I have been fortunate in the last few weeks to have some one on one time with my friends, as opposed to the group outings that usually fill up my calendar. The group setting date allows you to all catch up on the surface stuff. And it’s great! I love surface stuff! I love overviews of new beaus, wedding plans, and generic bad days. These surface conversations keep me at a distance and don’t hold me accountable to pray for you or follow-up. I’m off the hook with your brief synopsis of life in general. But, it’s the “life in general” part that keeps relationships at a distance.
These one on one dates have not been planned. I wasn’t on the other end of the line of a breakdown and someone needed to talk. It was an unexpected visit that turned the normal “life in general” conversation to go down a different path. Because of the one on one time, we each became a confidant to each other. A bouncing board of ideas, of feelings that may or may not have been discussed before. A word vomit of thoughts that often sound funny when you say them out loud. For some, the conversations were about exposing addictions that keep us tied to the same pattern of life. Or, the married friend who is struggling with “love languages” with her husband. The friend who expressed boundary issues and the lure of temptation. The friend who talked about her desire to start a family. The friend whose family is falling apart behind the scenes. And the friend who has questions about God. These are the moments when we are most vulnerable. A vulnerable mess to witness. And it’s the vulnerable moments that don’t get shared in group settings.
Look at all I would have missed out on if I didn’t sit across from someone and listen to their story. And they in turn, listened to mine. Many of the stories came with concern and pain, but it wasn’t a proverbial dumping of issues on one another, we shared success and praises as well. Since we invited someone else into our “mess” we now have someone who is praying for, following up and cheering for us through our “life in general” joys, and specific life moments.
The act of being vulnerable does not come easy to everyone. (My hand is raised, high). Which, is probably why most people prefer the group setting to one on one time. If we don’t know too much, then we don’t have to be involved. What a horrible friend we are to each other if we don’t exercise the right to listen and ask the tough questions. Or worse, what if we aren’t authentic in our conversations that we don’t allow others to help us with our struggles. Be a better friend.
Ramblings of a vulnerably challenged person.
Background Music Recommendation: Thank you for being a friend, Golden Girls theme.