Sunday Seven

Sunday, April 30, 2023

I believe we all have friendship practices. We gravitate to the same actions when it comes to forming friendships. The past few years allowed me to learn a lot about my practices. To summarize my approach:  I would free fall into friendships. 

There are pros and cons. The pros are the amazing friends I made. The cons are friendship hurts that could be avoided with careful consideration. Here are my top lessons:

1. "No" - I practiced saying "no" a lot. In the past, I'd inconvenience myself a whole lot on behalf of someone who didn't care about me. To put it in context, when you work full-time and commute 10 hours a week, every remaining hour is precious. I assigned those precious hours to myself and my family. My "No" came from a wise heart that wanted to be a great steward of the time God graciously gives me. 

2. Neighbors - I make it a priority to get to know my neighbors. We learned they are excellent people. Cultivating a good relationship with neighbors is one of the best decisions we made. Life is happier when I connect with my neighbors. We also learned we can truly count on each other. I'm grateful.

3. Memory - It felt weird to start over in the friend department. That's when my memory kicked in. I do have great friends. All I needed to do was to reach out. 

4. Kept in touch - I kept in touch with several friends. I get encouraged by reaching out and hearing about their lives.  

5. Slow friendship - I've been so conditioned to freefall into friendships that I never learned to allow friendships to arrive slowly. I remember telling myself, "It's okay to let friendships arrive slowly." That's where I am friends. 

6. Remained friendly - I learned to remain friendly because that's what the Bible encourages me to do. A friendly person is not deterred by her circumstances. Friendliness need not be deferred due to a recent move.  Friendliness is a state of mind as well as an action. It seeks no reward or payment: it just is. What a lovely way to live. 

7. Boundaries - I'm not everyone's cup of tea. To be completely honest, my Christian lifestyle is a deterrent to some people I see every day. Boundaries allow me to remember that I don't have to be everyone's friend. Boundaries also come in handy when someone's lifestyle is toxic on occasion. I do not have to be part of a toxic ecosystem. I can pray. I can encourage (if that's even welcomed). What I can't do is to be dragged down by toxicity. Boundaries are an effective tool. 

What are your friendship practices? What are some things you learned this past year?