When I was in high school I looked at adult friendships and thought how nice it must be to not have to deal with friendship drama. It seemed like drama magically went away when you reached your twenties. Then I turned twenty, then thirty, and now almost forty, and the different facets of friendship drama disillusion me.
A few years ago I invited a friend to my daughter’s first birthday party. I hadn’t seen my friend since my daughter was born, but I thought it was appropriate to invite her because she had come to my baby shower.
When I received her email saying she couldn’t make it to the party I sensed something wasn’t right. I had felt tension between us for a while, and her decline solidified it. So I emailed her back and asked her if something was wrong between us, and if so to please let me know so that I could apologize for what I did to hurt her.
Her response was one I didn’t expect.
She broke up with me.
That’s right. Simply put she told me she didn’t want to be my friend anymore, that we had drifted apart and gone separate ways. Then she added a classic line right from a page of my single, dating years. She said maybe we could connect again sometime in the future.
After reading the email I sat there in disbelief. Not only were the words scripted from a break-up, my heart felt like a break-up. I had lost a friend who spent countless nights with me over chips and salsa as we tried to solve every single woman’s dilemma. A friend who was my wing-woman at parties during our single years. I started to cry.
I wish I could tell you that this is an isolated incident among girlfriends, but it’s not.
Right after college two of my friends, who were roommates, had a falling out over one of their weddings. I don’t even know the details. All I know is that they were inseparable in college, and now they don’t talk.
Then there’s my college roommate. We went off to graduate school together, and I was in her wedding. A few years after that I saw her at a mutual friend’s wedding and for reasons I still don’t know our friendship was over.
Even today there is drama at church between women, and friendships are ending.
I haven’t always been the one dumped in friendships and never the one doing the dumping. As I think back on it, there have been several friends I’ve subtly broken up with, too.
With adult friendships it doesn’t usually happen as definitively as, “You aren’t my friend anymore,” like it does on the playground growing up. When our adult friends hurt us there is a slow drift until the friendship dissolves. We stop texting as much, we avoid each other in social settings, or we put on a happy “everything is fine” smile when we do see each other while deep down inside resentment brews. We may even start dropping hints of gossip into mutual friends’ ears.
Why, though, are adult, female friendships so hard to maintain?
The answer can be found in Colossians 3:13. “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT).
First, we don’t “make allowance for other’s faults.”
All of us have personality flaws and sin in our lives. Some women talk too much. Some are self-consumed. Some boast. Some gossip. Some are harsh with their words. Some show-off. Some are superficial. Some are standoffish. Some are arrogant. Some of materialistic.
However, every time a friend hurts us with their annoying or downright sinful behavior, that shouldn’t be our cue to break-off the friendship. Instead, we should have a spirit of humility knowing that for every sinful behavior in someone else, there’s one in us.
Secondly, we don’t forgive friends who offend us.
We all know that Jesus commands us to forgive each other. But often times we apply this command to our families and not our friendships. It’s a lot harder to wipe our hands clean of family issues because we have to live with our families.
However, in friendships our attitude is that we don’t have to put up with conflict. We can just walk away and never see the person again if we choose to. Sometimes it’s easier to end the friendship than to forgive the friend.
I want to challenge you, and myself, to be better caretakers or our friendships. Let’s strive to make allowances for others’ faults and forgive them when they offend us like Paul wrote in Colossians. Because, ladies, we need each other.
As our culture changes and it becomes harder to live countercultural lives for Jesus, we will need our Sisters in Christ more than ever before.
We will need each to help each other up when we fall (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
We will need to sacrifice for each other (John 15:13).
We will need to support each other in trials (Proverbs 17:17).
We will need to point each other to God’s truth (Proverbs 27:17).
We will need to spur each other on (Hebrews 10:24).
With all of our needs, there’s no room for pride and unforgiveness. Let’s do the hard work of committing to our friends – our Sisters in Christ – who share with us the bond of the Holy Spirit. This bond is what makes us family not just now, but for eternity.
iBelieve.com: How can I forgive those who have sinned against me? - Jessica Thompson from ibelievedotcom on GodTube.
Brenda Rodgers considers herself a “recovering single” after years as a single woman chasing after marriage instead of chasing after Jesus. Now her passion is to mentor young women to live purposefully and grow in their relationship with God and others. Brenda has been married for five years to a heart transplant hero and is the mom of a toddler girl miracle. She is also the author of the eBook Fall for Him: 25 Challenges from a Recovering Single. You can also read more on Brenda’s blog, www.TripleBraidedLife.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.