Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Friends

For about as long back as I can recall I’ve had trouble making friends. I meet someone I like, I spend time with them, I try to get to know them, maybe we hang out or do something for a while, and then nothing. All communication stops. Or, there’s also the occasions when I’m trying to become friends with someone and they won’t give me the time of day. Then there are those who I’ve thought were close friends that turned out not to be. After a lifetime of what I’d define as poor friendships, I seriously wonder what the problem is. Is there something about me that people just don’t like, am I going about things all wrong, or is it just the sort of people I end up being around? Or is it a combination of the three? I don’t know. I don’t understand it. But I know I just get so tired of trying and not seeing any results. (I think I should add that I do have several internet friends. What I'm talking about here are close, personal friends--the type you can see face to face and actually do things with in person).

I’ve heard of other people who struggle with a similar problem, particularly SSA men trying to form healthy friendships with straight men. I know I have trouble trusting people sometimes and loosening up. Maybe that’s what I need to work on. Maybe I’m too stiff for most people.

I guess the point of this post is that I’d like to hear from all of you that read my blog how you go about making friends. How do you define friendship? What makes you want to be friends with certain people? What makes you not want to be friends with certain people? How do you keep friendships together? What challenges have you faced in some of your friendships? I really am quite curious about all this.

16 comments:

freelancer said...

Hmmm. I don't really suppose I'm in a place to offer advice since I don't know you that well. But, I'll give it a shot anyway, haha.

I will say I don't have a lot of really good straight guy friends. It's something I'm working on, but it can be awkward. I tend to gravitate towards other gay guys even if they are not really out.

That said, I still have some pretty good guy and girl friends. Work and campus organizations provided most of them. Ironically none of my really good friends (save 1) came from church.

I would honestly concentrate on being the best you that you can be. I know it sounds cliche. However, people do pull away from those lacking self-confidence as they can seem insecure and negative. Nobody likes a negative person. I'm not saying to put on a happy face 24/7, but you can be upbeat and engaging.

There is no magic formula for the people I've become closest too. The relationships just evolved naturally over time.

Oh, and loosen up. It's advice I don't take often enough, but that is really quite sound.

RikFleming said...

Brandon,

I have been blessed with many very close Christian friends. I have not one but 6 men who are closer to me than a brother. But I don't "cling" to them. I think clinginess or neediness can drive people away.

Also, as you go through your 20's a lot of people make changes in their life: go off to college, join the military, get married, go to the mission field, get abducted by aliens and taken to another planet... It is very much a transitional period of life. So I have very few (if any) from that stage in life. All of my close friends are settled, stable and have roots so they're not going anywhere.

By the way, I changed by blog address:

http://battlingchristian.blogspot.com/

Love ya man!

Your FRIEND!

Rik

Brandon said...

Thanks for the advice guys. I think I probably do need to work on my self-confidence a little. I do tend to have an "I'm not good enough" feeling at times. Not all the time, but maybe enough that it effects things. Definitely need to loosen up more. I don't think I tend to be too clingy. It does make me wonder what's going on when I don't hear back from a friend for awhile though (like if I try to call or send an email and it takes them two months getting back with me--something like that). It sort of makes me wonder if I did something wrong or if the person just doesn't want to be friends anymore. I think that's more of an insecurity though. I've had some friends before, especially when I was younger, who just sort of completely abandoned me. I don't make a big deal about it to the other person/s though. And I do try to remember that most people have busy lives these days--myself included. Anyway, thanks for the input.

And thanks for letting me know the new blog address, Rik. I'll be sure to change the link on my blog.

donsands said...

Personality is the big thing I think.

I'm not the most affectionate kind of guy. I don't know what you call that, but I do like to be with certain people: Christians mostly, and also non-Christians.

Friendships take time, and they take the Lord.
Of course, for those who are in Christ, who have repented and trusted the risen Christ, Jesus is their Friend, as well as their Lord and Savior and God.

Friendships are something that I think just happen. However, we do have to hang out with people for a while, and be involved in the church, and perhaps in other minitries.

that probably doesn't help much, but I'm not very wise about this subject.

All my friends have split up, because my church has slpit. I do stay in contact with some though.

We love one another, and pray for one another, and when one becomes ill, we all help out. that sort of thing.

Also, I have three pastors who are good friends. God sovereignly does this sort of thing.

Have you asked the Lord about this? "We have not, because we ask not. And when we do ask, we ask amiss, (some of the times), or with the wrong motive."

Thanks for stopping by the other day.

Have a God blessed evening, and day.

Aphra said...

Hi Brandon,

I landed here from Robert's blog. I'm not really great with the friends thing myself. I've always been really shy, I suppose. But I consider people friends when we are interested in each others' lives and wanting to help one another.

Take care!
Aphra

Brandon said...

Thanks for the input guys. Yes, I have been praying about this. You all take care as well. :)

Sweeney said...

I too struggle with SSA and I have always had trouble making friends, mostly with other guys. I currently only have one guy friend(who is strait, btw). He is one of my best friends. I no longer talk to my former best friend(who was also strait). That friendship ended slowly over the coarse if this year. Though I am very sad at the idea of the loss of a friend, it was for the best. As I said, that only leaves me with one guy friend now. Like you, I also have many friends online that I talk to but it is still not the same. Just pray that God will send you new people to meet, and don't be afraid to meet new people. You sound a lot like me, I am very shy around people I don't know. Part of the reason is because I'm scared people will find out about my SSA. But seriously, pray that God will put you in situations to meet new people, and he will send them. And be patient, God does not always work on our time.

