I never seemed to have many friends growing up, at least that were my age. I guess it was simply because I was hardly around anybody my age. The church I grew up in during my tween and teen years was a pretty small church with mostly adults. While I didn’t have many, there was always a friend around right when I needed one, whether it be a friend from that small church, a neighbor, or a family member.
Now, roughly five years later, and I feel like I have all kinds of friends. People at church. People I hang out with. It’s nice to feel like I have friends, but the funny thing is, I’ve only felt like I had friends within the past few months. Why, you ask? I don’t really know, to be honest.
Perhaps it was my definition of a friend. See, for me, a friend has always been someone you can confide in. Someone who can confide in you. You both know and trust each other well enough that it won’t go any further than that. A friend is also someone I believe that you can be honest with. It’s when you’re not afraid to tell them how it is, and vice versa.
So judging from this stand point, I haven’t really had any friends. Save one or two. There just haven’t been many people I have truly felt like they were a friend. But, I now believe there are different levels of friendships, and that’s where I made the error of assuming I had no friends. Perhaps in reality, I did indeed have friends, but I didn’t think of them that way.
It’s so crazy how much I have changed, and looking back, there are so many things that I thought incorrectly. But it was more than not thinking I didn’t have friends, besides the definition from above.
I simply didn’t believe that I was wanted. I didn’t think that anybody really wanted me around, and that they were simply ‘Putting up with me’. I now see that the issue was caused not by what I believed to be true, but from insecurity. I was so insecure that I didn’t believe I was really worth the time of day, or that anybody cared about what I had to say, or do. It seems silly now to think about it. But at the time, it was a very lonely place.
But still, even now, I’m still asking the question, “Do I really have friends”? I truly believe that I do have friends, that I always have. But while being insecure and going too extreme to say I had no friends, I’m afraid I have gone too far in the opposite direction. Perhaps there are people I consider friends, that are actually not.
How can I tell if someone is a friend? How can I tell if someone is an enemy? And how can I tell if someone is something in-between?
I don’t really know. When I was insecure, I never wanted to make the mistake of assuming that someone was a friend, when they wasn’t. Now, I find myself asking, “Are there people I assume are my friends, when they really aren’t”? I really don’t know. I would like to think they’re all my friends. That I’m genuinely wanted around. That if I wasn’t there, if I moved away or quit hanging out, that they would miss me. I don’t know, perhaps there is still some insecurity left.
There’s another part of me, that doesn’t care. The part that knows I am wanted and loved by God, and He is all that I need. That I would rather have a few good friends, than a lot of fake ones.
I really don’t know if there are people who don’t like me, or just put up with me. If so, that’s okay. It doesn’t really matter. If I have foes, that’s okay too. If I have frenemies, people who are somewhere in-between, that’s fine as well.
In the end, I am called to love people, even if they don’t love me back. That’s what real love is anyway right? Loving without expecting or needing it to be reciprocated, or needing anything in return. And if I have enemies out there, if God is for me, who can be against me?
Maybe it’s best, not to live life trying to please people, trying to fit in, trying not to make enemies. It’s when you simply be yourself, that you will be happiest, and you can’t please everybody. In pleasing one, you’ll offend another. That’s why it’s better to please and serve God, rather than man.