Why You Still Need Freedom On Your Friendship

I must be getting older. It feels like the world I knew is changing right before my eyes. I imagine that is how every generation feels as they age. There have been both good and bad changes. Some have been necessary but some have come with decline.

I graduated from college in 2002 without a computer. I actually typed my papers. When I began my professional career in 2004, secretaries were still typing to dictation for a few of the old-timers at work. That same year, we got laptops. In 2007, we went online for reporting. In 2011, machines were brought in that we had to learn to use. By 2014, I was struggling to keep up.

I had to learn texting, social media and new gadgets. I recently found out that CDs are old. Since when? Now I have to upload my music! What happened to when we just answered a real phone and hand wrote a letter?

Customer service even seems to be a bygone. I went to a bead store that charged to wait on you. I walked right back out. Tips used to be for exceptional service. Now, they are expected.

Today, you can talk to someone but it may cost you. Granted, some counseling services are vital but now, people are charging big bucks for spiritual direction, life coaching and therapy. How many of these people know you inside and out or even care once the session is over or you cannot pay them?

Your best resource are your friends if they are good ones. You only need one. You’re blessed if you have more.

Chances are, your childhood or long-term friends know you as well as they know themselves. They would never charge a fee to talk or listen. They don’t judge, only give advice if they see you in harm’s way and love you in spite of your flaws. You do the same for them.

I’ve loved watching God at work in the lives of both my childhood friend and myself. Each time we talk, it is confirmed. Neither of us are perfect but we get more out of our conversations than any fee from a stranger could provide.

I’ve been trained in reflective listening and understand the purpose but I personally hate it when it is being used on me. I recognize it the second I hear it. I would much rather be with a friend who totally gets it.

One of the best out pours of love from a young woman at church once was when she showed up at my door with a huge basket of chocolate. She said, “I know you and this is a chocolate moment.” I said, “Oh, you’re good!”. That’s what I’m talking about.

Healing Prospective On Friendship

I thank God for my childhood friend. I have one best friend (other than of course, my husband). Actually, I show her more of the raw feelings than my husband because of our backgrounds. We can tell each other anything and have it not be a shock. We have seen every emotion in each other. We have gone through childhood, marriages and raising children to adulthood.

About twelve years ago, I got excited about positive thinking topics. I worked hard on self-improvement and saw results. It’s only been in the past four years that I’ve had difficulty keeping up with it. There are a variety of reasons for this. The kids are grown now. My father died. I’ve moved a couple of times and left my career. It takes time to build new relationships. What used to be seen as enthusiasm as a young person can be viewed as annoying as an older person. Trends change and opportunities become fewer.

At least one thing the people on my caseload appreciated was that they could talk to me about almost anything. They didn’t have to say what they thought I wanted to hear. If they were agitated, I would say, “It sounds like you’re having a rough day. Let’s talk about it.” They always left feeling better than when they arrived. I miss those conversations, too.

Church can be awkward sometimes because on Sunday mornings, people are in a hurry and have families that need attending to. If there are individuals who are feeling discouraged, those feelings may not be addressed and an opportunity missed.

Whether in positive thinking, healing or prosperity teachings, real life can sometimes be glossed over. Yes, how we react to an event can determine an outcome. No, Santa Claus does not deliver toys to every child in the world. No, not every person is healed. No, not every determined, hard worker will see their dreams come true or become wealthy.

Smiling, thinking positive and “fake it ’til you make it” will not take away the pain of crime, war, violence, disease, injury or oppression. Standing up for justice, action and change can.

I’m glad that I have a friend I can be real with and she with me. We laugh, cry, curse if needed (in extreme situations), sometimes all in the same conversation. There is no faking it. This may sound strange but in a way, God is part of the conversation. There is more healing taking place in that moment for me than any other setting.

How To Remember Long Lost Friends

I don’t remember when they first popped up in my life, but I suspect I was about four years old. My memories before kindergarten are few. The family living room was the first room you entered as you came in the front door. We lived in a two family house on the first floor, with my grandparents on the second floor. They actually owned the home which was located on a busy avenue in a small New Jersey city.

My imaginary friends lived in the wall behind the front door. I would knock on the wall and press my face up against it trying to look through the painted sheet rock to catch a glimpse of their world. I guess I created Cooney, Chetty and Susan because I wanted someone to play with. I was so ahead of my time creating a virtual play date.

Usually when asked if they wanted to play, Susan was most times the only one who could, because Chetty and Susan were always going to Florida and leaving Susan home. I felt bad for her. We would dance for hours in the living room, doing fabulous stunts off of the hassock looking at ourselves in the wall of mirrors my parents had installed at the time. That was the style in the 70’s. We had an entire wall of mirror tiles with a crackle film overlay. So hip! Oh, don’t dare get your fingerprints on them though as you would hear the wrath of my mother. It was one of the many things that ticked her off.

