Friendship: Making a start!

Networked circle of friends

Well I finally started my social justice blog, and now for the turn of the friendship blog, which is also something I’ve been thinking about starting for *years*!  It follows on quite naturally from “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie”.  One key difference though is that this “Friendship” blog is about all friendships, like between women for instance, not just potentially romantic friendships.

So today I am going to start with a quote…and a bit of a rant!

Let’s talk first about honesty.
On “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie” it is quite easy to be candid because “Huggie-Wuggie” does not yet exist as Mr Huggie-Wuggie.  So I am not writing about what my husband does or does not do, but rather about what I hope that he will do. It is also quite straightforward to be frank about my own failings.  I’ve often considered this and wondered what I would do when “Mr Huggie-Wuggie” does finally claim that title for himself and we get married.  Obviously it would be hard to speak objectively in that situation, and I might sometimes find it just too tempting to use my posts to oh-so-subtly dig at him, perhaps after we’ve had a raging row, which I daresay he would not like! I’d love to think that I would be too mature to do that, but I know I am not quite yet at that level of maturity. I might have to stop writing “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie” altogether at that point!  I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it… 

This blog though is different.  Because I do have friends who already exist as my friends…  So this is going to be an interesting balance; perhaps I could use this as practice to not let myself dig at people, no matter how frustrated I might feel.

So this is the quote that I saw just a few minutes ago, shared on someone’s Facebook wall, apparently given by Wesley Snipes:
“Your circle should want to see you win. Your circle should clap loudly when you have good news.  If not, get a new circle.”
If anyone is active on Facebook, and perhaps other social media platforms, then they will probably see this kind of quote constantly. I see quotes like this saying similar things possibly once a day, or certainly a few times a week.  Another variation on this is that you should “surround yourself” with people who are going in the same direction as you, people who aspire after the same goals as you do. I deeply agree with all these sentiments.  But here is the question:  just where do you go to find a ready-made circle of people who (truly) “want to see you win” or who are going the same direction as you are?  I’ll give you one quick answer:  definitely not church!  Hell no!  (See, I told you it was going to be a rant!)  It is not that people necessarily want to see you lose in church, it is just that to get to the place of consistently and sincerely wanting to see people win requires a certain level of maturity and honesty within yourself which in my experience has not been over-abundant in many of the church circles I have been part of.

So is there somewhere you could go where these sorts of “ready-made” circles already exist, just waiting to be discovered?!  Somehow, I suspect that many outstanding potential husbands will casually be hanging around there too!
Here is my immense difficulty in all this:  actually I can think of two immense difficulties.  Firstly there is the faith thing. Just as with a romantic relationship, for me to cultivate a close friendship with someone, we need to be on the same wavelength in terms of faith. The woman that shared this post on Facebook is lovely.  She is one of the very few people I know who really “gets” this, that is, the importance of clapping loudly for other people’s success, and cultivating the emotional maturity to be able to do this,  and I would love to count her among my close circle.  However, we do not share the same outlook on faith, although I definitely trust her far more than I trust many supposed “Christians”.  So that puts a limit on how close we can be. So that is the first thing.

Here is the second thing, and the real headache:  let’s say I manage to find a number of individuals who all “get” this and understand it and push themselves to celebrate other people, and who are all, furthermore, going in the same direction that I am. For a circle to really be a “circle”  it is not just about finding ten excellent individuals to have excellent individual friendships with me, rather members of my circle would need to relate with one another too! So the challenge was always about how to encourage my individual friends to make friends with one another so it would actually be a circle of friends, and we could all hang out together, and we could encourage one another and we could loudly clap one another’s successes and encourage one another, and push one another forward. 

I have thought of two solutions while writing this post:  firstly I could find outstanding people, and then latch on to their friendship groups, knowing that outstanding people will often be friends with other outstanding people.
The second solution is to be the facilitator of these great friendships myself;  once I have found a handful of wonderful people, maybe from unconnected parts of my life, invite them all to get together and meet one another by hosting dinners at my home or something. This is something that I would love to do anyway!  After a few months then perhaps real friendships will start to emerge and then we could take it from there!

To be candid, I am in dire need of outstanding friends, and deep nourishing friendships, as of such a long time ago.  But from experience, just as with romantic relationships, good friends will have to be “two-yeared”.  Despite my insistence on two years, my perennial problem is not that I am too fussy with friends, but rather that I am not fussy enough. Every time I relax “the two year thing” I always regret it.  So two years definitely stands!  Within that though hopefully there is scope for building lots of true, real, deep, sincere and mutually beneficial friendships.
And you know what?  I think I already know enough outstanding people to build a really strong social circle! 

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