#74 ~ Embracing the ‘Friend’

Friendship is a word dogged with negative misconceptions. As you grow older it seems to infer an inability to ‘get some.’ To be attractive, wanted, desired. Friendship implies the constant foundation that is always there, but rarely recognised. When one is ‘the friend’, it seems to imply one is not ‘the one.’ The one that everything happens to, who all the attention is focused on. That would be the ‘girlfriend,’ or the ‘difficult/attractive/sensational/talented etc etc one.’ The friend is just there.

I’ve found as I broached the gap between school and University, that we viewed that launch into adulthood as the liberating slingshot that would throw us, like a loaded missile, into the target board of ‘relationships.’ So many people who hadn’t experienced prepubescent relationships were hanging all their hopes on the Uni years. It would be a time when people of ‘all walks of life/tastes/experiences/backgrounds and interests’ would converge like rush hour traffic on a bank holiday. You would have a choice of whom to pick, who to be friends with, and well-meaning aunts always reminded us – there will definitely be someone who is interested in you. How could there not be? Unless the odds and the gods were so grievously stacked against you, there would be ‘someone’, someone, (anyone they muttered in desperation) who would take a liking to you.

So we wait expectantly. Eyes straining because we believe we look better without our glasses, we wait for the ‘one.’ We asses each person we befriend, is it them, or if not, could they lead us to the ‘one?’

It becomes a stressful situation. Doubts, insecurities, paranoia, they all begin to fester like an unwashed wound. At the same time, you hear the warnings of the other aunties – the anti-aunts, who tell you to wait until after your first year before you begin engendering any designs with the word ‘relationship’ in them. You hear them telling you about setting yourself up as a woman of honour, integrity, values, who will be respected not like ‘those girls out in the club’ (who happen to either be you, or your friends – but don’t let the anti-aunties know).

Yet, amidst all this confusion, desperation, paranoia and general over-thinking, I’ve come to the realisation that there is something beautifully liberating about embracing friendship. Embracing the friendship of fellow girls (or if you’re a boy fellow boys), without the taint of competition or what (or rather who) they can bring to the table, but just rejoicing in forming bonds of friendship. And in terms of that scary idea of ‘inter-gender’ friendships – yes, when boys and girls become friends without *sexual* benefits – you can get to something precious. The removal of tensions, of fears of presentation, of worth, of judgement. You can sit and have tea, or a conversation and not be conscious that there is a potential bogey hanging in your nose. The truth is there never was, but the monster that is pressure convinces you there are, and they are huge.

People might insinuate that there is no worth in forming friendships with the opposite sex. Or that those that are formed are fuelled by sexual tension, temptation and the potential of ‘if.’ They infer that girls are always surreptitiously judging girls and forming a –  who’s most likely to be ‘the one’ – list, and boys vice versa. But when you free your mind from all  those lies, those worries, those fears; when you think you may have a green bogey hanging in the near visual vicinity of your nose, you realise that you can just ask for a tissue, and be free from judgement.

Most importantly, by embracing friendship you pave the way for preparing your heart for relationships. Friendships are the beginning, and being fearless in them stops you being fearful of their future potential.

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8 thoughts on “#74 ~ Embracing the ‘Friend’

  1. Sophia Mc says:

    YES GIRL! Love it! Keep it going! I’m totally learning the same thing atm… I used to find that I’d get on better with guys at school, but realised that was because the girls I hung out with weren’t real friends. God’s constantly giving me new girlfriends to hang out with instead of guys. which, when you start to fancy one of your male mates, is really helpful to fill up your time and energy with the girls!
    Keep pressing into HIM. xxx

  2. Great blog post, so true and very well written. You’ve reminded me of what genuine friendship is really about, thanks very much for sharing your thoughts! :)

    • Kéhindè says:

      Thank you very much for reading. I hope it inspired, affirmed and brought out a few laughs. It’s a difficult/strange subject that seems to get botched up a lot, but i think the main message is be at peace with yourself, who you were created to be, and don’t be afraid. Everything good will come :)

      • It did! Yeah definitely, and it’s important to remember that our identity is found in Christ, not whatever things the world offers, and I think that naturally helps you to be at peace with yourself, more secure in the person you are, and reminds you that you don’t have to be anything you’re not to impress people!

  3. Merenna says:

    One of my FAVOURITE subjects of all time as you know!

    I’ve learnt this last year how important it is to have fellowship from the opposite sex. I am privileged enough to have some great brothers in Christ who I can talk to about probably everything that I go through in my life, be it with my relationship with God, my degree and even other boys. I get insight from them that I do not get from other girls/women as men just see things differently, and I love this! It is so important to sharpen each other ‘as iron sharpens iron’ (Proverbs 27:17). There’s this lovely part in a Christian dating book I read last year where the author describes how he’s so excited to meeting his future wife’s brothers in Christ and thanking them for looking after her for him and protecting and sharpening her. I look forward to that happening for me too!

    While this is great, fellowship with the opposite sex inevitably has to change when relationships begin. Even though there never has and never will be any feelings between me and a lot of my guy friends, it would still be inappropriate to invite them to visit me for a weekend, or chat to them for hours through the night if I had a relationship. Even if this is done with the purest heart, it does not honour the person you are in a relationship with and leaves room for distrust, and potential for your partner to feel inadequate as they cannot provide the insight you need with the opposite sex.

    To be clear; I am not saying that once you get into a relationship you can never talk to your friends of the opposite sex again. That would be mental. Instead, boundaries are important – friendships should never threaten relationships (unless God’s involved!). Instead, singleness is very much a season from God that should be seen as a gift, whether we want to be single or not, and should be used as an opportunity to enjoy real fellowship with the opposite sex while you can. It is time to grow into yourself and alongside others in a unique way and this should be celebrated. And as for waiting for and wanting to meet ‘the one’, a beautiful piece of poetry by a rapper called Janettikz says it better than me:

    ‘I will no longer get weighted down from so-called friends and family talks about concern for my biological clock, when I serve the author of time’.
    Friendship is such a beautiful, pure gift from God and friendship rooted in God is, in my opinion, the purest form of church.

    Hope this isn’t too explicitly Christian. To clarify; non-Christian fellowship is of course just as important, and by no means inferior to Christian fellowship. My best experiences just happen to be with Christian brothers that have prayed with me and for me, and can connect with me about the most important thing in my life.

    Beautiful blog K. Great work. M x

    • Kéhindè says:

      In a nutshell – boom? Basically everything and more that was bubbling under the surface. There is a beauty in friendship, be it Christian based or not, and there’s something liberating about getting to that place of honour, integrity and peace where we can just be. I really hope for the focus and peaceful mind to see my friendships that way, and the patience to not be afraid to wait, and in the process grow into the woman i have the potential to become. We were built to be relational and I think it’s so valuable that we learn the variety of relationships out there, and embrace each of them with joy and gratitude. Thank you for reading it, and for your wisdom and insight from a faith aspect, so much truth! It means a lot to me Xx

  4. adeboye says:

    I remember my first year in uni, my “jambite” year as we called it, though only barely as my mothballed memories are fragile and crumble when exposed to light and air. I remember the sheer relief of getting in, the terror of the new world of academia, the frightful promise of “relationships” and the hope of finding the one. The one. I named her before I met her, it took a while, a long while and perhaps a few scullery maids in the process.

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