Yes, sunshine. Days and days and days of rain and clouds and now we have sunshine!!!! What a beautiful sight. What a beautiful world. I feel warm already and it’s still 34 degrees outside.
I read an old entry this morning on our pastor’s blog about grownups who can’t make friends. There were logical reasons for this and I agree with them. I also took a moment to reflect on my own ‘friend’ issues; something I have done through the years at various points in my life. I know that there are other issues which add to my reluctance to make friends, or at least to make that one friend with whom I can bare my heart and soul. I believe this is true of others as well.
I believe we, or at least most of us, have at our very core a belief that the people in our world, our inner circle, are good, honest, trustworthy, dependable, reliable people. So, in the beginning we choose that one person with whom we feel comfortable, that person with whom it is just natural to open up and talk and we spill our guts as it were.
Time passes and we discover that our secrets have either been spread around the community or used against us in an argument. So we put up a shell. Over time we let the shell begin to crack and eventually we open up to yet another person in our life only to find ourselves in the painful situation of realizing that friend has hurt us too. Oh, maybe that friend didn’t share our secrets, or use them as a knife to stab into our very heart…maybe that friend just drifted out of our life and acted as though there had never been anything special between us. For those who have esteem issues to begin with, this brings up the whole flurry of what did I do wrong, what are they saying about me, why can’t I keep a friend? In reality, it isn’t always all about us. Sometimes it is all about the other person.
But what if we were the one who hurt the other person? Where do we go from there? Is it conceivable that 2 people can have a friendship/relationship and never, ever hurt each other? I contend that this is not possible IF the friendship/relationship is a real and true one. I say we are all human and we will all say or do or not or not do something that is either downright intentionally hurtful or worse yet, perceived as hurtful when that was never the intent. This happens in marriages; of course it will happen in friendships.
One of my basic flaws in the past has been to have high, unrealistically high expectations of the people with whom I was close. Of course I was hurt. Of course I was disappointed. Of course I spent days doubting my own self and my ‘ability’ to make and more importantly keep a friend. Once I began to realize that an expectation is a recipe for disappointment and resentments I began to let go to those expectations.
Sure, I expect a friend to ‘keep’ a secret, should I tell them one. But at this point in my life I simply don’t have many secrets. I also try to not say a thing to anyone about another person that I couldn’t or wouldn’t say to that person’s face. Of course I don’t always manage that. I am human. I very often open mouth insert foot and even though my intentions are honorable and I don’t mean to put another person in a bad light, quite often my words are perceived that way, but perception is a whole ‘nother topic!!! 😀
But what if, just what IF I (or you) am totally incapable of making or at least keeping a friend? Could there be a reason for this? Could there be some genetic malfunction that causes this? I am aware that some conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome can manifest itself in character traits which make it next to impossible for the person to make and/or keep a friendship. Psychological type issues can also interfere with one’s ability to make or keep friends…but back to the paragraph which says that we have found our confidences used against us or spread around the community, go back to that shell that people tend to construct when these things happen, these emotional hurts strike. One can build up such a shell around the ‘heart’ that it is virtually impossible to crack-one that in spite of growth, experience, spiritual maturity, whatever—that shell will constantly be there.
That shell with constantly be there, skewing a person’s perception, causing that person to make choices that are detrimental to the friendship, twisting innocent actions and/or statements into hurtful barbs that pierce to the core.
Friendships can hurt. Maybe that is why so many choose to have what I call surface friendships rather than core friendships. I need to just keep praying and working on this.