Wednesday, June 17, 2015

#FOODFORTHOUGHT: 3 FRIENDSHIP NO-NO'S

Hello Friends! Doesn't that sound warm and inviting?! FRIENDS. How many of us have them? I think deep down inside we all want to feel warm and invited in by those around us. Once we are invited into the friendship fold, the dynamics begin to shift. What once was warm and inviting may have become cold and distant. I have had friendships that have grown cold. Many, if not all, of the cases left me really hurt and trying to figure out why and how did it all go wrong. As the Lord likes to do, He allowed some tests to hit my life and I finally learned why those friendships came to an end.


Maybe you have some friendships that have ended. Or maybe you can sense that your friendships are ending and you just don't know what may have happened to cause it to end. Well for me, I was able to narrow it down to 3 Friendships No-No's that I should have avoided. Hopefully, these will help you.

1. Keep your unsolicited advice and opinions to yourself.
As you can tell from this blog, I really like to share what I've learned, especially if I think it could help someone else. If I have wisdom or information that I feel could benefit a loved one, I wouldn't want to withhold that from them. I would hope that they wouldn't withhold it from me either. However, I have not always been careful with this. I've realized that at times I overstepped my bounds by giving advice or opinions I wasn't asked to give. Yes, I was only trying to be helpful. But my friends didn't want my advice or my opinion. They may have wanted to figure it out on their own. They may have already made a decision. They may not have wanted to hear what I had to say on that particular topic. They may have just wanted me to listen and not respond. No matter the reason, they didn't ask. I should've respected it and not given it.

Once I began to give my advice, I could tell that now there was a "I know it all" cloud and tension hovering over the friendship. If someone is your friend, you two should be equally yoked. One friend shouldn't feel that another friend thinks they are better than the other. Giving unsolicited advice to a friend can lead to resentment. If giving unsolicited advice to a friend could cause resentment, you know consciously and morally it is something you don't have to say, and you want to keep the friendship, then don't give your advice.

On the other hand, sometimes your friends may ask for your advice, not like your advice, get mad at you, and then the relationship is ruined. This has happened to me also. With both solicited and unsolicited advice, friends must respect each other. You really have to know your friend and the dynamics of your friendship. You may feel closer to someone than they have allowed you into their lives. So you are trying to be close and comfortable with your friendly advice and the other person doesn't even consider you that close of a friend for you to "tell them what to do." Make sure that you and your friends have the same perception of the friendship.

I recently made a decision not to give unsolicited advice anymore (as much as I can help it) to friends or family. Instead, I write on this blog and give general advice. I feel whole by doing what I do naturally. I no longer expect the seeking of my wholeness to be put onto my relationships. Your wholeness is in Christ and He can guide your instinctive behaviors.

2. Don't work with friends.
From my experience, it just doesn't work. Both parties have to be mutually respectful and knowledgeable of the role of the other. Professionalism is key. Just because your friend is the boss does not mean you can disrespect them and get loud with them if they do something or make decisions you don't like. And if you are the boss, that doesn't mean you can consistently mix business and pleasure with no set boundaries. Boss, you are in charge, you are leading, and you have to set boundaries. Friends or No Friends. If you two work at the same job in the same position, you two need to learn each others "work personalities." Separate your relationship at the job if you all are not work compatible. If these considerations are neglected, it can affect business and the friendship. You may end up having to choose between friendship or work. Or even worse, both will suffer and dwindle.

To avoid drama, don't work with friends. Even if they really need you to work on their project because of your expertise or they really need a job. I would rather you direct them to a colleague or competitor than to risk the chance of losing a friend. Now if risking a friendship due to work doesn't bother you, then you need to reevaluate that friendship. That friendship or any friendships don't seem to hold much value to you in that case.

If you and your friend became friends due to working together first, then keep going but just keep communication open and boundaries clear. Again, if you know your friend and you know you all could handle the dynamic then make those coins together. If not, just know that sometimes a friend's support and encouragement is the best motivation to propel your business forward.

3. No Cohabitation.
I just don't have good luck with roommates. But my worst roommate episodes were with my best friend at the time. Needless to say, we are no longer best friends. She decided to room with me because she didn't want to room with another peer who had an available room. I explicitly called and warned her. And when she arrived, I reiterated that I just didn't think it was a good idea for us to be roommates. Yet, we shook it off and figured we are cool, we can handle it.

I now realize where we went wrong. We weren't as close as we thought and our own perceptions of our friendship differed. We didn't communicate or want to when things got bad. We told everyone else our business instead of telling each other. We were already growing apart and rooming together was the nail in the coffin where our once great friendship laid.

I wouldn't advise friends to live together unless you are really mature and you can truly handle it. But just to save your friendship from trauma, don't do it. If you become friends while you are roommates, again that is different because you already know what it is to live with them. But if your treading into new territory... simply DON'T.

BONUS
4. Just because its seasonal doesn't make it hurt less.
Sometimes the no-no's are unavoidable because the friendships are seasonal. The Lord will allow things to transpire because if they didn't happen you would stay in a friendship that was only supposed to last for a season. Yet, all the things that happen still hurt and make you question if you are a good person and friend. I'm sorry to break the news but the end of any friendship, seasonal or not, will hurt your heart if you thought you were genuinely being a friend to someone.

However, I do have some good news. You can tell your emotions what to do. You can use your hurt to make you a better person and friend. You can use that time to heal and to grow a stronger backbone. You can overcome. You can grow. You can move on. If the Lord took you through it, His purpose was to bring you out wiser.


I hope that my experiences are helpful to you in understanding what not to do and what you shouldn't have done in your friendships. I would like to hear of your experiences and hopefully some success stories as encouragement. We are put here to love one another and to be brothers and sisters in Christ first and foremost. I pray that we all keep LOVE in our minds as we build friendships. Friendly SMOOCHES XOXO


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