If you spend any amount of time on instagram or facebook, you will start believing that everyone has the most amazing group of best friends.
In the same way that there are unrealistic expectations set for romantic relationships in the media, there are also unrealistic expectations for friendship.
I remember a moment this past year so vividly. I was with a girl who I assumed had the best group of friends based on her Instagram. There had been times when I would scroll through her feed and wonder why my group of friends didn't always look like we were having the time of our lives. In the midst of our gathering, she snapped a photo. It was weird because at that moment she wasn't connecting with anyone but the photo and her captions told another story.
I thought back to the times I have enjoyed with friends the most. Those moments are not captured on camera because I was in the moment enjoying the richness of friendship. I realized that I already had the life that this girl was promoting on social media. I was thankful.
In my 35 years of life, I have learned some lessons about friendship that I want to share with you. I hope these are lessons that you can take into 2019!!
1. Best friends are an illusion The idea that one person is better in every way from your other friends is unrealistic. It also sets a high expectation for the person that holds that title and they are sure to not live up to it at some point. Instead of trying to achieve the perfect picture of "best friends" seek to see the BEST in all of your friends.
2. Friends come in seasons and for different reasons. I used to cling tightly to the illusion of best friends and that made it difficult to let people go. I would feel personally wounded and rejected if I drifted apart from a particular friend. I learned the hard way that friends come in seasons and that is ok. We are constantly growing and changing and so are our friends. It's ok to make room for new friends instead of clinging tightly to those that are drifting away. Sometimes God brings someone into your life for a specific reason and once that purpose is fulfilled they move on. Any friend in any season is a blessing so just be grateful for the season of friendship that is shared.
3. Don't be so quick to cut people off. The Lord will call us to separate ourselves from certain people but just be certain it is the Lord leading you to end a friendship and not your hurt feelings or offended heart. My heart is sad for people who don't have a close network of friends because they chose to cut people off instead of working through problems. That is a lonely life. Friendship is worth fighting for.
4. Diversify your friends. My time in the Salvation Army helped me to nurture friendships with people of different ages, abilities and walks of life. If all of your friends go to the same coffee shop, watch the sames shows and have the same political views, your life is not as rich as it could be. Ask God to help you to see the value in people who are different from you so that you will actively seek those types of friendships.
5. Be a "best" friend. If you are ever feeling like you got the short end of the friendship stick, look for ways to be the kind of friend that you want. Take time to put your friend's birthdays in your calendar instead relying on facebook. Meet up for coffee even if it is inconvenient. Try calling instead of texting.
Be the friend that you want to have.