Thursday, June 26, 2014

Don't settle in your friendships

Recently, I was talking to someone about alcohol consumption. Let's call this person Fred. After hearing many of Fred's "drunken stories", he asked if I had any funny stories. Clearly Fred and I do not really know each other, or he wouldn't be asking this, because I simply responded that I do not like getting drunk. He pressed further, and so I told him, my moral reasoning aside, that I don't like feeling out of control, acting like a fool, and probably feeling sick from it later. It just isn't fun to me, and I am perfectly capable of having a good time without it. Don't get me wrong, I am not against alcohol, but just in moderation.

Fred then responded that he either won't drink or he will get drunk. He never does the in-between. This made no sense to me. I asked him if he even liked getting drunk, to which he responded, surprisingly, that he does not. So why do you do it then? "Just because my friends are and I don't want them to feel bad if I am not." 

I have been thinking about that conversation since then and for some reason have been pondering his response. It just seems so relativistic. How often do we just go along with things because we don't want people to "feel bad", even if doing it goes against what we like or even what we believe? Why do we do this? If one of your answers is that you are afraid of losing your friends, well honey, I think it is time to find some real friends who will unconditionally love and accept you.

It is sad to me that we as people are so desperate for love and acceptance, that we will do anything just to remain part of something, to have a sense of 'belonging'. Unfortunately, our world is broken and there will be times where we experience rejection and heartache. But don't sell yourself short, don't change who you are just to have a temporary relief from your loneliness or your boredom. And I need to remind myself of this as much as anyone else. Don't settle for mediocre friendships that don't cause you to grow and flourish. Maybe you don't know where to start though, or where you could possibly find such community. Start with looking inside yourself, discovering your likes and dislikes, what are you passionate about, what are your goals, and then finding people with similar interests. Maybe even be so bold as to invite God to show you who you are, to lead you to deeper friendships, to help you find what you are looking for.

I know I could be reading too much into a simple conversation, but hey, that is what a psychology major tends to do. Just don't give up. Trust me, it is not worth it.

"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" - Matthew 16:26