I had a conversation with a very dear friend of mine which I had been stalling for a very long time. After many postponements, shying away and practically running away from having the conversation with my dear friend, this week became the proverbial day of judgement!
One thing I'm grateful for is that this conversation saved the life of a deep friendship that could have been lost over what I'm sure would be so trivial in a few years' time that we would both struggle to even remember why it was important in the first place.
A few things I learnt:
1. It may seem far-fetched but solid Christian friendships are a threat to the devil. When you lose a true friend in Christ, you miss out on a great prayer partner, or you could potentially miss out on a wonderful destiny helper or even an encourager in your low periods.
2. As much as possible, value your relationships. Yes, not all are meant to remain for life but treasure the truly good ones and do as much as lies within your power to preserve them.
3. Communication is so important! Thrash it out, talk it through. Don't make assumptions, don't expect the other person to be a mind-reader. Don't allow thoughts and imaginations form in your mind - give them the benefit of your doubt! Ask!
4. Pray for your friends regularly. You never know what they are going through and at that point, the only person that they may be willing to speak with or who can really help them is God. I believe prayer is one of, if not THE best love language.
5. Good friendships are not devoid of conflict. Conflict will come, it's what you do that determines whether it makes your relationship stronger or ends it. When you know that conflict/disagreements are normal, it shouldn't surprise or upset you when they come. Deal with it, your friends are only human, they will never be able to be perfect or to perfectly meet your expectations/needs.
6. Learn to forgive and completely let go. Learn to be able to go back to the place of friendship even after a conflict (no matter how bad). I struggle with this as things may get a bit awkward but thank God for my friends who are teaching me how to go back to the place of friendship after an awkward bust-up :-)
7. It's okay to be vulnerable. 'Not every time macho-woman/man, sometimes show weakness'.. You're human after all. It's okay for you to show that you messed up and still face them afterwards. It's okay for people to see that you're not perfect... Learn to let your guard down without fear of being taken for granted or feeling like a fool (Even if you do, everyone has felt foolish at one point or the other).
8. Sometimes all it takes to make things right is a conversation and the words "I'm sorry".... For real friendships/relationships, it does wonders! Don't let that ever be difficult for you to say :-)
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If you have been holding back re-opening the door of friendship to someone dear to you, now is the time to go for it! Stop stalling, just do it. You never know just how much you are losing out! Go ahead, take that step, make that phone call, pay that visit, hear them out... Save your friendship/relationship.
If you're really struggling, please pray about it. God understands and He is willing to help you.
Alrighty, that's all I have to say for now... What do you think, what lessons have you learnt in friendship? Please share!