Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Confession: I'm really bad at friendship.

I just wrote a bunch of stuff that would've been a blog entry, but all it amounted to was a whiny pathetic rambling of word vomit. So I'm starting over.

I was in need of a new book to use for my quiet time, so I went to my cabinet where I keep such things and pulled out another little beauty by Jen Hatmaker. (I'm a super fan. Don't judge.) This one is called Girl Talk: Getting Past the Chitchat.
I found a bookmark about halfway thru it which tells me I didn't finish it on my first attempt however many years ago (too long for me to even remember)(that could really be anything more than a year.)
I sat down in my cozy red chair with my coffee and my journal and my pencil and opened to that first chapter. I didn't finish it.

Friendship scares me.

Friendship intimidates me.

Friendship makes me vulnerable.

I've been hurt by friends. Badly. Some people who at one time were my best friends in the whole world aren't my friends anymore. Sometimes there's reconciliation, but it's never quite the same.

So I put my guard up.

I make excuses.

But it needs to stop.

So I'll give Jen another chance. I'll sit down with Girl Talk again tomorrow and try to get through the first chapter without rolling my eyes or justifying my tendency to self-preserve.

I know I'm not the only one in the world who struggles with friendships, but I wonder, if this is a  prevalent issue for women in ministry. I have a lot of thoughts. I need to process.

I'll get back to you on this.....


Caitlyn Wymer said...

Yes. Just, yes to all that. I can usually only commit to pursuing two dedicated friendships at a time in any given setting. High school? Two best friends. College? Well, I watched "Friends." Church? Two best friends. As a pastor's wife and just as a human, I'm having to learn that stupid, painful lesson of loving people, being hurt by them, and then choosing to try and love them regardless. So. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this. Also maybe I should read this book too?

MammaCookie said...

I get this, I so get this. I have a good friend that for lack of a better term I call my best friend, our relationship is good but I feel like something is lacking and I don't know how or if it should change. I long for a soul sister, someone to do lunch and life with, someone to take road trips and shopping trips, someone to share the ins and outs with, someone to get real and messy with. I will pray that you find the courage to look hard for what God has for you. Love you sweet friend.

Kristen Kellough said...

I am SO right there with you. Making friends is exhausting! I hate the entire process of small talk and pleasantries, but once I force myself to get past that, that person has earned the title of friend for life. My criteria to even call someone a friend is if I feel comfortable with them one on one. I'm glad it seems I'm not the only one!

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, it's Wes. I have many thoughts on this subject and would like to share a few. Friendships are very important to me - I think anyone who knows me well knows that. They do, however, require a lot of maintenance and a lot of effort. Times change, relationships change, circumstances change, locations change, and there are a million other reasons that friendships don't survive or stand the test of time. Friendships are also a two-way street and often what one person expects out of the friendship/relationship is not reciprocated and that can cause people to drift apart. When you're in a somewhat controlled environment (i.e. high school), it's easy to maintain friendships because you are in the same places with the same group of people at the same time with similar interests. Once you get out into the real world, everyone's lives tend to go in a variety of directions and, thus, it takes a lot of effort to maintain solid friendships. Then you tend to become friends with people out of convenience - those who happen to be involved in the same activities as you and/or your kids/family. I find that these relationships don't have the depth of a real solid friendship like those with whom you have actual passion in common.

I could go on and on because this is a sensitive topic to me and I put a lot of myself out there to people I care about. I have learned over the years that you cannot expect your friends to reciprocate the way that you want them to and you cannot expect them to care about you the same way you care about them. That's just life. Once I learned that and understood it, I felt at ease and stopped getting upset at people for not putting in the same effort to friendships and relationships that I had (and still do). I like to keep in touch with people (facebook, email, phone calls, ACTUAL hand-written mail) and that's something that helps me stay connected and is how I can show my effort to maintain friendships. I don't expect anything in return anymore and I've come to be 100% ok with that...well, 99% ok with that.

Ok, that's all I have for now - much more in my head that doesn't translate to the computer well, or would take up another 10-15 minutes of your time. :-)

Amy Frans said...

Wes, thank you for your thoughts. They are very good, especially "I felt at ease and stopped getting upset at people for not putting in the same effort to friendships and relationships that I had (and still do)." I need to learn that.
And your actual hand written mail is a welcome surprise in our mailbox! :-)

Amy Frans said...

SO exhausting! Glad neither one of us are alone. :-)

Amy Frans said...

Yes! To all of that!
Thank you, Shelly.

Amy Frans said...

It's a great book!! On a side, note, and I will probably talk about it some here, Relentless by Jennie Allen is rocking my world right now.

Bonnie said...

I definitely identify. I think that one of my biggest issues is that, to me, girls are scary. I've grown up surrounded by boys. They make sense to me.
But mostly...I don't feel the need to compare myself to them.
With women, on the other hand, I find myself immediately comparing myself before I even have the chance to find out their name.
Men seem to throw so much of themselves out in the open, where I think that we tend to hide a little more behind our walls. So I find myself thinking
Do they really like me?
Is that a genuine response?
Are we actually talking about anything right now?
And because they seem to have everything together I take the first opportunity to run before I compare myself down to shreds.

I have to be so careful to battle these thoughts when they arise (with frequency). And I have to remind myself that I need to be transparent...which implies a different connotation than vulnerable does in my opinion. I might have to check out this book...can't wait to hear more. Thanks so much for, again, voicing my problem areas!

Mike and Cymbre said...

I've been blessed by my friendships throughout my life…and as I hear other women who struggle (my mom being one of them) with friendship, it does hurt my heart because I know how rejuvenating an amazing friendship can be. With that said, I have one friendship that I am just realizing how toxic it was to me and how much it changed me in a negative way. I knew when I was in the midst of it that it was a tough one…I won't go into detail but I wasn't able to address the issues or get away from the friendship. Once we moved to another town, the friendship fizzled on its own and I feel so much less stressed when it comes to my friendships. It made me see thankful that I hadn't experienced many bad friendships or the negative side to having a close friend. Now, with THAT being said, I am so very thankful that God has blessed me with an amazing friend since kindergarten…she was my biggest encourager when I began walking with Christ and played such a huge role in most milestones in my life. I don't know what I'd do without her. My other blessing in regards to friendship came when we moved to our previous church. God put a woman in my life that allowed me to be completely honest with her, knowing that what I shared would go no further. I was able to talk about church stuff, personal stuff, you name it! Even though we have tons of fun together and have shared lots of experiences, it is my ability as a pastor's wife to have a friend in the church we serve that I KNOW I can trust that I hold most dear.

Although I remain in close contact with those 2 friends, I know I need a close current friendship in my life. That's just how I am. Being new at a church makes it tough to find that friend…who I don't feel in competition with…who can love me for me…who won't judge…who can understand the life of a minister's wife…etc.