As I reflected on the meeting later that day, and a few thoughts came to mind.
Friends are commonly categorized into the following:
Friends for a Season: These are friends that come at a particular season in one’s life to fulfill a purpose or to meet a specific need. It may be at a critical time when one is sick, or when you are very vulnerable in situations of a loss of a loved one or a relationship. Some might be for a particular time- your high school, or university/ college days. This person is usually by your side to encourage you, be there for you, help you and support you through that season, and in general, encourage you to be who and where you ought to be. Usually such friendships comes to a natural end when the season is over; often through physical separation- one or the other person moves away, and sometimes it just naturally fizzles out. On the other hand it could also transition into a longer term relationship. The mistake many of us make is not recognizing the handwriting on the wall when such seasons are over, which can sometimes cause unnecessary strain in the relationship.
Points to Note:
- Recognize, and accept when the season of friendship is over
- Be grateful to God for sending that person to your life at that particular point in time.
- Such friendships usually do not degenerate into strain, unless one fails to recognize the end of that season
- Keep in touch once in awhile!
Friends for a Reason: These are friends that are with you for a because of a benefit they enjoy or an advantage they gain from you. The basis of the relationship is self interest. When the object of the interest is no longer there, or if they can get it from other sources, the relationship no longer becomes useful to them; You remain a priority only as long the object of interest is needed.
Many times we confuse ourselves into thinking that the friends for a reason only need material or physical gain-This is not the issue in a lot of cases. The reasons why they are friends with us may be to improve their self esteem, feel better about themselves based on an advantage they have over you, or by association with you, for connections, or right branding. For some, it may simply be to have a sense of control over another individual.
Such friendships/relationships fare well as long as the basis of the friendship and expectations are clear on both sides. However, these types of friendships have the greatest potential for hurts and a lot of strife. One major challenge in this type of friendship is that one party is usually unwilling to give more than they are willing to take, and this ends up in a relationship that is out of balance, based on manipulation and control.
Points to note:
- Relationships where there are elements of control, power play, constant strife, are likely friendships for a reason- those reasons are just not communicated and clarified yet.
- A lot of times, these friendships also tend to go out of balance with one person vying for the upper hand in the relationship, or at best, a constant power struggle between the two parties
- Having clear expectations and setting clear boundaries are the strategies for enjoying this type of friendship/relationship. While the this appears simple, they are not easy to implement as most times, the expectations are selfish and unrealistic
- Having a common interest and agenda helps to clarify the terms and engagement- This is the principle that works in political circle- No permanent enemies because of common interests
- You both need to know the reason why you are in the relationship- Why am I in this friendship?
Friends for a Lifetime: These friends have transitioned from the season and reason- you both share the same reasons why you are friends with each other, and these reasons remain constant over time. You have come to accept each other and there is no element of control or manipulation. You are comfortable being around each other, and though you may not see often, you know that the friendship is intact.
These kinds of friends are not many, and you will be blessed if you have handful in your lifetime. They tell you things because they love you and genuinely want the best for you. They have seen you as you are, and really, they don’t mind. They genuinely love and respect you for who you are
Points to note:
- A very important point to note that these types of friends add value to each other.
- They have a mutual understanding of loyalty, appreciation for others’ strengths, and compassion and respect for each others’ weaknesses in other words, they’ve got each other’s backs
- There is a strong element of commitment in this type of friendship which makes the friendship last form season to season, and from reason to reason
As I thought over these three types of friends, my mind flashed back with fond memories of some of my friends for a season, painfully to a few friends for a reason, and thankfully, thinking my friends for a lifetime.
As I reflected on these thoughts, a Word dropped in my heart- if you want friends, you must show yourself friendly, and there is always a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Showing yourself friendly in this case means that you must have a faithful spirit. Faithfulness in this sense means commitment: Commitment to your friend’s well being and success- Faithful are the wounds of a friend but the kisses of an enemy are deceit.
Your potential is determined by those closest to you: Two cannot walk together except they agree. You can only go as far as the people you do life with. It’s essential in life to examine and adjust the basis of your friendships and association with those whom you are close to. Show me your friend, the adage says, and I will tell you who you are.
Who you attract is a reflection of who you are: The quality of people you attract into your life is based on the kind of person you are. If you are a shallow person, by default you will attract shallow people. If you are friend for a season, you will attract friends for a season into your life. If you are a friend for a lifetime, you will have the privilege and benefit of attracting high quality men and women into your life. Who you are is who you attract: That is the principle behind what some experts call the law of magnetism.
Being a friend is more important than having one: I have come to learn that friendship is not as much as having the right friends but being the right one. As a friend, you must add value to the life of the people you are friends with. If you want to attract people that will add value to your life, begin to add value to the life of others. In essence, it is more important in being the right kind of friend than finding one. If you become the right kind of friend, by default you will attract the right kind people into your life.
Seasons, Motive and Motivation: I have also come to learn that it is important to recognize when the season of a friendship has passed and to let it go. Just as important, if not more, is to know and understand the reasons behind your friendship, and when this also is not clear, or when the basis of the friendship has changed, you can either adjust and redefine the basis of your friendship, or move on. Doing an internal assessment of the kind of friend that you are and the types of friends that you have can be very hard, because most of us are afraid of being lonely, but it is always good to know the kind for friend that you are first, and the reason why you attract a certain type of people.
In conclusion, who you are is who you attract, and who you attract and associate with determines how far you go in life. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed. As you grow in life, it is important that you take time out to take a good hard look at yourself, and the kinds of people you attract into your life. It is also essential that you ask why you attract these kinds of people- positive and negative.
Have a clear view of why you are also friends with the people you are friends with, and if you are adding value to each other. Needless to say, do not be friends with those whom you do not share the same values.