maintain & cancel friendships, part 2

i encourage you. read Part 1 first. read the comments on that post too. then, hop back over here for the heart heavy i am about to share.

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i’ve spent this past week making notes for myself. an outline of the heart pushes, the mind grazes. the heaviness sitting in my gut as i process friendships again this week. the words you shared with me. the emails and phone calls. they brought comfort to me too. they allowed me to feel less alone as we battle for good & solid & supportive friendships. those that offer grace. mercy.

i maintain good friendships. God gives my friends grace & mercy to give to me; because i need it. i WANT to maintain good friendships. i know what i should do. make time. give back. love wholly. cherish deeply.

// my cup runneth over. i do not deserve the caring & generous friends that i have now. but i am thankful daily for each one of them. i wonder if sometimes we experience heartache of friendships lost so we can revel in the joy of determined friendships. i have good friends. lots of them. they are faithful. whole. loving. supportive. maintain friendships. good friendships.

here’s my 5…

#1: give joy.

i have hard days. hard weeks. earlier this year craig & i had a hard 10 months; yes! an entire 10 months of circumstances that hurt. the friends that called just to listen, the ones who called to check on me when we temporarily separated in the Spring. they prayed, encouraged. they offered me bits of joy and peace when those seemed to be fleeting… so, give joy. all the time. be the listening ear. the one that offers a joyful word. words of thanksgiving. words of encouragement. for in that moment, they probably needed it.

#2: reciprocate.

did you get a birthday card from your sweet friend? send one back. did she pick up the phone and call you or schedule an outing? now, you take a turn. even if it’s out of your comfort zone –>> this is reciprocal friendship. when you reciprocate it makes them feel value; it confirms a friendship; it provides physical evidence.

#3: love wholly devoted.

through the tough. the hurting moments. through divorce. through miscarriage. through sadness. BE THERE. be devoted. be caring. put away your pride and your hurt. give them your attention. they need it. in that moment. friendships strengthen when they go through the hard and lonely together. you may be the only steady daily support they receive today.

#4: forgive with grace & mercy.

when they ask for forgiveness. forgive. wipe the pain, the hurt, the fear away. start anew. refresh yourself and your friendship. we all fall. we all sin & fall short of the glory of God. oh to have perfect friends. alas, we do not – we are all level on this field and need to have undying mercy & grace for our sweet friends.

#5: make time.

there is never enough time. ever. we have to make time for our family, our spouse, work, playdates, date nights, ourselves. when do we have time for friendship? for those that matter… we make time, just like everything else. pop in a short cartoon for the kids to make the phone call. say no to events to say yes to coffee with a friend.

<<<   >>> give your friendships value. elevate them. we need friends. desperate to have comfort in friends. to share. to delight. to encourage. to spend hours talking about life over dinner when it’s been a whole year since the last chat. we crave to have girlfriends that will love & support us in spite of ourselves. i know that i sure do!

but sometimes it’s time to say goodbye. sometimes it’s best to say no more. you are the boss here. you decide what friendships stay & go. it’s a heart thing. consider praying about it. consider following the encouragement of others. considering stepping back to recognize if they are toxic. if they hurt. if they manipulate. if they are not allowed anymore of your precious time.

#1: be forthright & honest.

just say it. tell them. leave the anger & the hurt and use “i feel” statements! a message. leave a voice mail. something. get it off your chest – hold less tightly to the information so that they too can have the ability to work through the hard. this is not the easy one. you might get shaky. you will likely be extremely uncomfortable. putting words to hurt opens communication and allows closure.

#2: take a break.

perhaps the need to break is harder. take a break… but still consider telling them. that you need space & time. you will come back around when you are ready. my prayer is they are receptive & respectful.

#3: with a 3rd party.

if their grip is too tight. you may need to take a friend with you. a counselor. a mediator. a spouse. i rely on my husband for sound advice and as the steady voice of reason he helps to reduce any potential escalation i may endure. bless that man.

#4: natural separation.

in time you respond less. connect less. call less. choose to be less. as you do this they may fill some of that void with other friendships and not realize what happened to you at all. be prepared for the call or message one day asking what happened; be prepared to answer with forthright & honesty if you can.

#5: old fashioned snail mail.

this is perhaps my favorite. sitting down with a glass of ice water at the kitchen table reflecting on a friendship. spending time going through the happenings. preparing a letter knowing there is no quick auto-response. a few days to get there. several more for a response. it sits heavy but comfortable knowing the action you took is one step closer to healing. it gives permission for them to process and respond. it gives handwriting to emotions. the wait can be hard; but do your part. own it.. let them own their part.

