15 Sep Friend or Foe: Couch Tour pt2
What is your definition of a friend: Couch tour pt. 2
What am I supposed to learn from this?
Someone once asked me, “What is your definition of a friend?” When I responded, I didn’t put too much thought into it; I said the first thing that came to my mind but little did I know, my definition of friend was about to be reevaluated, revised, redefined.
When I think of friendship, I think of Natalie and Shevena – we’re really more like sisters. They have shown me a different way to define friendship. We met a few months after I relocated to California. We all shared a love of fashion and found joy in working at our favorite clothing store. Natalie has a gorgeous four-year old (going on twenty-five) daughter named Marley, who calls me auntie. Shevena has dreams of owning her own clothing line and is the most free spirited person that I know – she lives life unapologetically, and she loves anyone whom she encounters. When you have friends this close, you often wonder what would life be without them. Every time I thought of one of us being in a different state, my eyes would instantly fill with water, so I knew I wouldn’t handle her leaving well but unbeknownst to me, that day would eventually come.
Shevena has threatened to leave LA several times, but there was something about this time that different; she was serious. It didn’t actually settle in until I was helping her transport some items from her apartment. It was finally happening, and there was nothing I could say or do to convince her to stay; so then, there were two – just Nat and I.
A few months had passed, and I found myself on Natalie’s front steps, moving my things into the spare bedroom, well Marley’s bedroom. Prior to laying down for bed, we talked about all the things that have transpired in the last few months and in true friend fashion, she hit me with the four words that I knew were coming, “I told you so”. Ugh, I dreaded these words, but Natalie is the type of friend who says whatever comes to her mind and this time, she was right. My friends know, love, and respect me for me. They know what I’m capable of giving and allow me to grow at my own pace; they don’t try to change me into their definition of a friend; they allow me make my own decisions and when needed, they will be there to pick up me up.
These past couple of years, I’ve spent an unspecified amount of time trying to gain someone’s friendship, all while hurting the people who’s friendship is unquestionable – listening to their perspectives but not considering their opinions, missing much needed girl-time with them while allowing others to disrespect them. I never understood how my actions would affect them; I just thought they’d love me no matter what I decide to do and although that is the case, it’s still hurt them to see me in pain. Up to that moment, I had never considered how my pain could hurt my friends. I knew that my friends would get angry if someone hurt me, but I had never considered that they hurt when I hurt.
Which brings me to my next point: They say you never know what you had until it’s gone. Natalie and Shevena never left, but I know they felt betrayed. But, they were graceful; they never judged me. They let me do what they were deeply against; they told me that I was entering dangerous territory that I was going off the deep end trying to make an old friendship work, and I didn’t listen. Nevertheless, I knew that God had me exactly where He wanted me. What am I supposed to learn from this? I was too comfortable in some friendships, and I may have taken some things and some people for granted, thinking they’d always be here no matter what I do. An old friend moves to town and in the midst of trying to recover a friendship that ultimately wouldn’t last, I compromised the friendships that had always been consistent. I’ve put too much value on people who did not value me, and I’ve wasted far too much time that I cannot have back. Where do I go from her? Do I try to make up for lost time or try to buy their love by overextending myself? I must admit; the old me would’ve felt guilty and would’ve tried to gain their trust again. The brilliant things is about this is that I don’t have to do that with them because I never loss their love, I never loss their respect; I never loss their trust – they were still loyal to me, and I’m forever grateful for to them for that.
You’re friends should want the best for you. They should want you to grow and evolve according to God’s timing and not their own. They should know your dreams and aspirations for your life because if they don’t, they will try to make you who they want you to be. You must have a voice. You must have the freedom and liberty needed to speak your truth and not feel judged. Your friends should be welcoming. They should be committed to seeing the different variations of who you’ll grow to become overtime. They should be committed to seeing the absolute worst and best of you (you cannot have it all your way). If they aren’t committed to you being imperfect, then their idea of a friendship with you may not be realistic. It will fail. The imperfect them is looking for a perfect you, and they will leave you when their idea of you is not manifested. Most importantly, they should know your heart. If they do not know you’re heart, they will not know how to treat you. They will misunderstand you. They will confuse you with other people. They will never know you unless they know your heart. A friendship is a commitment between two or more individuals. The friendship will only survive when their is a mutual respect between one another. That means I don’t like your decision, but I respect you as a person so I support you making a decision that you feel is best for you. Without respect you’ll find offense and what you thought was a friendship, you’ll learn that it was only company.
Remember, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”(1 Corinthians 13:6-8)
What could you do to be a better friend?