Monday, November 4, 2013

The Evolution [of The Concept] of Friendship Through My Eyes

Photo Credit: 99wallpapers.com

Have you noticed that when it comes to friendship, there are different variances and degrees of the relationship?

Words such as: 
"True/real friend"
"Fake friend"
Close friend
Best friend [BFF]
Childhood friend
Old friend
New friend
"Work friend"
Friend
Sister/brother
Acquaintance

To me a friend is a friend who is a friend. Confusing, but the title of true/real friend should not really exist because if they weren't true/real, then technically they weren't a friend. Right? And when I say friend, by definition I mean a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard (also known as having an actual relationship with that person). An acquaintance is someone who you simply know or know about. You are acquainted with who they are and what they are about, but that is the extent of it. There is a difference. 

Awhile back I was having brunch with a group of girlfriends and we got on the topic of friendship. One of my girls is very well known in this area and she said something that I could [now] relate to. She said she did not have many friends. A part of me was taken back when she stated that because I see her as "Miss I-know everyone-on-earth (okay, okay, well maybe everyone in the DMV area)." But she said, "No, there is a huge difference between knowing a lot of people and actually having a relationship with them." Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding--right on the money. 


Some of you older folks might relate to this, but have you also noticed that you had more friends when you were younger? 

When I was younger (in elementary school) I had the time, energy, and did I mention TIME to have relationships with everyone and anyone. I remember being on the phone for hours and hours and hours just laughing, talking about the day, and gossiping about who liked who. We would sing Boyz II Men songs on the phone and try to test the limit of 3-way calling (fun fact: one time we had about 12 people on the line because person 1 called another person who then called another person who then called another person, etc. It was chaotic but memorable and I still remember like it was yesterday. LOL!!) I had the time so why not?

When I entered High School, my group of friends slightly decreased but my acquaintance circle widened dramatically. I was friends with the seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen. It was a good feeling to know a lot of people. On the side, I had a solid and amazing group of church friends. When I entered my 1st year in college (Universidad Adventista de La Antillas), my circle of friends widened again and I made some lifelong friendships. 


I could keep going with the different stages of friendships, but I'll spare you the boring details. Fast forward oh about 12 years, I have reached a new stage with my friendships. My circle of friends has become more defined (I know who is who) and it has definitely shrunk. There are friends that I still have from every stage of my life; the friendships have survived the "test of time (that we all go through)." And there are friendships that have simply dissolved; just because we were only friends for that particular season (which is more than okay). Some people think I have 1,000 friends because I know a lot of people--but nope. Do I have 1,000 acquaintances? Yeah, probably. Friends? Definitely not. It happens. Some friendships have time limits and others don't.

Personally, I thank God for the clarity He has given me about who is who in my life. I am not a perfect friend, but I pray to be a wonderful friend to my friends. I also pray to be a wonderful acquaintance to people I know and who know me. 

I am not going to be juvenile and give a shout-out to every friend in my circle, but there is one friend I do not mind telling you about--it's Jesus! You know why? John 15:13 explains it best--"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." He laid down His life for me and you and He loved us first. What's not to love in a Man like that? And you know in reality we have to think the people that we call a "friend;" would we lay down our life for them? Jesus re-defined friendship.

Side note: one of these days [when I feel really passionate about the topic], I will blog about friendships that cease to exist that you actually care about because let's be real, there are some friendships that die that we are actually relieved about.

There is this poem about this very topic and would like to share with you: 


People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

5 comments:

  1. If we don't intend to lay down our life for the person we call "friend" then is our relationship with that person really a friendship? Jesus redefined relationships as He had intended them to work from the beginning. Today we quickly call a "friend" someone who would actually take our life rather than give you theirs.

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  2. i see the intent of your blog. I agree wholeheartedly. Recognizing some differences within our governing friendship circles - even Jesus had it. But, isn't the 'other' our neighbor, our friend? If so, does this mean then that we have become a 'partialized, selective' people where God is not? If not, then why is there 'selective' friendshipping? (blame my grammar to german wording). How would this look like practically? just an observation.
    the logos became flesh and 'dwelt' among us. Proverbs 17.17 is a very nice challenging verse, but seems to take wisdom to separate the two. In christ, i think there is suggestive friendship when Paul says, 'there is no greek, no slave, no free, there is no male, no female…for all you are all one in christ. we could perhaps take it as 'there is no friend, there is no brother, there is no male friend, there is no female friend…for all you are all one in christ.'
    So, again…i agree with your blog. i think the same. but too, if i see my neighbor, literally my next door neighbor as only my neighbor, then he is plainly just that. But if i see him, as Christ sees him, then he is my brother. if i then see them as my brother, how would i treat them as opposed to how do they treat me.
    just a thought...

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    Replies
    1. Great point! And again if we don't have Jesus' vision to see all people as our brothers and sisters so as to lay down our life for them, do we fulfill the true definition of friendship? Actually are we fulfilling the true definition of a Christian? I think of our constant search for purpose and our constant search for fulfillment. Are these life searches satisfied only until we find something or someone we would die for? Is simply our "neighbor" enough of a title for us to lay down our lives. I think of the early Martyrs. Wasn't their purpose to die for the truth of the gospel? Their work to spread the good news for saving people they hadn't even met brought them death - so then in turn laying down their life was for the passion of humanity. So is everyone then a friend?

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    2. Alex, I see what you're saying, but what is a friend to you? Does that mean we have to be intimate (obviously in a platonic way) with everyone? I don't know... I find it hard to comprehend. Looking back, I know David and Jonathan were BFFs. Yes, I'm sure David had other friends, acquaintances, and buddies, but there was a compelling bond between him and Jonathan. We see that today in our own lives. I don't see it as being selective, but as simply being closer to some individuals.

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