<<<  >>>  i urge you. warn you. hope to scare you…

…out of ever blocking someone on facebook without reasonable, logical cause. yes, this hurts. to not return a call after some concerned voice messages. to not reply to a letter for months. to delete the email of the concerned voice without responding. why? because ladies, our hearts hurt. we yearn. we desire to remedy. we do not want to be the source of your dissatisfaction. rather give us some blasted terrible qualities so we can overcome them. make them better. be a better friend to our other friendships.

writing this little series has given me thinking with purpose. organizing my thoughts and my hurts. attempting to remedy this hurting heart that years for long-lasting friendships. a girls weekend in Chicago every year for the next 20 years kinda friendships.

my hope is that this post will stir something in you too.

part 3 to follow. i’m sure of it.

 

Comments

  1. I don’t always feel like a good friend. But it helps to have good friends, who offer grace when life pulls you away for awhile and who are still there eager to hear all that has been going on. Your lists are wise, and needed by me right now. I’ve been sparked by circumstances and by your posts, to take a breathe and evaluate my friendships, myself as a friend. And I know that what your write here takes courage, because it is coming right out of the heart, out of hurts, even recent ones. I already shared this with you, but I’ll share it here again. My favorite verse on relationships…Romans 12:18…”as much as it depends on you”.

    • you inspire me & i am committed to making 2013 about creating lasting friendships. thank you for your words & for sharing that verse… holding tight to Jesus as i deal with some of this earthly stuff!

  2. wow. awesome…..you have a beautiful soul!

  3. Another good read with points that should encourage and convict us all! Thanks again for sharing your heart.

  4. Thanks again for sharing, Aimee. I’m at an interesting crossroads with many friendships (having just moved countries). The main thing I’m reminded of in reading your words is that we never know who needs a friend, or what someone is going through, until we make the effort to find out.

    • yes!! i think that finding out how the other is doing is just as important as keeping ourselves in check. it’s so important to evaluate friendships with open communication; getting our hearts hurt is too easy without it. i’m glad you came over to read part 2!!

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart and hurts again, Aimee! It’s exactly what I needed to hear as I try and ‘cancel’ this toxic friendship I have been holding onto. Trying to breathe life into a dead friendship is impossible, yet I keep trying. After much prayer, I have decided to use your advice in #4. Thank you for writing this. It has blessed me and made me take some time to do a self-check on how I am as a friend. :)

    • i think a natural separation is probably best for your situation too. it sounds like the person you’re dealing with might not respond well to any of the other ways without creating more issues. i am proud of you and so thankful that you had this kind of take away from these posts.

  6. Dear friend this post is FULL of love and conviction. We all say that marriage is work, but my goodness, friendships are just as fragile if left unattended. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of simply making a phone call, and reciprocating. We can always grow to be better friends!

    I’m blessed to be a part of this post. Some of my most special friendships have happened this past year, in Jesus’ name, and you are topping that list sister :)

    Thank you for this series!!

    • EXACTLY; so many parallels between friendship & marriage. i had a post in me about that but wasn’t sure how to go about it without sounding too “marriage-ish”! :) i just adore you too friend; you have caused my heart to grow and to lean more on Jesus; you are the type of friend that i crave more of.

  7. This post is wonderful. Thank you for being so open. This is such an inspiration to me as I begin my blog journey in a couple of weeks. Keep on being vulnerable and open! :)

  8. You are one of my longest dearest friends as well! Blessed is beyond the word used that I have you and your amazing family in my world. I’m horrible with words. However, u always know what to say and do to make me smile, but to also return it somehow. Thank u for giving me some guidance through this time. Not sure which path to take. Prayers will get me there! I’m a doer so it is so hard to trust and be patient, but I am confident that this will all work one way or another. No matter what, one day. I will be laying on sunny beach Cali with u trying some weird food. :)

    • girl, i just adore you. with these 3,000 miles between us for now – i will cherish the moments i get to connect with you and thankful that you have shown a long-lasting friendship through it all. you are such a light to me, a reminder of me, gosh, we are so similar!! thank you for stopping by friend!!

  9. LOVED both your posts! I, have too, been burned by friendship. I am just learning now to open up and let people in again. Your words are so encouraging and good reminder of how to lead a Godly friendship!

    • thank you Kristie, i’m so glad you came over to read them and glad you had such a great take away. friendship is hard but with God, through faith, with healing and boldness, we will have friendships that carry us through the tough times.

  10. These are great reminders Aimee – both sets. It’s good timing for me because I tend to get in a rut and don’t make enough time for friendships and reciprocating! I need to make sure that I”m taking the time to reach out. :) Thank you!

