Friday, March 17, 2017

Five Minute Friday: FRIEND




I really can't believe how quickly the weeks pass! ... Again today I'm linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday
Today's word prompt is FRIEND.


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This morning I had a coffee date with a friend. We don't get together one-on-one all that often, actually, but when we do it's really meaningful. One reason is that we have quite a lot in common. We both have certain challenging situations in our lives that are similar -- and we both realize that the "solutions" to these situations aren't as simple or cut-and-dried as someone on the outside looking in might think.

On the outside looking in ... that's the difference, I think. It's one thing to observe a friend's situation from a distance and offer solutions or critique. It's another to be on the inside.

A real friend does her best to look at your situation from the inside: to go beyond observation to participation.

In my broader experience, though, problems can arise when you think you've been invited to be a participant -- an insider -- but you're really expected to be more of an audience member. So I think it's important to be candid with our friends about when we just want them to receive what we've said and give no response besides affirmation, and when we want real involvement, pushback, or advice.

This past month I became part of a book launch team for Lisa-Jo Baker's book Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships (due to be released on April 4). I've been reading the book and loving the author's honesty, humility, humour, and helpful encouragement. One of her guiding principles is expressed in the first chapter:

Instead of asking, “Who is my friend?” 
this book will be asking, “How can I be a friend?”

Maybe one way is to be willing not just to remain on the outside looking in, but to share in the other person's life and feelings from the inside.




12 comments:

  1. I love that. "I am going to start asking myself, how can I be a friend?" more often. I am so thankful that I have friends that encourage me and spur me on. I hope you have a lovely weekend! -Jolene

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    1. Thanks so much, Jolene -- you too. I appreciate your coming by to read and leave a comment!

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  2. There is something about sitting over coffee with a friend. I'm blessed to be your neighbor at FMF this week.

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    1. Thank you, Tara - same here! I enjoyed your post as well. FMF is really a nice community.

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  3. "...to go beyond observation to participation." Yes!

    I've done this, sometimes, when it was completely unexpected...but it seemed right to me to wade in, and, say, help pull someone's car out of a snowy ditch.

    I wasn't asked to, but got a friend for life from that one.

    And it was FUN!

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    1. I know what you mean: those connections can be great! Thanks so much for reading and commenting Andrew - God bless.

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  4. Well done Jeannie,
    A great look at friendship. I think looking to be a friend is a wonderful way to view it. I love being part of writing groups - especially the prayer teams. That's a way I can be a good friend - to pray for each of them. Always looking where God is leading to help, to encourage, and to comfort.
    Blessings
    Janis

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by to read and comment, Janis!

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  5. I love the idea of asking, "How can I be a friend?" rather than just wondering who could be a friend to me. Lisa Jo's book sounds really good. I've got so many to read right now, though, that I may have to put it off for awhile. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about friendship. :) Blessings to you!

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    1. Thanks, Gayl. I know exactly what you mean about having so many books lined up to read. This is a constant state for me: I can never feel"caught up" with all that I'd like to read.

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  6. Oh I love this. To ask, "How can I be a friend?" That looks like it will be a great book. And I think you're right on when you mention clarifying expectations. Sometimes I realize I need to take initiative and do that more as a listener, ask how I can best help, by just listening or trying to offer suggestions?

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    1. Definitely, Betsy. I had a relationship end because of (in part) unclear expectations: like being castigated for saying the wrong lines in a play when I hadn't been given the script. Clear boundaries make a good relationship better.

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