MR said...

Brandon,

For me friendship is a loving relationship that is not sexual. I personally want to be friends with Christians who share my love for God, but I also reach out to people in need. For me, I don't let someone's insecurity stop me from wanting them as a friend. I tend to avoid agressive, arrogant people who will pull me in a bad direction.

Friendships have stayed together when I found a common interest with my friend and kept dealing with it together. Of course, having a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important common interest!

Tit for Tat said...

Ah whats life if you cant have a dissenting voice speaking out every once in a while. So here I go(again). ;)

Odds are you are only going to attract people who believe what you believe(birds of a feather, flock together). So if you think that your sexuality is bad, I would imagine the only ones who would want to hang around with you would have the same opinion. Unfortunately, most Christians dont want anything to do with a Homosexual. Whats a boy to do eh. Maybe develop a whole new belief system and open up yourself to the possibility of many friends. Tough choice I would imagine...........NOT.

donsands said...

"Unfortunately, most Christians dont want anything to do with a Homosexual."

How do you know that most don't?

There are many people who say they are Christians, who are not (Matt. 7:21-23).

Brandon said...

Sweeny, thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I do get a little shy sometimes around people. There's probably several reasons for that. Good advice about being patient though. I think I should definitely keep that in mind.

MR, I think you're right that developing friendships shouldn't be about developing a sexual relationship--unless you're looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend, which I'm not. But good to keep that in mind. I'm sure having those thoughts about potential friends can just mess things up a bit.

Tit for Tat, actually you're right. That's not a tough choice. I'm not going to change my beliefs just to make friends. Talk about living a lie--I'd never be true to myself, and the friendships based on that decision would just be doomed to failure because they couldn't be genuine. I want friends who like me and want to be friends with me because of who I am. If I have to change myself to become friends with them, then they're not worth having as friends in the first place. But I do also agree that birds of a feather flock together, so to speak. People like being around those who share similar interests or backgrounds to their own--commonalities. Though, sometimes, I believe opposites do attract. A talker usually seems to like a listener, for example.

Donsands, I think most true followers of Christ (those who truly understand His message) wouldn't have a problem being friends with homosexuals. That would actually be following Christ's example, since we are told he was a "friend of sinners". A lot of Christians today, I do think misunderstand what they're supposed to be doing as Christians though. I don't mean all are like this, but several actually are, sadly.

Thanks everyone for the comments. Great discussion here, and food for thought.

Chris said...

I definitely relate to what you have said. I’ve always felt like there is a ‘indefinable something’ that stops me from making friends easily and quickly. I’ve been in situations, like first year uni, where everyone around me was making friends, but for some reason I didn’t. Sure I had acquaintances, but they never progressed beyond that and I don’t know why. I’m not expecting to be a super friend getter as I take a while to warm up to people and am a bit reserved and quiet initially. So sometimes when I am ready to be friendly and chatty people have already made judgments about me so they don’t notice or realise I am acting differently two months later. But there seems to be more than this. In saying that God has blessed me with some great in-person friends most of whom I met in high school and I probably don’t ‘need’ anymore. That’s part of the reason I’ve never made a massive attempt to find out why I seem to have a friend blockage and deal with it.

Brandon said...

Chris,

We seem to share a similar story here. Most of what you said sounds very familiar to me. It's like for some unknown reason I can't seem to get beyond just being acquaintances. I tend to be a little shy or reserved when I first meet people as well. Seems like when I do loosen up around them though, they never notice. Anyway, here's to hoping God will bless us both with more friends in the future. Thanks for commenting. :)

Jim Jordan said...

Don't feel bad, Brandon. I had only three close friends growing up. I'm not good at making friends either. There's a bit of a Catch-22 effect [or is it a temptation] that when one meets Christ, making friends takes a back seat. In one way we find people are more lovable, but we need them less. I have not felt loneliness since Christ invaded my life 8 years ago. Is it possible your lack of friends is a blessing in disguise?

Joe said...

Well... I really don't have a whole lot of advice. I think alt of what has already been said is good. I have sort of been in the same position. I have found it difficult to cultivate deep relationships. I have a good amount of friends but really only one that is deep.

The one really intimate friend I have used to be my roomate at college. The friendship was not always as healthy as it is now. When we first became close I had never really had a close friend before and I was really clingy on him (he is not same sex attracted btw). I would def agree with Rik, that being clingy drives people away. That is a really long story so I will leave it at that. We are best friends now though, but I always have to keep myself in check not to be clingy or such.

So all that to say I agree with Rik on the clingy thing, and I feel into that for sure. I really hope you are able to find and cultivate some deep encouraging friendships. My friend lives 8 hours away so I can sort of relate in that sense that I really want face to face close friendships. I struggle to give it to God everyday in faith that he will provide for me the friendships that I need to grow. In my case this has been an idol at times, so I always try to have a proper balanced view on it, which is something I have yet to find...

So yeah, I just encourage you to keep at it and not get discouraged, God will provide for his children, I know its frustrating sometimes but we can't lose sight of the hope we have in God's provision.

Peace,
Joe

Brandon said...

Thanks for the thoughts guys. :)