The more time passes the smaller and smaller it seems my circle of friends becomes. I am now realizing the amazing privilege I had to be part of a college and career group that desired to be together. That had the charisma and draw that seemed to bridge gaps and draw single people together like nothing ANYONE else had ever seen. The dilemma with this is that life must go on, changes must be made, and people eventually move into different stages of life. And as they do that their relationships and friendships change.
Yet for me, I feel I am in the same stage I was back then. I am single, working, serving, going to church, and living my life. It doesn’t feel all that drastic from my life 15 years ago. I know it is because my pay check is larger, I have my own paid off car, I live in a house, and I work in a place that respects my skills (most days). But my contact list is smaller, my physical personal interactions are fewer, and I can’t seem to gather more than 10 people at a time in my house for free food and fun. So this leads me to ask the question: Where did all my friends go?
I saw this snippet online and had to take this equivalent to a self-test, and wonder in my old age have I let my friendship skills slack?
When someone tells me they have no friends and they are no longer in adolescence, I have a difficult time with that statement. Why? Because at some point, you have to offer people something. If all you’re offering is negativity, you will find yourself alone. If all you’re being is needy, you are draining the life from people. Asking the question “What can I do for you?” and being there for someone, you are proving yourself to BE a friend. That is the only way you GET friends. If you truly have ZERO friends, take a look at what you’re offering people. You’re offering people nothin’, so that’s what you got. Being a friend gains you credibility, and begins the process of building relationships. Please note: this takes time! Rome wasn’t built in a day! Don’t suffocate people. Simply BE the friend YOU would like to have, and you will never be lonely.
I have not asked that question lately and to be honest it is not a normal part of my vocabulary. I do look for opportunities to be there for people and offer up what I think I can give after I have decided what they want. But I do not actually ASK them “what can I do for you?” Such a simple shift in perspective from what can I get and what do I deserve and what am I missing… To an offering of self to be or do what another needs. I know this. I have done this. I believe in this. I can do this again. But I have spent so much time feeling the lonely, empty, vacuum of my hurt, rejection, and abandonment; all I have done is work on figuring out how to fix me, rescue me, redeem me; that I have forgotten that extending the gift of give, care, and empathy first is what makes the way for others and God to bring all those things into my life and fill me up naturally.
Another clever quote I read:
If you wish “acquaintanceship,” BE RICH. If you wish friends, BE A Friend.”
There is nothing like money to make you attractive and appealing to others. But, of course, the kind of people who are attracted to you only because of what you can do for them are most likely acquaintances, not friends. You may have many acquaintances if you become wealthy, but whatever your station in life may be, you will never have true friends unless you are a friend to others. Be very selective in your choice of friends. Choose to associate with positive people who like you for the person you are, who encourage you to be yourself and to be the best you can be.
I am beginning to understand more and more that it is not the sheer volume of people I have around me to call at any given moment. Rather it is the quality of those people who will help define me as the person I want to become. The people I surround myself with are the ones who will either embrace who I am and challenge me to work harder, be stronger, and seek God or they will be the ones who keep me stagnant, slothful, and stale. I feel that I have been through the stagnant waters and I am done. Bring on the new, fresh, exciting life ahead and with that I seek the strong old friendships and the positive new friendships; but most importantly focusing on the kind of friend I can be to those around me for their growth, improvement, health, and support. That I may be the one offering “What can I do for you?” more than asking what can they do for me.