Friendships are one area of life in which we probably put way too much pressure on ourselves, or way to much pressure on those around us. I was reading an article on children and friendships. The article said that you shouldn’t put the term “best friend” on your children’s friends, and that you should help them to not label their friends either. The reason being, was that the term “best friend” is a heck of a lot of pressure. It results in kids being jealous when their bff is spending time with other kids. As the kids grow and change, especially approaching middle-school, who they hang out with may change too. It can be taken much more personal if they hold the title “Bestie” instead of just being a really good friend. It may also keep your kids from developing multiple healthy relationships, because they are content to just be friends with one other kid.
Beyond articles and gradeschool children, some of this can be helpful to us and our view of relationships. First off, why feel bad because you don’t have a best friend? There is no reason to desperately search for one either. I don’t know why, but it just seems that the best friend mentality can put alot of pressure on women. They can become convinced that they don’t have good relationships. Or they can put unnecessary stress on relationships that would otherwise be really good. Friendships take time. Someone who is a dear acquaintance today may be your best friend in five years. Or they might not be involved in your life at all by then. Worrying about friendship rank is way too much pressure. Know who the people are who are involved in your life, and know the people who you want to put effort into relationships with. I think it is great to have 3-8 people who you actively involve in your life. Its not wrong to know who is closest with you, or who you want to invest the most time and laughter into. I make lists about twice a year of who my “faithful friends” are, my “would be friends” who are either new, or people who i have known without yet being close too. Finally, I make a list of “confusing friends,” people who are involved in my life but don’t put tons of initiative into our friendship. Or who do put tons of initiative into our relationship, but never speak encouragement, or have certain quirks I don’t know how to deal with or, well you get the picture. Confusing friends. Do you have these different categories of Friends. Do you pray about each group… Blessing for them? Wisdom for you? “Mutually encouraging” relationship for both of you?
When you have people who don’t put effort back into your relationship, don’t freak. Just take some time to think about them. I pray about these situations. In some situations, I continue to pursue the people because I know that I am ok with being the one who puts initiative into the relationship. Sometimes I back up, and see if the other person starts to “pursue me.” Either way, its important to have the right perspective in a relationship like this. Otherwise you can become 1. a stalker, 2. frustrated with the person, 3. convinced that no one wants to be your friend, when really you are just pursuing “the wrong person.” Sometimes God will give you the go ahead, and you will know that you are just being a blessing to this person. Other times you may realize that you need to drop the relationship for a season. Friends are people who are faithful in each others lives, but not stalkers!
I hope this post has made you think about how you THINK about relationships. Finding freedom and knowing what is the right approach in each situation will help you avoid being a possessive friend or a depressive friend. Having truly good relationships is worth working for. Thinking through. Praying over.
And as far as those “grade school kids” go, they will learn a lot more from watching their parents engage in healthy friendships than they ever could by simply avoiding a little bff name-calling.