Friday, August 12, 2016

The Value of Friendship


You hear a lot about why you're not happy. Maybe it's because your surrounded by negative people. Maybe it's because you haven't achieved your goals. Maybe it's because you aren't in a relationship. Maybe it's because you're focusing on the past and future, not the present.

Our happiness is made by adding lot's of things up, but good friends have a larger value than I realised.

Last year, I finally settled into a group at school (it took me a long time because I'm not good at friends). And I was so happy. But as we moved into our last year of high school, change loomed over me. I thought if I lost my friends, I'd be desperately unhappy. I thought I'd be miserable in and out of class at school. I was terrified. But they were headed in a different direction from me, and I knew that I couldn't follow them. I noted down in my writing "I was a snake with perfect camouflage, wary of everyone in the jungle but confident enough to survive. But when the scenery changed, I was no longer hidden".

So the beginning of this year, I went in the opposite direction (literally, in terms of where we hang out) with one friend. And immediately, I came in contact with people I sort of knew, but not really. My study period, leadership position and extracurriculars also offered the same opportunity. I stopped searching for a group to fit into and started talking to whoever I came across, and made an effort to be friendly and helpful. And people started to find me instead.

Source
Over the last six months I've made positive, fun, but hard working friends - the kind of people who build you up rather than tearing you down. Have you ever heard that you attract what you are? I think it's true.

Now when I read the poem I linked to back at the start, I wonder why I didn't think about how nervous I was. Yes, I was struggling with social anxiety, but at the same time, why would I feel threatened around my friends? Because threatened was exactly how I felt whenever I was around them. They often talked about those not there, and I knew they probably did the same about me when I wasn't there. This resulted in two things: I felt insecure when I was with them, and worried what they were saying when I wasn't. And no wonder! The Bible says about gossip: whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends (Proverbs 17:9, NIV).

We still hang out in some classes, and sometimes I'm left out of their group because I'm not in on the jokes anymore. But I'm okay with that. Because class ends, and in about 8 weeks so will high school. And university promises to change us all again, so maybe we'll drift back together. But it's more likely I'll make new friends, while vaguely staying in contact with those from high school.

What have I taken away from the last year? You shouldn't be looking for friends to complete your life, you should be attracting friends who compliment your life. God is the only one who can complete us, but he designed us to have a community around us that supports us, in whatever way.

Have you ever gone in the opposite direction of your friends? Have you ever realised your friends aren't healthy for you? Are you good at making friends? Do you get caught up in the idea of needing friends? Do you have a group of supportive friends you treasure? 
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Opal's looking forward to high school being over, but she will miss all the friends she's made. 

12 comments:

  1. This summer I went to a leadership conference and the whole theme of it was on community and why it is so vitally...and biblically commanded that we have community. So thank you for writing this post and reminding me of the special place that community and friends NEEDS to take in our life.

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    1. I would have loved to go to the conference with you! Sounds like you would have learnt some valuable things :)

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  2. I've been blessed with an amazing group of friends this last year, and as they were all seniors, now I'm losing most of them. Not sure how this new year is going to go, since I'll be pretty alone most of the time, but hoping for some new friends to come in. :)

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    1. That's super hard! I have a friend who was like that, but he settled into a new friend group just fine :) Good luck! :)

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  3. I'm absolutely horrible at making friends - it's one of my biggest insecurities. I love my group of friends, but seeing how everyone else has so many more friends makes me feel almost like something's wrong with me - why can't I make friends, why do I repel most people I meet? Almost all the friends I have are from fourth, third grade - I've found it almost impossible to form new bonds in middle and high school. I'm glad things are working out for you, though. <3

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. SAME. I really struggle with the idea that people might not like me. I've known my best friend for years and years, and she doesn't go to my school, which has also been hard. I'm sure that you'll find the people you need when the time comes <3

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  4. This is really interesting! Thank you for sharing this! I'm also in my last year of high school, although I only just started it (no study leave either :( ) In the last year or so I've realised that some 'friends' I've had for ages aren't really friends, but at the same time I've made new ones. I think I'll make a lot of new friends in university. Also, I kind of spend a lot of time studying, and then my social life suffers. (maybe because I'm a day student at a school with mostly boarders?

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    1. I've definitely felt the effect of my studying on friendships :/ University is a great place for making new friends, or so one hears :)

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  5. This reminds me of Blimey Cow 'Signs That you Need New Friends'. You see, I'm scared of making friends because I don't want to be friends with fake people who have nothing better to do but gossip. However, I have nice internet buddies but it sucks that I'll probably never meet people who have things in common with me in real life :/

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    1. I love Blimey Cow! It is super hard to pick which friends a good and bad :/
      Meeting internet friends is on my bucket list!

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  6. This is an interesting reflection coming one year later. It sounds like you've gained a lot of wisdom! It's definitely important to maintain a community that builds you up! (Or you could be like me and avoid friendships in general but you know whatever. ;) )

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    1. Glad you agree! :)
      I like to have a lot of friends I don't know very well, and a few I know super well :)

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