Monday, 28 July 2014

Friend Envy

Yes, there is such a thing.

Anyone with very few friends experiences at various times in their lives

It hits you at times when you are most vulnerable ... it hits hard ... and it makes you wonder if you are really worth anything to anyone.

But it's a sin - the 10th Commandment - "You shall not covet ... anything that is your neighbour's" (Deuteronomy 5:21).

And so there is the problem.

I have 2 good friends - best friends; one I see fairly regularly and we have a set catch up time once a month, but she is a busy Mum and with all her family commitments there isn't the opportunity to just 'hang out' together. My other best friend is serving God on the mission field half way around the world (and is very bad at keeping in contact). With her, I used to be able to just hang out, chat, watch movies, do whatever or not do anything other than just enjoy being in each other's company. But with her move overseas, the distance has separated us, and I am left behind. Now she has recently got married and our times will never be the same again when she does return (if she returns).

I have always struggled with friendships.

Primary school years there is only one person I would say was a close friend, but we only saw each other at school. The rest of the time there were always friend groups that I was on the outside of - I didn't play netball, and didn't go to their church, so other than school there was nothing to build a friendship on.

Church life was hard too - the only other children, for the most part, were my brother and sisters; and we didn't always get along.

Between primary school and high school we moved, not just a short distance, but to the other side of the country. The people there all had their established friendship groups, as they had been together throughout primary school. Once again I went to a different church where there were no teens my age, or if there were they had other friends.

I changed schools again for my final 2 years of school and thought I had found a good group of friends. I had people to be with during recess and lunch and I was accepted in a group. No really close friendships though, as they were all non-Christians. But then came the final school event together and they suddenly showed their true colours - I was no longer welcome in the group and some very nasty things were said and spread around about me.

We did finally have some others at Church the right ages and I found one friend, but then I moved back to the other side of the country and she became better friends with my sister.

During my Uni days I managed to have 2 groups of friends - one at Church, the other at Christian Union (CU). There was one girl who I got close to - or so I thought. The trouble was I expected more of her than she could give and we both ended up badly hurting each other. The church friends had been together for a long time, so there was that trying to get into the group issue again.

I moved again and the contact I had with those friends has gradually dwindled. Most people keep in contact with friends from their past - they have life-long friendships that stand the test of time - as for me, it seems I only have friends for a season. Part of that could be my fault because I'm not good at keeping in contact - but friendship is also a two-way thing. Unless both people put into it the friendship cannot survive - this is something I've learned the hard way, as I put effort in to trying to have a friendship with people who do not reciprocate.

My experience over the last 10 years has been hard. The Church I attend has a lot of cliques. They say they welcome everyone - and to a point they do - but for the most part the ones of a similar age to me have been together for their whole lives, at both church and school. Because of this, they have their best friends and their friend group but don't include new people into that. This has been further complicated by all the weddings that have taken place - I am now the only woman around my age who is still single, and one of just a handful of single people over 30.

It's a lonely place to be.

And so here I am, longing for a friend, but also being too afraid of rejection to really try to get close to anyone any more. I'm tired of being the one to do the approaching; I need to be approached so that I know they really want to be my friend, not just me be theirs.

So, I guess I'm at war with myself. Pleading with God to let me have just one friend who is here; being reminded that when that person does come along not to make an idol of them; being scared of rejection; and in turn being frustrated that I haven't yet found another friend.

For 4 years I have been waiting for another friend; for 14 I have been waiting for a husband (but that's another story).

The hardest part is the war in my heart. In reality, God should be enough, with the friend and husband the icing on the cake. My head knows this, but my heart ...

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