    • i’m so glad you stopped by! i needed a good reminder too – with the holidays and the busyness of visitors, i really need to remember sweet friendships like ours — to make time!! so glad we are getting together in a few weeks for the WHOLE day! :) :)

  11. Lani Derrick says:

    Love you girly. Enjoying visiting with you and praying for you. I know that God has put us together for a reason. I know He has big plans for our relationship. I can’t wait to see where He leads it.

    • i ADORE you and i too am stoked to see where God leads our friendship. i love your attitude, hard work, driven towards excellent, caring, compassionate… yeah for a girl’s day in January!!

  12. I love this post! Your heart is SO good, and everyone should want to have you in their life. I love you so much my sweet, sweet friend, and I thank God every single day for you!! <3

    • friend. you are perhaps the biggest reason i care so much about friendships again; your instant love & support, your instant connection to me and my family; you made me realize how important friendship is. i so value you and your energy and your time and attention. THANK YOU for being you!!

  13. My sweet daughter, you are a giver, a friend, a caring person. It hurts me when you are hurt by friends. I am so proud of your insightful knowledge. Remember there is a season even for friendships and the friends we have may also need us just for a season too. I have a friend in Jesus and sometimes that is enough. I am blessed to have wonderful friends in my life and you are at the top of the list!

  14. Such great words of wisdom on friendship that can sometimes be a tricky path to walk. Thanks for sharing!

  15. More great advice! In your 5 ways to maintain a friendship, #2 and #5 are where I’ve lost most of my friends over the years. I often felt like I was the only one trying. Not to pat myself on the back, I know I’m not perfect and I’m guilty of hurting my friends as well. The important thing is to give grace and remember that no one is perfect. I need to remind myself of this daily. It may be my 2013 mantra.

    • grace. yes, i need that. more of that. i think we all do. friendship is hard. deep trench work as we try to maintain so many other things in our lives… equally yolked friendships are the ones that will survive. keep at it, embrace new friendships and perhaps this is the year you will meet your best friend for life! :)

  16. Aimee,
    Thanks for your comment yesterday and leading me to Part 2. I actually got tears in my eyes reading it. I believe that there are no accidents. I really needed to read your articles. I’m truly encouraged by what you wrote. I am working on building new friendships and will certainly use the tips that you gave. I think my lack of trust in people and my habit of not asking for anything from people gets me into trouble. I am working on it. It really takes two to make a friendship! I know in many cases I tried to carry them, and in others I wasn’t present. Again, I needed to read this, both parts. I look forward to further installments :) Thanks so much,
    Heather

  17. Again, an excellent and honest post!! Another note about the blocking on facebook thing – don’t unfriend a friend and not unfriend the friend’s husband!! My ex-friend did that to me – unfriended me, but kept my husband as her friend – kind of juvenile…
    I like the list of how to maintain a friendship – they are so very true, very, very true.
    I am also finding that going through difficult friendships, I have been able to better equip my daughter with her struggles. It sure hurts to see your children being rejected and unwelcomed! I appreciated your mom’s response!

  18. Thank you for your insights and advice, they are all great and very helpful. I think as women, we tend to be instinctively maternal. We want to have and need to have relationships with other women, and as the years pass, we end up weeding through some friendships that don’t foster our needs. And although we may outgrow our relationships, someone may end up getting hurt in the process. I feel it to be very important, especially as adults, that we stay honest and truthful with one another, gracefully. In the midst of a broken heart, it is always difficult, but I think if you love and care for one another, there should be some understanding and forgiving. Both parties have to take accountability for their actions. In my situation, I was annoyed with my friend who constantly made me feel guilty when I spent time with other friends and she was not invited. She constantly made comments about being uninvited. One day, I was having a wonderful day and she approached me and found out that I had met up with the other friends, and she harrassed me again. I emailed her later that evening and told her how it made me feel. She felt hurt, and could not see my point of view. Months passed and she never made a true effort to resolve the issue, never confronted me personally, and pretty much left it at that. Because I don’t like conflict, I maintain a forgiving heart and talk to her like I normally would. I have forgiven her and myself for that whole event and I have moved on. I work with this person, the only difference now is , I do not associate with her outside of work anymore. I found myself searching for truth, peace, and joy in my life. I am a true, loyal, loving, caring friend, and I deserve goodness in my life, and people that are going to uplift me. I feel good about what I did, and some days I miss the friendship but I don’t miss the guilt and drama. Forgiveness is key, always!

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  1. [...] sharing about my friendship burdens in a post called Friendships That Suck and then a week later, Maintaining & Canceling Friendships i did not know the impact this topic would have on all of you. please forgive me and note: i will [...]

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