I remember running over to the half wall in between the dining room and the kitchen as my father and mother were seated finishing dinner, telling them tales of my friends and just sitting there chewing and nodding their heads as if this was normal and just fine with them. I was friggin’ crazy and they let me go with it. If I’m being truthful, I always had the feeling they thought I was a bit off.

Can’t recall when my friends disappeared and we stopped playing together, but I have yet to doubt their existence. I wonder why I named them these crazy names. I mean Susan is mainstream, but Cooney and Chetty? Their names are as familiar as the friends I had in elementary school. I have no recollection of their appearance. That will forever remain a mystery.

Experts would say children develop imaginary friends to help deal with change or times of transition. Maybe subconsciously I knew that my life would change soon, sort of a sixth sense, because up until this point I think we were happy as a family. Again my memories at this age and younger are sparse. All I do know is my imaginary friends were comforting to me, like a blankie or stuffed animal.

Types Of Your Friends

“People are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

I don’t remember if I read this on a greeting card, a meme or what but it has really stuck with me and helped me understand so much. For most of my younger life I wandered around wondering why friends I thought would be friends for life were no longer there for me. I had this idea in my head that if someone was truly a friend they would be there for life.

The fact is there are many different levels of friendships and relationships and if people were more accepting of this fact they would ultimately be much happier. If people would be more honest with one another and more clearly define what their relationship was it would save a lot of misunderstanding and heartache. If people would learn to move on from a relationship that was over they would be better off; learn what there was to learn from it but move on.

All the people that come into your life just are not going to be friends for your whole life and that is OK. Those kind of friendships are rare. If you have one person in your life that is friends with you for life you are truly blessed. Those types of friendships are usually between a married couple who stay together for life.

Know the value of just being a friend. Why is it that every opposite sex relationship thinks they have to be boyfriend/girlfriend? Why can’t we just have guys that are good friends and girls that are good friends? Even a marriage relationship needs to have a strong foundation of friendship. What is a friend anyway? Well, it is a person you know and with whom you have a bond of mutual affection. Friendship is exclusive of sexual or family relations. Although your spouse should be your best friend, still your friendship should have nothing to do with sexual relations. And as far as family, yes, you may have a friend who is also related to you but even then your friendship should not have anything to do with being related to them. These two explanations are what I mean by ‘Friendship is exclusive of sexual or family relations’. Don’t undervalue friendship, both having friends and being a good friend.

Let’s look at the different kinds of friendships:

• THE SOCIAL FRIEND: This is the kind of friend that most people have most of. This kind of friend is not someone who you hang out with all the time or live with but you know them and associate with them at a bar, church, store or some other public place. Friends you have that have moved far way fall under this category. They are nice to talk to when you see them and are usually good for a laugh. They are not good for sharing a problem with. Sometimes you leave wishing you hung around together more but that just isn’t this kind of friend. Just accept your relationship for what it is.

• THE COUNSELOR: This is a friend you go to when you need advice or just someone to listen. You value their wisdom or at least the fact that they are good listeners and empathize with you. You can tell this kind of friend almost anything without fear of gossip or condemnation. They are the kind of friend you can trust but you just don’t hang out together, unless you want to talk about something important.

• FUN BOY/GIRL: This kind of friend can usually be counted on to go somewhere with you at a moment’s notice. They like hanging out with you whether it is going to the store or a bar or whatever. They are good tension relievers because you know you are just going to have a good time, let your hair down, maybe even be a little crazy. This kind of friend is not the kind of friend you go to for advice; in fact you should not put a damper on your relationship by getting serious with them about something. They are trustworthy and you know they aren’t going to gossip about what you do together. Don’t expect anything else from this kind of friend; just have a good time.

• SPIRITUAL BROTHER/SISTER: This kind of friend is most often found in churches but not always. This kind of friend is someone that is fun to be around but not like Fun Boy/Girl. It is a more laid back relationship that you can sit around with them at home and talk about God, family or spiritual matters. This kind of friend will pray for you and even help you out on a project or a loan or something. You can’t really cut loose like you can with Fun Boy/Girl but it is good to have this kind of friend when you just don’t want to be too wild but want to have a good time. This is the kind of friend that you just leave with a ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’. This friend leaves you with a fulfilled feeling. They make you feel good about yourself. They are sometimes good for sharing things with like The Counselor but usually they just are a pleasure to know.

• WORK FRIEND: This is the friends that you have at work. You interact at work only. This may include going to break together, maybe even shopping with them or running an errand during lunch or after work. They are usually not good to get advice from but on some occasions things might be discussed and you give each other advice. Mostly though you talk about the job, family and other friends.

• LIFETIME FRIEND: This friendship is very rare and as I said usually is found in marriage relationships they stay together for life. This friend is all the above all rolled up in one.

The Bible has this to say about friendship: “A good friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”(Proverbs 17:17). These are the type of human relations we should desire on all levels whether friend or spouse. Look at what the Word has to say about the value of friendship: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6) “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17). 1 Samuel 18:1 describes the friendship of Jonathan and David being so strong that their ‘souls were knit together’.