Thursday, January 13, 2011

Disposable Friendships

I have been doing some pondering this week on friendship. According to my Facebook page I have 695 friends. I had more than that but I “unfriended” some I didn’t really know. I imagine I have been “unfriended” too. As I was thinking about that, a thought came to mind: We live in a time with “Disposable Friendships.” Now I realize that is not a pleasant thought, but let me tell you what I mean by that.

I have a few very close friends. Friends I have known for years that stick closer than a brother. I have had friendships at the different places I have worked and preached that seemed “close,” but when I moved, they ended for all intents purposes (Even though we promised to keep in touch). Then there are those friendships that seemed very close, but I felt it was kind of a one way street. When I pulled back from the friendship my feelings were confirmed. No phone calls. No “what’s wrong?” No “can we talk?” It just ended.

The fact is, some people aren’t willing to do what it takes to salvage a relationship. It’s not that they don’t like you; it’s just easier to make new friends than actually work on a relationship. Relationships take work; Hard work! No relationship is a one way street.

I was talking with my old friend Jeff Flannery a few months back. Jeff and I went to High School together. Jeff plays guitar a rock band. I got to see him a couple of times last year when his band played in Seattle. It was great to see him some 20 years later. As we were talking one day on the phone, he said “You know Glenn, I just love you man! All these years later and it’s like we never missed a beat. In this business you meet a lot of people who claim to be your friend, but then you find out they were only your friend because of what you could offer them. I have found some of the only real friends I ever had were the ones back in High School.”

I feel honored, but it is a sad statement. Yet I wonder how many of us could repeat it? Some of my closest friends are the ones that date back to High School. When I was having heart scare last year, my friends Chris and Byron were ready to hop on a plane and head this way. I met Byron when I was 17 and Chris when I was 8. I don’t talk to these guys every day, but I know they are there. You have people like that too don’t you?

What about the people in your life right now? Maybe a better question is, Am I being that kind of friend for someone who needs it, or do I view friendships as disposable?

Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 18:24 - A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Here is the point: Friendships were never meant to be disposable. Work to keep your friendships alive. Realize they are a two way street. If you have a friendship now that is not as close as it once was, ask yourself what you have done to make it that way. Ask yourself what you can do to salvage it. The other person may need your friendship more than you know.