Thursday, September 29, 2011

What it takes...

She sat at the window peering through the rain, foot tapping in impatience as she looks at the clock for the 15th time in 30 mins. How could he be late? He knew how important this day was, does he not listen to me talk? does he not care? As the little hand on the clock continued it's journey she kicked off her shoes in resignation and once again was disappointed in the way Jonathon treated their relationship. Maybe it was time to re-evaluate things before things got more serious.

She slowly set the phone down and sat there wondering what was going on. It had been weeks since they had been able to get out together, work and volunteer things had kept them busy. Every time she suggested getting together he would say yeah call me, but then he never would set up a time. He was fine talking on the phone or emailing or chatting online, but he would never set a time to get together. Does he really want to be friends, does he really want this relationship?

In a dating relationship these types of behaviors would throw up red flags and you would be telling your friend to get out of the relationship or to address the situation with her significant other. But what about when these same behaviors are seen in friendships? How do you respond then? Is it more acceptable to treat a friend like this?

If a friend consistently stood me up, I probably would start to question if she really wanted to get together. If she seemed to never remember what I said, I would question if she really listened. If she always was saying "let's get together" and then never followed through I would question her sincerity.

So what does it take to have a friendship. I think it is similar to the dating relationship which we can all identify with. The first few times you meet/see each other you are testing the waters, seeing if there is a common ground, common interests. Then as those interests build you start planning events and investing in each others lives. This is where the relationship gets sticky.

In a dating relationship you would start to meet the family, start talking about your likes and dislikes, your goals and opinions. This might be the spot where you just say "sorry, this isn't gonna work". In a friendship this is where you might realize that you might just be acquaintances who see each other once in awhile, or you might decide that you can really relate and open up to each other.

If you continue to go on with the relationship, then you start doing more together and become as close or closer than family. When one of you hurts the other hurts, when one is happy the other is happy.

But in our digital age, I think that these close relationships have started to go away. Many times we find ourselves checking in on someone's Facebook page and we "know" what is going on in their lives, so no need to ask how someone is doing. Or we comment on their Facebook page and so then we have done our duty as a friend on being interested in their lives. No longer do we call and talk, our lives become busy and the times we get together are fewer and fewer and we no longer really know each other.

In thinking through all this I have asked myself, am I friend in all times? am I pouring into my friends? am I making time for them, or is my life more important?

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