I will be the first to admit that I am not the greatest at being friends with people. Especially friends with other girls. But really, just friends in general.
I can remember as far back as elementary when I started public school. At the start of every new school year I’d pick a person I got along with (they usually sat next to me in class) and we quickly became “best friends”. We hung out during recess, helped each other out with classwork and chatted on the phone occasionally on the weekends. Nothing would be wrong but all of a sudden, I’d get bored of them…literally tired of them.
This usually happened by the end of the school year. And I’d drop them. Actually stop talking to them with no notice as to why.
As we signed each others yearbooks they’d make me promise we would hang out during the summer. I agreed while fully knowing in my mind, heart and soul that I’d never talk to them again.
Every school year I chose a new best friend. I remember towards the end of 3rd grade on the playground I had gotten into a petty fight with my current at the time best friend. I told her I didn’t want to be her friend anymore and I started to storm off (I’ve always loved a dramatic exit). To this day I remember as if it was yesterday, as I stormed off I passed the previous years’ best friend and she very clearly said,
“Well, there goes another one…”
The pang of guilt I felt in that moment was too much for a third grader to fully articulate. But this 27 year old can: I was embarrassed, ashamed, I felt small.
But I didn’t change. Wanted to. But just couldn’t. I still got tired of them, got bored of them, they had nothing new to offer me, I had learned everything I needed to know about them within those 9 months together.
High school was the first time I remained friends with certain people for longer than a school year. Confession: There was absolutely a time I felt bored of some of them, tired of some of them, felt I knew everything about them already…but I didn’t break off our friendship.
When I went off to Bible college I was meeting a ton of new people, making a ton of new friends. We all hung out everyday, during classes, after classes, lunch and dinner, in our dorms/apartments. I confessed to a close friend my track record with friendships. I think I was trying to warn her. She looked me in the eye and told me that she is not going anywhere, she won’t let me bail out on our friendship. She was the most intentional friend. She didn’t give up on me and would not allow me to give up on her haha!
I needed her during that time. She helped me come face to face with this weird thing I do in friendships. I realized that my view of friendships was “I don’t NEED friends. I don’t NEED people” and it came from watching my mom in her friendships. Now this is not bashing my mom in any way, just to make that VERY clear before you read on (especially if my mom is reading this haha hey ma).
My mom has never felt the NEED to have a best friend, someone always hanging out with her, always texting her, always wanting to be together. That’s just not who my mom is. She enjoys her alone time (#introvert). She absolutely had friends but always kept them at a safe distance. I unknowingly picked up on this and began to believe I didn’t need to let people in, didn’t need to let them get too close and that it was totally normal and okay to just drop people and not talk to them anymore. This is not to say this is what my mom did, this is just how that thinking manifested in me.
My motto for a while became “friendships are seasonal”. That was my legit excuse whenever someone annoyed me or bored me and I was ready to drop them.
Over the years I learned that this is not what it looks like to have gospel friendships. I’ve made LIFE-LONG friends that will not allow me to just drop ’em. I am continuing to learn that it’s better to have just a few close friends, being picky and choosy about who I share things with and who I don’t. Using discernment to see who I can trust and who I can’t when I make new friends. Gossip is a bitch and I’ve been hurt by friends gossiping about me, in turn I’d gossip about them. Now it is a conscious decision for me to choose to not gossip about a friend.
My mom taught me that gossip is “any conversation where you mention a third party and they are unable to defend themselves in that conversation.”
That is the bar I (try to) hold my conversations up to. I fail, a lot more times than I care to admit actually. I’m working on it. I have a circle of friends that have the freedom to lovingly call me out on my sin–and they do. I learn what it looks like to be a faithful and constant friend. I’m far from the “best” friend title, but I like that this is my journey, my challenge, and I have incredible friends around me who won’t quit on me and won’t allow me to quit on them.