Every so often as we sit and watch “Friends” reruns, I can’t help but feel envious. Granted, I’m envious of fictitious people in a scripted environment, but the basis of my envy remains. There are six people who each have five other people that will be there for them no matter what. Five people who they can depend on, laugh with, cry with, build memories with…five best friends.

Developing close relationships becomes more difficult as you grow older. You have the most intimate relationship possible, and at least for us, can grow to be content with that one relationship. However, God made us relational…We are hard-wired for relationships..plural. Its hard…When we were younger, work didn’t get in the way…we certainly didn’t take it home with us…We didn’t have kids to play with, tuck in by a certain time of night, or cart around anywhere…We weren’t as stressed, as tired, or in truth, as in need of these relationships as we are now…They happened naturally.

Having a “best” friend is something I haven’t felt like I’ve had since graduating college. (David, my husband, is of course my BEST friend, but the husband/wife relationship doesn’t really count.) There have been and are, people that I’ve felt closer to than others, and would give titles such as, “my best friend from work,” or “my best friend from my old church,” etc. However, I’ve never been certain that any of these people felt the same way. I wonder if any of them have felt the way I do..wondering if someone considers them their best friend? Do we tell the people closest to us that they matter, or are we too afraid of rejection, or that awkard, “umm thanks,” we might get if we open up and make ourselves vulnerable.

My Dad once told me about how he would sit on a rock in the schoolyard and wait for kids to come and play with him. He said he never made any friends that way. David and I learned a similar lesson at our old church. We waited around for a year or two for people to come to us…for people to invite us over…We were sitting on a rock. We eventually got off the rock and made a lot of effort….We would seek out young couples in church and invite them over. We made our best friends by dropping a note in their lap in the middle of service. (literally.) We even started up a young couples fellowship group. However, we then found ourselves on the opposite side of the spectrum. We were the ones making ALL of the effort. Sure, we had friends…but, if we wanted to see any of them, we ALWAYS had to be the ones to ask them over….There needs to be a balance. We need to re-claim the type of give and take friendships that were so easy to make and keep when we were in school.

The question is how do we do that? How do you overcome the obstacles that stand in the way? How do you maintain a close relationship with people who are just as caught up in life’s “busy-ness” as you are? How do you open yourself up and be vulnerable enough with someone to truly get to know them, and more importantly, and even harder, let them get to know YOU. The real you. How do we do that?

All I know is that I’m going to try to find out…I’m going to try. I won’t be a rock-sitter, although the proverbial “rock” is often a much more “comfortable” place to be. However, I refuse to be the sole giver in a relationship as well. I will strive to find balanced and authentic relationships. I’ll let you know if I figure out how to do this…

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