Friendships are such a difficult thing to navigate in life, but such an essential part of life.
I read that the average friendship has a lifespan of 5 years. That is kind of sad but yet comforting at the same time. Friendships ebb and flow. Jobs change, people move, kid’s schools, teams and hobbies change. When a friendship ends, it does not mean there is something wrong with me. It is just a natural part of life. There are, however, a few things you can do to fast forward the ending of a friendship.
1. Jealousy. Jealousy will kill a friendship faster than anything. If you cannot celebrate the successes of your friend, they will eventually stop sharing those wins with you. Proverbs 27:4 says, “Anger is cruel and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.”
2. Judgement. If you never come to a place where you accept others even though you disagree on something, you cannot cultivate that friendship. Is my friend too strict because she doesn’t let her children play with certain games or read certain books? No, just different. Just because my beliefs are different from yours does not mean I am right and you are wrong.
3. Comparison. Anyone who is constantly comparing is a drain to be around. It doesn’t matter if you are comparing careers, possessions or children. Check out this line from Dillon Burroughs, “The problem with comparison is that you always feel either better than someone else or worthless compared to someone else.” Constant comparison will suck the life out of a friendship.
4. Lack of Confrontation. No friendship can move forward if it does not push past a conflict. No, we do not have to always speak the truth in love, but there are times when we must confront a situation (not talk about it to everyone else), talk through it and move on. Conflict can either destroy or, if handled correctly, can deepen a relationship.
A few more thoughts on friendship…
Remember, friendships need to be cultivated, but if a particular friendship is like caring for an orchid… try as you might, the petals are falling off, it may be time to let it go. On the other hand, if you have an friendship that is like an oak tree, one that is steady and has weathered many storms, you should fight for that one.
Loneliness is something everyone experiences. But we all must be reminded sometimes that it takes a friend to be a friend. What kind of friend are you? If you feel so lonely, when was the last time you invited a friend to lunch? When was the last time you sent a note of encouragement, or bought your someone a gift just because?
And don’t forget, God wants to bless us with friendships but Jesus is the true friend. Sometimes I think I mistake loneliness in my life for lack of closeness with Jesus. When I am full in my relationship with Jesus, I feel more fulfilled in every area of my life, especially my friendships because they become more about what I can give, not necessarily what I am receiving.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:25