You know who knows a thing or two about friendship? Cole Porter.
“If they ever make cannibal stew of you, invite me too…” Is that the sort of friendship you dream of? Not quite? Eh, who cares…isn’t Joel Grey adorable?
When I was in high school, playing the role I’m sure Sutton Foster is incredible in (she is, after all, Sutton Foster…gah, who’s up for an NYC visit?!), I defined friendship as hanging out with people who had the same interests as me. The majority of my friendships were fairly surface-level and I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into who I included in my group of close friends. It wasn’t until later that I learned a few key (and often painful) lessons about relationship that caused me to make some big changes.
You become who you hang with. Show me your three closest friends and I’ll show you what your life will look like two years from now. If that idea excites you, you’ve probably chosen friends wisely. If it makes you yawn or – worse yet – terrified beyond all reason, it might be time for a change.
Sometimes it’s good to be choosy. Not just with peanut butter either. You don’t have to let someone into your inner circle just because they want to be there. You don’t have to keep them there just because they got in at some point.
Time is like money; invest it wisely. Your time is a precious commodity. You have a limited amount of it. Why invest it into people who suck the life out of you when you could be spending it with those who will build into you, encourage you, challenge you, and help you grow into the person God created you to be?
I won’t lie; writing about (and maybe even agreeing with) these guidelines is pretty easy. Walking them out is a different story. Sometimes invitations have to be politely (awkwardly? repeatedly?) declined. Sometimes a risk is required to step out and ask that person we admire to chat. And sometimes shifting someone out of the inner circle is necessary. I know it can be tough – I have experience with all of these scenarios and I expect to continue facing them throughout my lifetime. But guess what I’ve found as I prayerfully navigate the relational side of life. Once we begin to honestly covet relationship with the right people, God provides the right people. And when we stop investing in drainers and begin investing in fuelers, we are at peace. We are charged. We are challenged. We are growing. We are joyful. We experience reciprocity. We enjoy friendship the way God intended us to. So I’m willing to keep making the tough calls, having the difficult conversations, and wisely risking vulnerability because it’s worth it! So worth it.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. -Proverbs 27:17