Sink or Swim on the (Friend)Ship?

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship: connection between two people, what components are necessary for survival, what defines it, what keeps it going, thriving, what differentiates a friend from an acquaintance…

There are three categories a person fits into in your life: Confidant, Constituent, and Comrade.

     1.  CONFIDANTS – You have very few of them – these are people who welcome you unconditionally. They are into you whether you are up or down, right or wrong, they are in it for the long haul. You can share anything with them. These are people who you can share your deepest and darkest inner thoughts with, who won’t judge you but will feed you instead of draining you. 

     2.  CONSTITUENTS – They are not into you but are into what you are FOR. They are for what you are for. As long as you are for what they are for they will be with you but never think they are for you. If they meet someone else that will meet their agenda they will hook up with them and leave you. Don’t mistake a constituent for a confidant. By the time you fall in love or are connected with them in a relationship, they will hook up with someone else and break your heart, leaving you wondering, “I thought our relationship was deeper than that.”

     3.  COMRADES – These are not for you nor are they for what you are for. They are just against what you are against. They are strange bedfellows. They are the enemy of your enemy who will team up with you to help you fight a greater enemy. They will only be with you until the victory is accomplished.

-Pastor T.D. Jakes

I truly believe if one gains just a couple true confidants in their lifetime, they should consider themselves very blessed. It’s not hard to see why this is the case. We humans are all so unique and different. We are all raised with differences, we all have unique environmental changes throughout life, different minds, motivations, passions, pet peeves, theories, knowledge, goals. So many options of how a person walks through life and what makes them tick.

Add that all to the fact that we are a fallen human race in a world serving as the Devil’s playround, where we must battle every day for our very hearts and live our lives in a war zone. A spiritual war, but still a war. Just as real as any-the war between good and evil. It’s no wonder we can’t all get along.

The basis of any true relationship is unconditional love. Some would argue only God could love unconditionally. You could argue that this means we each will only have a limited number of real, life-long, long lasting relationships in our lives. Well, I do agree with that second part. And yes I believe we humans are capable of unconditional love, though it is rare, most often seen in a parent/child relationship.

The passage 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13 is often read at weddings as the very essence of love. I agree. Love, real, true love is inherently unconditional. It is selfless. The catch is, it requires two people to survive. Without both people participating actively, it is rendered crippled, and crippling to the person giving it at times. For example, in a marriage, one person may love unconditionally, but if the other commits adultery, lies, cheats, or steals… no matter how much the other loves them, it is very difficult, if not impossible for that alone to sustain a relationship. Which is why I say love is the basis of a relationship. But you need more.

Real relationship requires give and take between two people, but giving without expecting immediate return, or anything in return really. Both give, therefore both receive. It’s when the well-being of the other is your priority, their happiness is your priority, and that in itself, is your return. As Corinthians tells us, it is patient, it is not judgmental or self-seeking… I once heard the most successful relationship is where each person tries to out-serve each other daily.

How many people do you have that you know without a doubt has your back? That you’d willingly go into a foxhole with, back to back, with total trust? My guess is not many. I am lucky, blessed, grateful to have 4 people I can name. My dad, my mom, my best friend Amanda, and my boyfriend Tim.

Being an introvert, I don’t use the term “friend” lightly, and I understand the importance of one real friend versus 10 fair-weather friends. Amanda has shown the epitome of real friendship to me. She loved me when I least deserved it. She refused to abandon me when everyone else told her she should. She fought for me when many thought I was beyond hope. She is the kind of friend that comes along only every 2 or 3 lifetimes. She did this without expecting anything in return, unconditionally, knowing at the time I wasn’t capable of “paying her back,” but that wasn’t why she did it. She wasn’t keeping score.

On the other hand I’ve had “friends” that would intentionally hurt me the minute I screwed something up, that would say nasty things to me that no one should ever have to hear, just because they were angry with me, or that would offer to help me with something, but then throw it in my face if I can’t immediately do something for them in return. They would keep score. I know the difference. I know who I’d want in my foxhole with me.

I can be a bit needy, I enjoy company and companionship, but have very few stable people in my life. I prefer it that way. Sincerity, integrity, truth in love, someone who wants the best for me… these are all things I want in a friendship or any kind of relationship. Without these components, I don’t need them and shouldn’t want them in my life. Period.

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