Foundation

Friendships, like any relationship worth having, require a lot of hard work and energy, and are built on a foundation of trust and respect. In a word, integrity. And over time, those aspects should naturally deepen. After all, you’re friends because you like each other and have discovered a kindred spirit of some sort, whether you’re soccer moms, hunting buddies, classmates, or neighbors. The thing that drew you together, however, cannot always keep you together. You must often make effort beyond that. A lot of effort.

Responsibilities

Friendship often requires you to go more than the extra mile. You may find yourself having to go the extra hundred miles. And if you are true friends, that won’t be a problem, even when you don’t really want to do what’s being asked of you. It’s easy if you want to do it, but anybody can do that. Friendships get tested, as do all relationships, when you’re asked to go above and beyond even that extra mile. That does not, however, mean that you are required to put out every fire, or that you should do something that’s ethically or morally wrong. Being a great friend does not equate to being a yes person. Everyone gets off track once in a while, and as friends, you have a responsibility to protect the friendship, and your friend.

Balance

The balance of friendship means give and take on both sides, and sometimes going those extra miles can be draining. In the short term, that’s okay. If you find, however, that you feel constantly drained because you are giving more than you’re getting, then it’s time to rethink things. Some people are very good at taking, but not so good at giving. That is not a healthy relationship.

I’m not talking about perfection here, or keeping tally. The best friendships do not keep track. Neither are they draining. When you think about spending time with a friend, you should look forward to that. You should not feel obligated, or dread the day.

I have a girlfriend who is like a sister to me. We met through work, and the day our jobs were dissolved, we resolved to stay in touch, and we do. Not always as often as we would like, and sometimes we really have to work at it due to schedules and finances. But it’s worth the hassle that it can sometimes be, because the reward is too good to miss.

When to Let Go

Sometimes friendships are forever, and sometimes they are only for a season. It’s part of the circle of life. A chapter opens, or a chapter closes. And when they close, for whatever reason, it can be difficult. Sometimes you might be holding the door for that person, but often you will feel a sense of relief, regardless. At that point, you need to just let it go. Let it be over. Just be sure to open yourself to new relationships. Don’t beat yourself up. Reviewing and evaluating are good things, in balance, and you can learn much about yourself and grow from it. Don’t dwell. Life is too short. And there are way too many people out there waiting for a chance to be your friend.

Final Thoughts

If you are reading this, I hope you will take a look at your friendships, do some self-review, and be honest with yourself about whether you give as well as you take. If you must err, do so on the side of giving, but not to the point where you are drained. Fight for balance. Your friendship will be richer for it!

762 Responses to “The Balance of Friendship”

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