An open letter to my friend
For my friend…
So it is with great sadness that I send this post. The older I get the more and more it has come to my attention that I have people and things in my life that I just don’t need because they are not contributing anything, they don’t even make me happy and they are just wasting space for people and things that could make me happy.
So I have taken a very long and very hard think and have decided that there are just some people in my life that I just don’t need any more. There are certain people in my life where I just feel like our relationship has just stagnated and has been for many years.
Have you ever known anyone where you’ve known them for years but you still feel just as awkward with them as you did nearly 20 years ago? Or you feel like your relationship with that person has never improved, grown or developed in any way? You feel like you have not grown as people together? They seem to be embarrassed by you in front of their friends? They don’t want their friends on facebook to know you know each other so they hide your posts? Or they ask you to delete them? You have no shared goals or values? You try and contact them and they hardly ever or never reply but when it’s some kind of activity that they are organising or they want you to go to for whatever reason they are always full of chat? They are happy when you are their secret and annoyed when other people want to drive you home and they tell them not to, to isolate you so that only they can drive you home? and when your life moves on they seem to be unhappy about it? I’m not even talking about romantic relationships, I’m just talking about ordinary friendships.
I like my friendships to grow, develop and move forward, circumstances permitting. When I say circumstances permitting I mean obviously when my friends get married or move or whatever, our friendship then takes on a new dimension, as they have children etc, you can’t be out all night with them all the time then etc. However, if circumstances permit a stronger bond with deeper dimensions, (again I’m not talking about romantic relationships I’m talking about just being decent friends) and this is not being exploited or properly utilised then there’s a problem and you’re not friends.
Time and time again guys fail to understand this. You want a girlfriend but you are not nice in a consistent way to all of the women around you. Women talk, so they will be spreading news of your bad behaviour to all the ladies you want to date. Additionally, how do you expect to wholeheartedly love someone when you don’t have the capacity to wholeheartedly love? You should be able to show love to anybody, I’m not talking about romantic love I’m talking about the kind of love that friendship should be. I admit I am talking to myself here as well, we all struggle to be nice. I absolutely despise guys who are only kind to women they are romantically interested in. I have no time for such people.
Obviously I know there are degrees of friendship and not all friendships are close but some are distant when they should be close and the emotional distance is as a result of dysfunction, that’s the kind of friendship I am talking about here.
The Ancient Greeks were much more adept at explaining the various degrees or kinds of relationships and the different kinds of “love” that you encounter within them, they had several words for love:
Éros (ἔρως érōs) love, mostly of the sexual passion
Storge (στοργή storgē) tenderness, love, affection, especially of parents and children
Philia (φιλία philía) affectionate regard, friendship, usually between equals
Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) love: esp. charity; the love of God for man and of man for God
Being nice isn’t a declaration of érōs (sexual passion) but without storgē (tenderness) how do yo expect to even get to érōs? Don’t you know if agápē (charity, the kind of love that exists despite changing circumstances) is not fully developed in your life there can be no philía (friendship) and without philía there will never be any érōs (well not with me anyway… Especially not before marriage as I am a Christian)? I’m not asking for sex no offence, I’m just asking for kindness lol.
What can I say, I like friendships to have as much depth as they ought to, no more and no less. That’s not to say that I would push a friendship more than it should go. You get a feel for certain people that makes you think “ok this is a distant friend” or “ok we can be closer”. However, what really grinds my gears is when you have someone wanting you close only when it’s convenient for them and you’re doing all the friending…
When I am in a friendship with someone, I want to be more to you and you be more to me as time goes on. I’m not talking in a romantic way, I’m just saying that any kind of relationship whether it’s a friendship, a business relationship, a family relationship or a romantic relationship needs to grow positively somehow in order for it to succeed and be useful in any way. You need to be adding something positive to each others lives as often as possible. You need to be fulfilling some kind of need for each other, even if it’s the need for an occasional laugh or some light conversation. We need to grow together, have shared experiences and somehow lift each other up. There also needs to be emotional connectedness and emotional investment, not always emotional strain. I need to know that I can rely on you and you need to know that you can rely on me. All these things need to be done to whatever degree the kind of relationship permits (due to distance, culture, etc). Again, I’m not even talking about romantic relationships I’m just talking about ordinary friendships.
I don’t like or enjoy time wasters. Anything outside of what I just mentioned is pointless, if your “friendship” does not display any of the virtues like I just mentioned above (obviously distance permitting etc.), in my eyes, you’re colleagues or peers, not friends. If you aren’t growing together somehow in a meaningful way (as I said, to the levels that the friendship will permit) or you’re the same place you were 20 years ago and that place is not a good place (in some instances, being in the same place for 2 decades can be a positive thing) but when it’s a stagnant place, it might be time to call it a day at one point. That point is now. We are stagnant, the friendship is one sided and I’m taking out the trash.
Now I understand how Jesus feels about us sometimes.