Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Price of Being A Good Friend

As obnoxiously cliche as it is, sometimes being a good friend is the hardest thing in the world to do. I think though, that if you make that sacrifice, it is also one of the most rewarding.

Recently I spoke with two friends, one at a time, having a real heart to heart. I spoke with them about things that concerned me and tried to just be completely open with them. I received two different responses and I know why. It had very little to do with the fact that one was male and the other female. It also had very little to do with the subject matter. It all came down to the history behind it.

Female friend has been a good friend of mine for years. We talked a lot and we knew a lot about each other. I knew her family pretty well and she knew mine. We shared a lot of 'secrets' and had grown to love each other as true friends. For a couple of years, however, I was not completely honest with her. I beat around the bush with things that bothered me, tried to smile even when she was breaking my heart, and bit my tongue when I felt like being "preachy". Knowing that, I look back and know that although she may have been a true friend to me, I was not to her. I didn't watch out for her like I wanted to. I just tried to keep things easy.

Recently I went to her and confessed all of these feelings and reservations I had been hanging on to since she left for college. I put it all out on the table and apologized for not having said any of this before. As was expected, she was very hurt. She didn't want to talk to me afterward and two weeks later, I still haven't heard from her except for one thing. She wrote me the next day to tell me that she didn't hate me (I had warned her that she might) but that she was hurting. She said that she respected me for coming clean and she wanted to talk to me in person when she got home from school. That was it. I was relieved to see it but at the same time, felt even worse - if that was possible. I'm glad she could at least respect that I was telling her these things out of love, but I was so ashamed to not have done that from the beginning.

Male friend, on the other hand, was quite the opposite. After an hour and a half of openness and honesty we could still laugh as we hung up the phone. He was receptive to me and my concerns and assured me that he, too, was aware. He assured me in a very kind, gentle, and non-demeaning way that he knew what he was doing. We talked like real friends, shared real concerns, bonded over mutual feelings. It was one of the most productive chats we've had in a while. There was no anxiety to be rid of, no anger or frustration. There was no jealousy, no hard feelings - just a whole lot of honesty. I could feel the love the entire time we were speaking and I knew hanging up the phone that we had both grown so much since we first started talking. Our relationship jumped after that to a whole new level of maturity and respect. I benefited from being gutsy and honest, knowing and understanding that the consequences could be less than desirable. He could have been short with me, told me to mind my own business, flat out ignored me. But he didn't... and it was because of the history. I don't hide my feelings or mask my anxiety when it comes to him and his decisions. I let him know when things bother me and show my admiration when he takes a step in the right direction. As odd as all of that sounds, it's healthy. We are true friends.

So I say it again, sometimes being a good friend is the hardest thing in the world to do. I think though, that if you make that sacrifice, it is also one of the most rewarding. I certainly have learned this lesson and look forward to growing in love with each of my friends by being as open and honest as possible and sharing with each other the love that comes from those things. + Lord, bless my friendships and make them holy.


Anonymous Tony said...

It had very little to do with the fact that one was male and the other female.


5/03/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Thank you for posting this. A good friend who you can be honest with is a rare find indeed.

5/03/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger onionboy said...

Guys are so much cooler eh?

5/03/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Angela Louise said...

Laura... you rock.

5/04/2006 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger Georgette said...

It's a security thing. The friend who had a tougher time facing the fact laid out bare, probably has some insecurities your other friend does not have. Different levels of maturity. We are all on different points in our path towards heaven; we just need to accept that and be patient with one another! How nice it is to have friends to help pull us along when we start lagging behind or straying! You were a good buddy!

5/05/2006 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger ~m2~ said...

what georgette said :)

it is difficult but you did what you felt was necessary; i pray peace be restored to your friend who is still away, however, sometimes we have friends for *seasons*...

my grandfather used to tell me if you could count your friends in your lifetime on one hand, you were lucky. i thought he was crazy at the time but now i realize how true his words were.

5/05/2006 07:20:00 AM  

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