Thursday, September 11, 2014

Adult Friendships: Part 2 of 2

In all truth, I don’t think we consciously know what we are doing all the time. I think after so much time it becomes like second nature. We hear a new friend say something that triggers a memory and we retreat. We offer to hang out or talk, they say they are busy or do not respond, and so our first and initial reaction it to cut them off because we don’t like even the potential and possible hint of rejection.

Finally, I think it is more difficult to become friends as we get older because, not only does it mean being open and vulnerable with another person; but it means that we have to carve out time from our life. One has to be a lot more intentional.
> When we were young we didn’t have as many responsibilities and friends; yet, as we get older our list of duties, of rules, of hurts, of wounds; all of these things grow and become part of who we are inside. To become friends later in life means letting someone into this larger and more complex world that we have become. I think we find this scary. I think the reason it is harder to make friends as one gets older is simply this: Fear.

There was a time when we were young and innocent, that we trusted others, when we simply asked someone if they wanted to be friends; however, now we become much more general, asking people if they want to hangout sometime or how they are doing? We put these responses out there, seeing, hoping to get a response. How and when the person responds either continues the friendship and brings connection or severs it.

Today, be thankful for the friends you have but also do not let your thoughts stay on thankfulness alone but on building and nurturing such friendships. The old ones, people whom you loved and cared for, go back and thank these people in some way, let them know how they have personally touched your life.

>What about those new friendships? Work on carving out time to make new friends, friends who might be different than you, who will stretch you and help you grow. Put effort into friendships with real people, get off your computer, your cell phone, or your tablet. Go out into the world, speak to people in person, call someone on the phone and connect.

Today, remember and honor friendship. And remember, friendships takes two people, so if your efforts are not appreciated or reciprocated, pray to God that he connects you with someone who will appreciate you, appreciate your uniqueness, how God created you as an individual, and find someone worthy of a true and intimate friendship with you.

You deserve it. You are worth it.

~ Single Me

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Adult Friendships: Part 1 of 2

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about friendship and how important friendship is in our lives. Think about growing up and how many friends you have now, how you might not even remember how you became friends with any of these people. Wasn't it so much easier back then to make new friends, even to get into a relationship?

Will you be my friend?
Do you want to hang out with me? Yes or No?

It is amazing to me that as we grow up and become more complex, so does the way in which we approach relationships. I suppose when we are young, we can easily bond over the class we are in, a particular sport we both play, or that we both seem to have the same hankering for chocolate ice cream.

Somehow, as we grow and mature, so do our taste. However, I think we might have become too picky. That person is too nerdy, too rich, too poor, and too different; so instead of trying to pursue friendship, taking a chance on the fact that different-ness might be beneficial, we usually just decide not to pursue that relationship at all.

I wonder if it goes deeper, maybe we don’t want to be seen with that type of person. Perhaps they are religious and we are not, or they wear different clothes than we do. Still, I wonder if it goes even deeper than we might be aware.

I wonder if as we become older and more complex, we found others had a tendency to judge us, either aggressively or passive-aggressively. Perhaps they found faults and threw them back in your face. Perhaps they let you hear a harsh truth and you never forgave. Maybe you were rejected and it still hurts. I think as we grow we have these wounds that never really heal, likely because we tend to run from such confrontations, so when we trying to pursue friendships we take this baggage with us.

More to come…

~ Single Me

Monday, September 1, 2014

On Building A New Community

I've had a mixture of feelings as of late when it comes to friendship, dating, and God. Sometimes I am pretty pissed at God, bitter that after all this time and how much I have sought after him I am still (feel) alone. Yes, mainly this is in regards to wanting a relationship but also with friendships, which I am making but still trying to build.

At my age you have your life set (sort of), but when you move you come into a totally different landscape, everyone you meet will have suggestions of things to do or people to meet, yet few take the time to get to know you, to invite you to do things. You have to be the initiator and as an introvert this gets very taxing on me.

I much prefer to be the guy who sees the new person and introduces myself and invites them to hang out with a group. I do not by any means prefer to be that new guy, especially if you don’t feel others are really taking time to get to know you. I feel this way in friendship and with potential relationships.

I have a few people I am glad to meet here but I have to initiate everything, which makes the friendships seem pretty one-side and lack that reciprocity I would prefer to have at least some of the time.

Sometimes I feel like I am using too much of my energy, trying to give out too much of myself, trying to tell my story to too many people... and I get little in return. I try to distract myself by watching movies, reading books, even playing computer games but the feelings of loneliness are there, of wanting to be wanted, wanting to be invited, wanted to be known.

Isn’t this all of us? I’m surprised how many of us feel alone yet shrink back into our abodes, our mediocre friendships, settling for less with people who don’t value or care for us... or at least not enough to seek us out more often and ask how we are doing.

How can we be so connected with one another and yet so very far apart is surprising. Why are we so prone to hide ourselves, to not let others see who we really are? But then, I feel like when I put myself out there I get smiles and well-meaning responses but rarely does it turn into action. Any relationship, including friendship, is built upon time, reciprocity, and trust.

Half of the time I want to ask people why they don’t respond or why they tell me about all these things to do around town but do not invite me to come with them. I want to know why they would see a person who is new and ignore them. I guess we all have our priorities, but then you find yourself on the bottom of everyone else’s list. You just begin to feel down and a bit depressed. You want more but can’t force relationships.

These last months I have begun to see how people who are single depend on God a lot more, especially for those single people who find themselves moving for whatever reason and having to start over again and again. They have to build new relationships, friendships, and communities every time. True, some do find this easier than others, because for some they just have those personalities that attract others.

For the others who are quieter and laid back, it can be extremely tough to find those friends, sifting through all the people, seeing who you connect with, and out of those who will spend time and reciprocate your feelings.

So, today for those of us who feel lost in that void, stuck in the middle. I want you to know that you are not alone. I am not alone. There are many of us who feel alone out there, while all these people pass us by everyday. Know my reader, that God is always there, that God has never left you. God is there right by your side and desires to know you and for you to know Him. People will fail, friendships and relationships will come and go but Jesus is there with you forever.

When you feel you have had enough, let Him know. When you find a new friend, offer God your thanks - but whatever you do, don’t simply give into those negative thoughts, don’t become a recluse, don’t shut yourself down, don’t retreat from others into your shell. Go out and shine your light. The people who respond to your light will be the ones who are worth spending time and fighting for... but as with everything, it will take time and effort.

May God give us perseverance, strength, patience until then…

~ Single Me