Being A Friend

cool, cheery evening

Words that we utter may sometimes appear so insignificant, so unnecessary, and at times even so cumbersome. We genuinely try at times to be nice to people that we know and we tell them, ‘hey, whatever goes wrong just drop me a text, I’ll always be here for you’. Or we might say, ‘everything is okay, I’m going to be here and see you through it all’.

I’m sure we’ve all said those lines to people, be they people close to us or otherwise; I’m quite certain too that you have heard people telling you that too, that they will be there for you (as all good friends do) and that there is nothing to be afraid of or worried about.

So what’s the purpose of saying that really?

It works on two levels, or at least between two main ideas (do allow me to buy insurance here). In fact, I just discovered a third reason from my interactions with a friend as to why people say it but I would however, leave this one out until maybe just one sentence towards the end because I suspect it might not sit easy with people.

On one hand, it is to affirm the relationship between the two of you and to provide confidence. It doesn’t matter if you or your friend can be or will be there (or not), just the idea of someone being there is enough to be a great source of comfort, support and encouragement. The thought that there is a shoulder there to lean on, a sleeve to cry on, a ear ready to listen is sufficient to tide people through the toughest of times, the roughest of patches. That is the first, that people say it and use this idea as a form of support rather than actually turning to the person and using that shoulder. Those who provide this assurance and affirmation may or may not know the effect of their words, but it is definitely positive and can go a long way towards aiding others through rough rides.

The second is that people tell others this because they really can and want to be there for the people that they are telling it to. They have the capacity and ability to provide the help that is needed, whether it be either financial, physical, emotional or mental. This is a direct offer of a lifeline, a source of help that can actually be tapped on in times of need. There is something more concrete and real in this, and it does the same as per the first scenario, except that it goes beyond in that it is actually feasible.

For the final reason, it is bred out of a desire to feel like there will be someone there for you as well. It means (in simple simple words) that you say it so that you can feel that since you want (whether can or cannot) to be there for the other person, he or she will similarly also want to and can be there for you as well. It is also to keep people close to you, in that you try to make people feel that they are important to you such that you in turn can feel important and significant to that person as well. This, I am afraid, is bred out of insecurity and a sense of inadequacy of the self; that you need external support to be able to feel secure, that you need to depend on external sources to be able to feel safe and yourself. It is not the happiest of scenarios, but it happens far too often and with far too many people.

Since it’s Sunday, let’s move away from humans and talk a little bit about God. I think that’s one of the things that God, working through churches, cell groups and pastors, is trying to tell us: He is always there for all of us. Some of us, when we encounter difficulties and destabilising waves, are often clouded by the gloomy circumstances that we fail to see past the situation to see the light. It is wonderful to feel and know that God is always there for us, always ready to lend us a helping hand, always ready to direct us through ways which we sometimes are not aware of and at times miss; we do sometimes lose sight of God when we feel that our problems and circumstances overwhelm us, but I’m sure God understands that.

Here’s a verse. Isaiah 40:29 – He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

On a friendship and relationship level, I think that is what it means to being a friend – to be willing to give your love to others both in times of need and in times of plenty, in good and in bad times, in happiness and in sorrow. We very often enjoy the benefits of friendship and do not contribute back our part in supporting the other person, that while we enjoy their company in fun times, we disappear and dissociate ourselves from them during times of crisis and disaster. If you love the other person enough, you will look towards him or her even in your own testing moment of need.

Being a friend; beautiful yet never easy.

(thank you for making me realise that. It explains well why when people ask me who you are to me.. I still tend to say best friend before other things)

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