Lessons from friendship barriers

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Listen here:

Friendship Lessons can be difficult and costly. Yet, the fact that I learned from them means that growth has truly happened. 

Barrier 1: Silence • I like to call this one “ghosting.” Everything is going well until your friend “ghosts” you. There is silence or lack of communication. Because the nature of healthy friendships is to be a two-way street, silence is a friendship barrier. What to do? Assess the situation. Your friend may be going through a crisis or a difficult season in life. In this case, you need to apply empathy and lend a helping hand. Helping your friend means different things to different people. I have a friend who did not want me to come see her, although that’s what I would prefer. I respected her choice. My friend simply wanted to know that I was praying for her. Praying I did! Communication resumed when things got better. I have also experienced ghosting for the opposite reason. The person truly was not thinking about me. I was not needed in her life. So I took the silence as a sign. Although it hurt, I learned to respect that person’s request. I am here to tell you that we both have lived happily ever after. If someone does not want you in her life, learn to pray and release. There are better friends for you out there. Develop a mindset of abundance when it comes to friendships. 

Barrier 2: Passive-aggressive • The habit of expressing negative feelings indirectly instead of openly addressing issues is common in this friendship barrier. I’ve been in group situations where a conversation is happening and when it is my time to speak, one or several people look at me with a disgusted look on their faces. I’ve been in situations when I am doing something with a group and a passive-aggressive comment is made about what I am doing with the intention to damage me. I noticed that these actions are not direct, open and with the intention of achieving mutual understanding. I honestly am yet to think that a loving, honest conversation will fix these behaviors I described. Some people are not willing to reconcile, understand or get to know my side of things. I find that forgiveness is my priority because I am only responsible for myself. When their behavior persists, I recognize it in my own mind. I forgive and I let go. I let the person behave as she chooses. I remind myself that God sees. I remind myself that I am only responsible for myself so I show up as the authentic person God created me to be. I don’t insist on winning this person over because they are demonstrating their desire to demise my character. I release them with forgiveness and a prayer of blessing. I keep being kind and friendly to everyone around me. 

Barrier 3: Lies • Recently I had to work through this barrier with the additional challenge that an open conversation was not possible. In this case, I prayed a lot. I found counsel in this area. I turned the situation over to God and found peace in my heart. One of the greatest realizations I’ve had is that I am truly, only responsible for myself. If a person spreads lies about me and a conversation is not possible, I process it and I seek counsel. I forgive and go on living, knowing that God sees and He cares. I found great freedom with this approach. A situation of “he said/she said” taught me the value of being responsible for my actions. In this case, I asked the messenger to please allow me to know who made a complaint about me so I could set the record straight. I was told “no.” I felt sad, yet, I decided to be truthful to my word and continue to be an agent of peace and care. I took the situation as a clear reflection of the group of people involved. I find that when I collect situations as data points, my future decisions are wiser. For example, I learned that whatever I say among that particular group will be distorted. I also practice speaking the truth. Still, knowing that some are out to start confusion just informs my friendship decisions. While I wish that every situation was easy to solve, life is not that predictable. I learned that God’s Word is my anchor in life. God wants me to live in peace. He wants me to forgive. He also wants me to be wise. 

Barrier 4: Flakiness • I have a Master’s Degree in small talk but I know how to work myself to issues that encourage the heart. I’m not good with fluff, flakiness or shallow acquaintances. While I understand that it takes time to develop a deep friendship, flakiness is a barrier. How do I combat flakiness? I accept the person for what she displays. I remember trying to get to know a person. I listened closely to all the things she said. My listening was not so I could have my chance to speak nor was it so that I could become this person’s best friend. I listened to understand her. I learned she was in a challenging season in life. I learned she was looking for a completely different person than the person I am. I wished her well (internally) as I continue to encourage this person every time I see her. When flakiness is a barrier, I listen to understand. 

I want you to know that what has happened to you does not define the type of friend you are. All of us go through difficult friendship situations. See yourself as God sees you. You are a person of worth and value. You are a good friend. I’m sorry that friendship barriers came your way. The truth is, you are stronger because of them. You are able to continue to be excellent to others. You are a treasure my friend!