Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Friendship - Thou Art A Strange Beast

Recently, I know I've made posts about friendship.  Today, I want to share some of the thoughts I've been having about friendship or perhaps more in general, relationships.

First off, each person is a paradox.  A person can be simple.  A person can be complex.  Sometimes the reason behind how people think, feel, and act is complicated.  Sometimes it's very simple.

Relationships can be simple or they can be complex.  Friendship can be much the same way.  I've found that relationships are simple if both people are expecting or wanting the same thing from it.  Friendship is much the same way.  I find that things get horribly complicated if each person in a relationship is expecting something different, or are expecting the same thing, in different amounts.  If one person starts to expect more than the other person is willing to give, then it can get complicated.  If one person starts to give more than the other person is willing to receive, it also gets quite complicated.

Personally, I've been on both ends.  I've been on the end where I feel like I'm giving more and more to the person, and receiving very little in return.  I've been in those friendships where I reach out continually to try to connect with the other person, but I never see the other person reach back.  Sure, when I initiate contact, most people respond and continue that contact.  I've also seen the opposite happen.  There are people I know who give and give to me, who share there life stories, advice, thoughts, and opinions, and for whatever reason, I don't wish to receive those.

That's the point where things get complicated.

When I see situations where I'm giving too much, I find it difficult, albeit not hard to 'withdraw' from the person.  When I realize I'm over committing, it is easy for me to not commit as much.  By committing less, I may give that person less attention.  I may reach out to them less than I have in the past.  I may not try to give them as much touch/affection as I have in the past.  It may mean something even more difficult.  It may mean reclaiming the 'heartspace' I've given to that person.  'Heartspace' is a pretty complicated term for me.  In some ways, it's a measure of my internal commitment toward a person.

I find the harder situations to deal with are when people seem to be 'overcommiting' to try to have a relationship with me.  If the person initiates contact, and I don't feel like initiating back.  I find myself worried about 'hurting their feelings'.  I feel like I'm being cruel if I don't respond to the person.  I feel like I'm lying by continuing to interact with the person.

Honestly, I realize that everyone has needs in varying levels and amounts.  Perhaps for with some friends, I meet their needs by interacting with them, even if I don't get my needs met in the same way with that relationship.  Perhaps other people help meet my needs when they interact with them, yet I don't help feel their needs.  Lopsided relationships? Yes.  Bad?  I'm not sure.  Unhealthy? Only if the person on the giving end is putting themselves into a bad place by helping out.

Friendship, for me, is about mutual trust.  It's about both people in the relationship wanting and giving on a similar level.  There's also the idea of liking each other, of enjoying each others company.  There's a drive to continue and maintain the relationship on both sides.  There's also a sense of safety, love, and affirmation.  Each friendship is different.  Each one is on various levels and each one can change over time.

A few more thoughts I've had.  I've been reading 'In Quiet Desperation'.  In part of the book, Ty Mansfield talks about speaks about the condemnation of homosexuality found in Romans 1.  He then spoke that Paul was trying to teach a very important principle.  He was trying to warn against the dangers of idolatry.  He was stating that by misusing the procreative powers that Heavenly Father has given me, I was starting to worship that power.  As Ty Mansfield put it, some people make their sexuality their idol.  It then struck me that I had many other idols.  The current idol I've been worship is friendship.  I've been trying to put the idea of having friendship up and over God.  I realize that friendship is something important in my life.  Is it really something that should be worshiped?  Is it more important than God, the giver of the gift of friendship?  Heavens no.  Heavenly Father alone should be my object of highest and must worthy worship.

One last thought.  I saw a funny twitter hashtag today.  It goes something like #SomeoneLetMeKnowWhen.  I contemplated a few that I could say, in light of my recent posts and this post.  #SomeoneLetMeKnowWhen men will not be afraid of showing pure, non sexual affection toward one another in public. #SomeoneLetMeKnowWhen it is safe to express feelings openly with one another, even if those feelings say 'I don't want to be your friend'.

Just some thoughts and musings I've had.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Please comment, or send me an e-mail.

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