Monday, June 4, 2012

Rules for Girl-friendships

I'll be honest with you, I am not a rules person.

 I like rules that say things like "do what comes naturally to you" and "follow the Holy Spirit"

Unfortunately, things are so messed up.  We have broken families, broken relationships, broken trust, broken hearts, broken... everything...so much so  that common friendship type of no-nonsense things that were super obvious to my mother's generation are just not practiced any more.

And it's not like this generation isn't seeking Christ.  They are.  There are some fantastic Christ-followers who are filled with all sorts of Bible knowledge, missionary endeavors, zeal, and high dreams.  And yet--

There's this strange trend amongst the people to completely marginalize social graces and kindnesses when it comes to interacting with others.  It blows my hair back, quite honestly.  Pettiness, jealousy, competitiveness, fighting for friends, etc.  I feel like I'm in a pack of 8th grade wolves sometimes.

So, without further ado, these are some of the rules I live by.

1) Assume the best of everyone.

That's right.  If they are late, they had a good reason.  If they look cross, they must be tired or hungry.  If their kids are wild, they need prayer and a happy smile not judgement.

2) It is not my responsibility to make anyone happy.

Happiness is a choice that each of us has to make every day.  I can choose to be kind to someone, if it is in my power, but I can not control the response of that person.  Many people choose to be unhappy.  I fear they will have a long and hard life, but it is not my crusade to get them up and going again, unless God lays it on my heart to do something.  There is a difference between choosing to be kind and taking responsibility for someone else's happiness.

3) Recognize when I am off.

Yes, we all have off days.  This is part of life.  When we are off, we tend to see things in a negative light.  This is a time to nurture myself and not to be around those who may misunderstand me.  Recognize it for what it is and sleep it off, eat healthy foods, drink water, get exercise, do something creative.  Just don't interact with people.

4) Ask, don't assume.

We've all had this happen.  Someone says something really snide to us, and it appears to have come out of nowhere.  Our flesh wants to take this and simmer on it and build a case against the person.  I just bypass that step and give them a call and ask them about it.  "Did you mean this when you said....."  and most of the time, the conversation will be a joyful time with something like, "Oh, I'm sorry you thought that.."  with a lot of virtual hugs and reconciliation all around.

If you have never done this, I encourage you to try it, especially if you assume someone has something against you.

5) Deal with it or drop it.

If I am offended by what someone has said or done to me, I basically take care of it immediately.  There's no sense dragging up old offenses that happened six months or a year ago and trying to build a case against someone.  I think dragging up a six month old tunafish sandwich is more palatable than digging up crap from way back when.

There's a kind way to say, "I was hurt when this happened.."  (yesterday)  "did you really mean that?"

6) Deal kindly with those who oppose themselves.

This is hard for me because I'm a black and white (here's the answer) type of prophet personality.  But (bad) experience has taught me that there is a time to listen, even when they are being complete idiots.  I mean that in the nicest way possible.  We are all complete idiots on some level.  The biggest idiots are just pride-filled individuals who are opposing themselves.  They constantly make decisions that sabbotage their goals.  They appear to have "no clue" and express no effort toward bettering themselves.  I will admit that the amount of time I invest in these type of people is very small, since there are plenty of people out there who are genuinely teachable.

Because God is the only one who really understands, we are commanded to deal gently with them when we do interact with them.

7) Set my own boundaries.

I realize that a lot of you struggle with this.  Perhaps if I state it this way, it will help in the struggle.  I trust in the sovereignty of God enough to respect my own humanity and acknowledge my own weaknesses and inability to help everyone.  I also relinquish the "need to be needed" enough to let others minister to this person also.  Why should I hog all the blessing?

8) Give them a large leash.

When people are hurting, they need to talk. If they mention something about someone else in this explosion of emotion, I do 3things a) promptly forget about whoever and whatever it was and just focus on the emotions of the person talking and b) do not berate them for gossiping--just listen but don't add to it.  and c) try to help them understand the motives/ character of the person mentioned as to give them help through their struggles.  If all they want to do is gossip, it will become obvious.  If they are genuinely hurting, that will be obvious also.  Sometimes, in an effort to shun gossip, we completely side step the fact that person is really hurting.  Where should this person go for help?  the unbelievers? a secular counselor? what?  So, we need to give people freedom to express themselves, guiding them toward a more Biblical understanding of their problems.  (This person is not the enemy; satan is..etc.)


9) Stop competing.

I hope all of my friends become 10 times more awesome than me in every way.  I just hope they remember the little people when they get there. LOL.  Seriously, we are all trying our best.  I give it all I can every day, all day long, and I know you do also.  But some people are so awesome, they are just purely intimidating.  Well, guess what? If they are believers, let's just rejoice that there is at least a few out there who are excelling.  As for the rest of us, who cares? Have you done what God has on your list for today?  Did you eat what he wanted you to eat? Did you do what he wanted?  Good.  Then, you are awesome.  Let's just rejoice in each other's awesomeness, OK?  Or just revel in our humanity and weaknesses.. which is just fine also.  But stop making that sister in Christ over there.... your competition, OK?  That is lame.  It ruins love and friendships.


10) Laugh.

People take themselves so seriously.  God made friendships to help us lighten the load of this world.  If we could stop competing, stop being jealous and just rejoice, we would kick back and laugh with our friends.  In this case, I think we can learn from the world.  Friends should be fun.  Put on a funny hat, kick up your heels and thank God that anybody at all is able to put up with you enough to be your friend.




7 comments:

Ruby said...

Good thoughts, oh wise one. It is a challenge to be an example to our children (especially daughters) if we have the jealous, competitive type friends. I am glad to be aged now and seem to have culled the friend circle into quite a nice, healthy, encouraging group.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

And this is exactly why I wish we shared a back fence!

AMEN :D

Julie

Barefoot Hippie Girl said...

I especially like #8. People do need to vent sometimes. But, you included 3 positive steps. And that is helpful too. Thanks!

Janice said...

I love this list! I'm sharing this one. At first I thought oh, I really need to listen to #3 then after reading on, I am sure all of them apply to me! Especially the awesomeness one!
Thanks Jenna!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

And PS, I think my favorite is #5 - Deal with it, or drop it.

Love covers over a multitude of sins, yah?

Julie

Mrs. Santos said...

This was so great! I wish I could share it on facebook. thank you. #9 is my fav.

Organizing Mommy said...

Mrs. Santos, you can share it on FB if you like. Or are you not on FB? I'm back on.

Thank you so much everyone for such a happy response.