I know that there’s a fine line between “introvert” and asshole. I also know there’s a fine line between “extrovert” and asshole. So before I begin to step on your toes, and ruffle your perfect image you have of yourself, let me start off by saying: we’ve all been terrible friends. We’ve all committed (as I quote Mean Girls), “some girl on girl crime.” For different reasons, but never the less, we have ALL done something wrong by someone else’s standards.
I’m nearly twenty three, and I like to believe I can see the three different stages of my friendships and their cures. Call me Dr. Obvious.
1) Always The New Kid: I have the same best friend from Kindergarten. Not because I’m ever so faithful, or because best friends last forever. We’re still best friends because SHE did all the hard work over the years. I simply moved from city to city to city. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized she deserved better, so I grew into being a better friend for her. As an introvert, I bond over one on one time. So me moving around, I never felt close to her (leading to the feeling of not needing to send a postcard,) resulting in a one way friendship for years.
Cure: talk about her behind her back. Not in a evil way, in the way where other would learn why I love her. Just because a friend is not there physically to bond with, doesn’t mean they can’t be your friend anymore. Brag about your friends, even when you don’t need to! They have victories in their life that deserve to be celebrated around the world. And one day, when you walk down the isle, she’s be there, and everyone will know the queen she is…
2) The Wannabe. Oh this makes me want to rip my hair out, but it happened, and it’s over. To make up for the lack of friends, I went through a phase where everyone and their mom should be my friend. No, literally, moms were my homies too. Although in this period I had the most friends, I was also the most lonely. Being an intro* (does shortening it make me cool?), I re-energized by reading, listening to music, anything that does not require a bra on, etc. So what mistakes did I make? I joined the drama club, the dance team, the basketball team, the softball team (all I quit and/ or got kicked off). I spent all my energy trying to portray a party girl/ girl with many friends/ anything but someone who stays at home and enjoys a Harry Potter marathon.
Cure: Just be yourself. If you are feeling social, then choose something you love, not just anything. If you want to meditate over Ron Weasley, do it.
3. Being a friend like a friend should be. I don’t know where the standards of friends came from, but I do know everyone has different ones. For example, some expectations I’ve encountered:
- You can’t be friends with anyone they don’t like.
- If you don’t make them feel comfortable in their own home, then you must not like them.
- Text at least once a day reassuring they’re still your friend.
- Don’t acknowledge that they’re single.
- Don’t ever bring up their ex.
- Don’t express concerns about their soon to be ex.
- Be a puppet.
Some expectations I have had:
- Offer me food.
- Like coffee.
- Don’t bother me when I’m on the Internet.
None of these are wrong (okay maybe some, but don’t share this post with them.) I’m a firm believer that expectations are setting a roof of limits. If you have expectations of a friendship, it will only go so far. If you have expectations on a church, it will never be good enough. If you have expectations on your body, you’ll always be one step behind. The only things we should have high (if any) expectations is potential lifelong partners and a coffee maker. Even then, mostly just coffee. Off track, okay, here we go.
Cure: Be a friend like Jesus. I know what you’re thinking, “really, you just said asshole, now you’re pulling the Christian card?” Well, first off, that’s an expectation of how you think I should be. Second off, Jesus is always the answer, duh.
Christian or not, look at the Bible as a story. That’s what it is, a very long love story. And like any story, there’s characters. So lets take this character Jesus, and see how he is a friend.
Jesus began calling His disciples friends rather than servants because He had entrusted them with everything He had heard from His Father (John 15:15). He trusted people “below” him. They didn’t have to earn it, they didn’t have to cater to him, he came down to us. He wants to perfect you – not pamper you. He wants you to be the “best you” that you can possibly be. He was willing to lay His life on the line for His friends (John 15:13). He initiates the opportunity for friendship. His promises will get you through difficult times.
But the biggest trait He has that we turn our cheek to: He forgives! In our culture, we tend to say “I’ll forgive, but never forget!” Jesus don’t do that with His friends, He forgives AND forgets their shortcomings and failures. He forgives their sin and calls them FRIEND. Most of us want to receive forgiveness, but don’t want to give it away. We like to fester and self poison ourselves with hate for someone else, even if they don’t know it.
So if you are introvert or extrovert, I challenge you to
- Connect with someone today. Post card, text, etc.
- Be yourself. Do something you LOVE. Paint, read, go to the club.
- Forgive someone or ask for forgiveness. Remove expectation of others, and on yourself.