The Messy Side of Friendship

May 22, 2017

As I was visiting with an acquaintance the other day, they made a comment about what great friends Kristin, Julie, and I seem to be and how they wished they had a good friend of their own, a “perfect” friendship.

And although I agreed that Kristin and Julie are wonderful friends—or framily, as we like to call each other—our friendship is far from perfection. In fact, often it is just the opposite. I cringed as the woman spoke, knowing that social media often only portrays the lovely side to many things in life, including our relationships. And although I have no plans to air our dirty laundry for others to observe, I do think it’s important to talk about the messy side of friendships, and how you can still have great friends.

So here are a few things I’ve learned about great friendships, and how we survive (and thrive!) through all the ups and downs of life.

1. We are honest and authentic. Kristin and Julie have seen me at my best and my worst. I know that I don’t always have to filter my frustration or true feelings because they will hold my sometimes crazy self and reactions in confidence (as I will with them).

2. We apologize quickly and forgive even faster. I’ve learned that apologizing and accepting apologies is vital to any relationship. We’ve become quick to air any hurt feelings to each other, not letting hard feelings linger or drag on and asking forgiveness as often as we need to.

3. We give each other the benefit of the doubt. This is probably one of the most important qualities of a good friendship. We think the best of one another and our intentions, even when we aren’t sure. We believe that we would never intentionally hurt one another and understanding that allows us to let things go much more easily than if we were constantly questioning each others motives.

4. We offer grace and love, even when the other person doesn’t always deserve it. One belief we three hold very dear is the understanding that someone who has received grace and love from God and others should freely give it in return. We each walk in the humility and understanding that as often as we may need to extend grace to another, it has already been extended back to ourselves in even greater measures. We know we aren’t perfect, and because of it, we’re able to offer grace to each other when we falter or fumble.

5. We hold each other’s confidences. We never worry that one of us is speaking badly about the other behind their back. Ever. We share inner struggles and secrets, completely safe in the knowledge that we will not betray each other’s confidences.

6. We’ve learned to laugh at ourselves. We each have quirks and annoyances (we’re human!), but we’ve learned to laugh at many of the silly things we find ourselves doing and saying. You’ll often hear us tease and banter with one another because we all have the ability to laugh at ourselves. It makes life and friendships so much easier when you don’t have to take yourself so seriously.

So there’s my short list of what makes a great friendship. If you’re waiting for someone who’s perfect, you’ll never find a good friend. What makes friendships work is not how perfect they are, but how we love each other through our imperfections. Messy friendships just may be the best there is.

Now, we want to know, what else makes for a great friendship?

Today we are linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth and Kristin Hill Taylor for #porchstories.

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