But Is Much Much More
There are two types of healthy friendships: Equal and unequal. Equal we understand and easily accept. Friendship is synonymous with give-and-take. The equal kind where your giving balances out your taking.
Unequal we don’t get so much. When one person does most of the giving and the other does most of the taking, isn’t that unacceptable?
That’s how we usually see it but is that always true? Can a friendship be good when equality is distorted? I think it can. In fact, the greatest friendships are unequal. Let me explain.
Equal friends are peers. Their lives run in parallel. They aren’t exactly the same but they have equal levels of development. Generally:
- They share similar levels of health, education and opportunities for employment. Neither is handicapped or maybe both are handicapped but they are equal.
- They speak the same language and maintain the same standard of living.
- They share common opportunities for recreation, lifestyle habits and so on.
- They may not make the same choices but they share common options.
- They may not have the same job position but they work in the same strata of society.
It isn’t uncommon for people on an equal footing to meet and become connected at the friendship level. It isn’t forced. Neither is uncomfortable with the other. There is no condescension either way.
They are able to give as much as they receive.
But there is a second angle on friendship that tells a different story.
This kind of friendship is marked by either division or disparity, or sometimes both. If it’s division, the friends represent differing sides. If it’s disparity, the friends are on different social levels, more vertical than horizontal. One looking down, the other looking up.
Unequal friendships require a great effort, at least on the part of one, for the connection to be made. One side is sacrificing, the other benefits.
This doesn’t seem fair and according to Jesus it isn’t, but it is not what you think. The giver, He said, is much more blessed than the receiver.
When beliefs are involved compromise is assumed but, again, not so. Giving a person what they need on a personal level doesn’t require alignment of beliefs. You’ll see just now. Read more
Of Book Sales
Amazon’s online review portal provides a great benefit for anyone looking to buy books but only because people say what they think.
And anyone can write a review. Anyone! The only qualifications are you bought – or borrowed – the book and read it.
But as with anything in life, there are Do’s and Don’ts that every reviewer should keep in mind, especially when it comes to books. Several are listed below.
These guidelines apply mostly to non-fiction but can be modified for fiction. Read more
A Person’s Capacity
Is Determined By
The Number Of Secrets
In a previous post I covered 11 Negative Friendships To Avoid. Now that that’s out of the way we can look at the positive benefits of a great friendship. These are the things we’re all looking for and hope to find in a friendship.
A good friendship is . . . Read more
Friends Are Rarely
The word Friend, like the word Family, has been romanticized. It evokes idealized images of a perfect world and warm fuzzies for all.
The assumption is, a true friend can only be upright and a friendship can only be good for us. The reality is, again like family, a friendship can sometimes be very bad.
But we can’t allow that possibility to put us in a permanently guarded state. Sometimes the friends we make are the only ones available. They’re in our face, so to speak. We don’t have a choice so we make the best of what’s available.
Imperfect friends and friendships can still be very good. What we must avoid are the extremes.
Defining The Negative Friendship
All friendships have hurtful moments but an abrasion here or there doesn’t make it negative. A friendship becomes negative when it is more hurtful than beneficial over the long haul.
Personality is an issue but not absolutely. A person’s nature is built in and is neither intrinsically good or bad. An idiosyncrasy that irritates some people will endear us to others.
From the examples that follow it is clear that negative is a character issue and that is what spoils the mix.
One reason we gravitate to these not-so-good-for-us friendships is they are like crutches. They reinforce our disabled thinking, and that begs the question. How many people really want to change? How many of us intentionally choose friends because they are good for us and not easy. Having friends who endorse our faults relieves the pressure.
Like the song says . . .
Some of them want to abuse you and some of them want to be abused.
It’s easier to stay as we are, and people who allow that are good for the friendship even if the friendship isn’t good for us.
That’s not how friendships are supposed to work but it does happen.
The truth is Friendship implies Equality, and good ones involve give and take. I wouldn’t say friendships will ever be absolutely equal, or absolutely good for us, but there should be a balance.
The following emotionally unbalanced extremes are ones we should avoid. Read more
No One Is Automatically
A Friend Or Enemy
Not Even Family
It’s very easy to think of friends and family as two different things. We inherit family and we choose friends, but can they migrate? Can one ever be the same as the other?
The Bible mentions three different categories of individuals other than family:
- Everyone else in between
But the relationships we have with people are dynamic. No one is born a Friend or Enemy. Instead everyone starts out in the middle, neutral, and then moves one way or the other. We might illustrate it like this:
Family is not represented on this graph and rightly so. No family member automatically fits into any one of these categories. There’s overlap as the following illustration shows.
Obviously, we tend to think of family members as “like” friends, but are they really?
We also never associate family with enemies even when the comparison is justified. Read more