I have always said I make a lousy friend. Over the years I have analysed why, beating myself up much along the way, and I have reached a conclusion which I’d like to share with you today. It’s not so much that I am a lousy friend, I am just really bad at meeting other peoples expectations and when it comes to being a successful friend most of the winning points come in meeting the other persons expectations.
Being bipolar of course brings it’s own set of challenges. Who I am today might not be the person you will get tomorrow. I constantly seek new experiences and I love people. Truly, madly, deeply, I am in a love affair with humans! I believe that everyone has redeeming qualities, and I just can’t understand how a person can size up another person at a glance and decide they don’t like them.
Where I Go Wrong
Through the years one persistent problem has plagued me in friendships. I don’t follow the crowd. Elsa is mad at Sara so I can’t talk to Sara today. Leanne doesn’t want to go swimming, everyone else is going hiking so I must go with them, and God forbid I go swimming with a new friend. That’s like high treason! Maybe my friends have planned to go out, but I’m not feeling like it so I stay home = Everyone’s mad at me!
If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “I don’t do these things,” you are probably lying to yourself or have yet to reach a point of honesty with yourself to admit that, yes, you to are guilty of these things. If, like me, you recognise yourself in the above statements, you too have suffered by bending to the will of others.
State Of The Union
Reading and watching the news this last week has been horrific. Actually all of 2016 has been one tragedy after another and we haven’t even hit the US Presidential elections yet! As I was watching the recap of the Dallas police shootings, I was overwhelmed by how angry the US is these days. Everyone is searching for a reason why. It got me thinking about my childhood, about growing up and coming of age in Washington state. I realise that we’re pretty much all guilty of being self-centred, judgy-jerks!
I’m was a beautiful, intelligent, independent little girl. Athletic, smart, people really liked me, but I got bullied most of elementary school. In middle school and high school I was fiercely independent and it cost me dearly. While we all praised people who did their own thing, people like that were a threat. They weren’t a threat because they were independent, they were a threat because they couldn’t be controlled by others. I searched desperately for someone who would let me be me, and appreciate me for it!
Coming Of Age
It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I began to find people who appreciated me. This was also the time period that my illness kicked in making being friends with me utterly impossible at times! Stability and coming into my 40’s has definitely evened things out, but it has also led me into some amazing friendships, the kind I have searched for my whole life. I have finally found people who appreciate me for who I am, encourage me to do the things I want to do, and who are not upset that I’m not doing everything with them.
Lately, I have looked at why I appreciate my friends and what my approach to friendship has developed into. One month ago I broke my leg, a week after that my husband left for a week on business. I spent 7 days with my six year old, alone, hobbling on crutches! I put out the call for help and it was so well received! I was so well taken care of for that week! Coffee was brought in the morning, sometimes breakfast to! Coffee some afternoons, and dinner each night. (I wish I’d break my leg for often!)
To Make A Friend, You Have To Be A Friend
When I was bullied in grade school, I used to come home upset and crying each night. My mother told me to look around on the playground for other kids to play with. I remember the fear in my thinking, that no one would play with me and all the kids on the playground were against me. But I did what she said, and I found other kids to play with. I’m lucky that making friends has always come easy to me.
Still today, making friends comes easy, in large part because I am a friend to everyone. I’ve learned that being a friend means you allow the other person to be themselves. For me I live by 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. I never have seen this passage as the “love and marriage” passage as it is, but as a guide to relationships, friendships.
Friendship is patient, friendship is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Friendship does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Friendship never fails.
I read a copy of this bible passage when I was in junior high in relation to family relationships. What Paul was talking about was greater then just the love between a man and a woman, but unfortunately is has become somehow only relegated to marriage. This passage has so much more to offer all of our relationships.
We all need patience, kindness, forgiveness, truth, trust, and a relationship the will not fail us! I can be a right jerk at times. I can be flakey, and rude, but I still need my friends. No one is perfect, but you do have to speak up. If you go away and hide, I’m not coming after you, unless you tell me to! I don’t expect my friends to read my mind, thats why we have amazing language to share our complex emotions.
So if you have a friend, if you are a friend, read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and apply it to your friendships. Its an amazing change for your heart to consider your friendships in this way!