I’ve never been one for friendships that really mean a lot. I’ve weaved in and out of every friendship and group I’ve ever been in for one reason or another. I’m not one to keep in touch (except with a couple long distance best girls) or go out of my way to make sure quality time is a regular part of friend relationships.
And then, I found myself desiring better relationships with my friends when I started college—not that I hadn’t wanted longevity to be a value within my other friendships, but most of my experience in past friendships never seemed to live up to the hype of the way friendships are portrayed as looking in mainstream media. Best friends since birth and no fights in a decade and a half—and I’ve never had any long-term friendships. A lot of my friendships from my childhood were with people who bullied me without my understanding that that’s not how it was supposed to look.
I don’t say this to evoke pity or anything like that but to recognize (and encourage others who feel they’re in the same boat) that most, if not all, of our relationships won’t look like how movies and television (and even those around us!) relationships look, especially when it comes to looking at our pasts. And we should be very much frowning upon those relationships that were bully and abuse centered.
But, as much as our relationships won’t look like the ones in movies, we also need to find a balance of healthy fun and reality among our friends! There is a lot of value that comes from long-term friendship and strong foundations. If that’s not part of your life right now, that’s okay, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be. You are able to lay down the foundation and do the work to invest in building those long-term relationships. You can decide to take those steps—and more often than not, they will be reciprocated and appreciated because people love (and need) to know they are wanted, loved, and valuable.
We pursue good relationships with others to fulfill some of our own needs, yes, but also because there’s an important element of communal longevity that just can’t be replicated in another way—there’s a depth of long-term reliance and built-up trust that we cannot manufacture in moments. We need long-term, we need reliable, and we need strong foundations in friendships.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” (C.S. Lewis)
Friendship is unrequired and easy to put off when we don’t want to extend our efforts any further. But we sacrifice a critical element of Good in our lives when we don’t pursue fruitful friendships. And they won’t come right away, and they will take work, and they will be worth it.
We were not made to walk alone—we are made to be heartbroken and joyful, thankful and loving, hopeful and struggling, but not alone—together.
The Body is community—togetherness and wholeness rooted in the foundation of a closeness to Christ. We were designed, not just for friendship, but for Christ-centered, Eternity-founded relationships.
“The mark of Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all.” (C.S. Lewis)
To lift one another up and draw one another nearer to the Only One Who Matters Here—this is the mark of a Good friend, of reliability and longevity of friendship. That we would be trusted, confided in, and counted on as Little Lights of Hope that always point back to the Source of Everything Good. This is a Good friend—that we would not only sacrifice our lives but our pride, that we would reach out, be transparent, and allow weakness to be supported and uplifted between us.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)