends who have established that we are each others accountability partners, we are the “call me at any time of night” friends, the cry on your shoulder and leave snot on your shoulder friends – those are my people. These are the ones I want to be intentional with, and they are intentional with me.
- Quality over Quantity. Friendship is not a numbers game. In this day and age of social media the numbers game has messed with so many of us. I would hate to be the most popular person in the room but go home and only have myself to help me with my struggles. I would rather have one quality friend then be Miss Popular. Having that one friend that you can reach out to is worth more then popularity ever will be. Because when life gets tough your quantity of friends will do nothing for you if they are not quality friends.
- Two-way street. Friendship works two ways. This is a point I am passionate about. I have had people enter my life and we connect, and we develop a friendship. As time goes on, I start to realize that I am the one texting, calling, arranging hang outs, buying birthday gifts, attending events – all for the other person. I stop and calculate, what have they contributed to this friendship? If that answer comes up to be zero (or close to it!) I have to recalculate and ask myself, is this a true friendship? Now, I think we can all agree that life goes in ebbs and flows – sometimes one person is giving more then the other in a certain season. But to everything there is a season, so at some point that should flip over. Friendship is really no different then relationships, or marriage. When my best friend had a baby a year ago, our friendship shifted. Did I get down and out and think, ‘oh I don’t have a friend now… she won’t have time for me’ No! She was in a different season and her focus was right where it should be – on her baby. So, to ensure we had time together, I would make her family dinner and show up with it and be like, ‘heyo! Dinner is here and we’re gonna watch a movie!’ That was our hang out time – it didn’t have to be fancy, it was just about time together. And then about 6 months in, the season was changing again – she was now comfortable leaving the baby alone so I remember receiving a text from her that said, ‘let’s go to the movies this weekend’ and my response was, ‘Really??’ LOL But see how when the seasons of life changes, the give and take changes with it. My best friend and I have been through multiple season changes over the past 15+ years but we’ve also supported each other and made sure we were priorities in each others lives – no matter the season. Make sure your friendships are two-way streets. Send that text! Initiate that hangout! Reach out! Make the time!
- Talk it out. Friendship is filled with so many beautiful moments but it is not always a flower garden (I hate to be a Debbie Downer here). I am an opinionated human being! I know it, and now you know it (if you didn’t already!) I am a fierce leader and will take charge no matter what I’m doing and this can cause friction in friendships – because believe it or not, my opinions are not always the opinions of others! Shock and awe. I know right?!?! Haha… totally kidding. Difference of opinions is totally okay! It’s what makes the world go around. If we were all the same, life would be so boring!! But this is where many friendships go wrong, as soon as we don’t agree – we give up and walk away. Instead we should act like adults with common sense (I know, it’s not so common), and talk it out. By the end of the conversation you still might not agree but you can understand each other mutually and accept each others’ differences. I have a couple girlfriends who are fierce as well – I love fierce gals! Who runs the world? (GIRLS!) Anyways… when I say or do something that’s not quite right and they call me out for it I am like YES! Tell me more!! I want to know, doesn’t everyone?! 1) it gives me a chance to clear the air 2) I can explain what I really meant – because I am a motor mouth and my tongue tends to move faster then my brain can compute. 3) Call me out girl, that’s why you’re my girlfriend – keep me on the straight and narrow!
If you cannot handle someone inquiring why you did something or why you said something… GIRLLLLLL we got some serious talking to do and that’s for another blog post.. or two! But seriously, appreciate that someone is telling you that they don’t understand you, or that you hurt them, etc. It’s not healthy for us to hold those feeling within us. It’s not healthy for you or for your friendships. Get out on the table right away because one thing is certain it will come out – sooner or later. And the later is option is ALWAYS the messier option and will most likely explode your whole friendship. But, thank God for grace when we need it.
I am SO thankful for grace in friendships. I am so thankful for my girlfriends – and my guy friends! Most of my friendships are over 10 years old and to me that is so special and something I cherish. We might not have grown up going to Kindergarten or grade school together but heck we made it through teenage years & adulthood together! We’ve held each others wedding dresses on our special days. I’ve been at most of my friends births of their babies. We’ve cried. We laughed. And we laughed until we cried. We’ve made solid memories and no matter what bumps in the road have come our way, those memories out weigh the bumps any day!
So, my challenge to you is to look at your friendships and ask yourself, how can I be a better friend? There are always ways for us to improve. Now go out there and be the best friend you could possibly be, because someone is waiting for you.