“We are not into partnerships, we like friendship”, is what my friend Mark said this week, as I sat and listened to him talk to Ivan, another friend who represents OM in the UK to Churches. Wow that hit me between the eyes, what a great statement but more than that, what a great approach to life. I talked last weekend with my friend Stephen about a book called “Raving Fans”. The author was saying “I am not happy with satisfied customers, I want raving fans”. Both Mark and the author want a deeper relationship, a covenantial one not a contractual one, one from the heart not the head.
This past week, we have continued to receive cards and phone calls from friends of my auntie who passed away. I am so deeply challenged by the common comment, “Mavis was a good friend”. It shows, why would they send a sympathy card to us as a family or take the trouble to phone. It is I believe their way of expressing gratitude to Mavis for her friendship. What is amazing is to realise that initially the friendship she had was with another family member, but when they died, somehow the rest of the family wanted to continue the relationship.
So what do I/we consider makes a good friendship? Are some friendships a bit more like a partnership? Is there an expectation that we both get something out of the relationship, advancing a common interest of goal? Is friendship not more on the emotional level and developing interpersonal ties? Am I a friend, am I a good friend? Do I open up on an emotional level and respond at the emotional level? How many ‘friendships’ are really an acquaintance?
I have to say I am so blessed with a number of awesome friendships. Those friends embrace the whole of my life, they know all my family and have taken time to know them. With one of my friends, we both have withdrawal symptoms if we do not touch base once a week! With todays communication technology we are so fortunate. We share in the joy and pain, the thrill of the moment and the sadness of life, the ordinary and the extra ordinary.
Let me encourage us all to think about friendship and be purposeful in developing and maintaining those. I am so grateful that Mike was my “buddy”. I am even more grateful for the friendship I have with Kathy. There is no point in me having awesome friendships in my third circle if the ones in the first and second are not happening!