The Fundamentals of Friendship

The Fundamentals of Friendship

So Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s sudden death didn’t settle well in my spirit at all. Like I told yall last week, I be feeling. And so does social media.

My timelines have been filled with several posts about the importance of mental health and the necessity of checking on your friends. While this is great advice, I still encourage you to be mindful of what you’re consuming. Everything you let in, plants a seed of some sort. Whether or not it takes grows roots and manifest is up to you but most of the time it affects you in subtle ways that you never notice. Log off.

But let’s carry on. That’s not what this post is about. Last fall, one of my relatives died by suicide. He explained in a message that he had been sad for the past three years after his wife passed and life had simply become too much to bear. He did not believe he belonged on this earth anymore.

All I could think about was how sad he was during his time on earth. To be so sad that you don’t want to live anymore. How difficult simply existing must’ve been for difficult for him. How he found it hard to get out of bed every morning. Just thinking about someone being that sad is heart wrenching.

I’ve never been depressed. I’ve never experienced sadness that made it difficult for me to get out of bed or consider taking my life or anyone else’s. So I can’t say I understand what depressed people are going through. I can’t offer advice or tools because I don’t know what someone in that situation would need. So in the event that I’m put in a predicament to help someone, that would have to come solely from the Lord.

So I’m not here to speak on behalf of anyone who needs this type of help but to speak as someone who would love to be of support. Life comes fast and hard. I don’t know what separates me from someone who depressed. I could say my faith but that wouldn’t be fair because I’m sure there are people of faith, great or small, who have been or are depressed. It wouldn’t be fair to try to compare or figure it out because in the event that life comes at me fast and hard who knows in what direction I will go.

As a friend, my hope is that I have created an environment, space, relationship in which my friends feel as though I am someone that they can trust and confide in. I hope that I am someone who they know that they can depend on and will do my best to sustain our relationship.

Friends. How many of us have them?

Checking up on your friends often has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of your loved ones. But as a woman of faith, I’m here to encourage you to pray. Pray for your friends and family often. Keep them covered. Even if you don’t talk to them all the time or you talk to them everyday. The best gift you can give someone is prayer. You don’t need specifics. You don’t always need to talk to them or know every thing that’s going on in their lives. All you need to do is pray for them. Pray for their peace, health, safety, emotional and mental well-being. Ask God how you can be a better friend to them and how you can help them should they need it.

We’re getting older. I feel like ish about to get really real.

I learned a few weeks ago, the enemy wants us to suffer in silence. Our freedom is attached to our stories and removing the shame. Assuming you’re the only one who’s gone through something or no one understands you is another way your ego will convince you to live in shame and regret. There is nothing new under the sun.

Be open. Be vulnerable. I DO NOT MEAN MAKE A FACEBOOK POST. But call your friend up and let it out. If there’s something that I’m finding hard to pray about, I’m taking it to my praying friends. If it’s something I need to vent about, I’m taking it to my friend who’s a good listener. I take this friendship stuff very seriously but at the same time, I’ve also created an environment where I can be the same person to them. I know I can be the prayer partner, listener, supporter, editor, business strategizer, idea generator, celebrator, whatever is needed in the moment. It’s reciprocal because that’s the only way the relationship will continue to grow and thrive.

Based on the brief research I’ve done, people who experience depression, suicidal thoughts, mental health issues are often ashamed to ask for help due to the fear of being judged and shame. So if you do reach out, and you’re trying you be secretive with your own mess and focused on keeping your business to yourself, don’t bother reaching out. No one wants to feel like they’re going through stuff all by themselves. There is power in sharing your story. What’s the point of friendship if you can’t be vulnerable and open? What’s the point of having friends when you still feel lonely? If you don’t have friends you can openly share with, then you don’t have friends. If you aren’t someone that can keep secrets and be open and vulnerable, you aren’t a friend. Friendship is more than social media and taking pictures. That’s not real life. It’s about who you can talk to when you’re up, down, happy, nervous, confused, etc.  Get you some people who will be there for you when real life happens. You’re going to need people around to pray when you don’t feel like it or don’t have the words, to not tell you to lower your voice when you start screaming and to pick you up off the floor when life knocks you down. Life is too hard to do it alone. Get you some people. A variety of people because one person can’t be everything to you.

Bottom line: be a good person but be an even better friend.

Get over yourself and think about someone other than yourself. Check on your people.  Stop praying for just yourself. Jesus took his friendships so seriously that he handpicked them. Why shouldn’t we do the same? As Christians who are striving to lead a life like Christ, this is part of your responsibility while here on earth. You aren’t too busy to be a good friend; you’re selfish. And life is all about choices. You choose what’s important to you and what deserves your attention. Choose wisely. You never know who’s watching and you never know who needs you or when you’ll need somebody.

You alone don’t hold the power to dig anyone out of depression or suicidal thoughts. However, encouraging someone to seek help may be exactly what they need. Sharing your own experience with therapy or talking about someone you know who has gone to therapy can make the world of a difference.  People be sad y’all. Check on your friends!

I don’t have friends who take great pics of me or know any of my angles nor have they ever introduced me to any fine, single men. I do however have a solid group who checks on me regularly, cheers me on, reads this blog faithfully, prays for me and with me, etc. I mean they check all the important boxes but what a joy it would be if they understood the beauty of my left side.

Friendship is more than checking up on someone. It’s about thinking about someone other than yourself. Being selfless. Connecting beyond the surface and understanding that you play an important role in the lives of those around you. Be the love and light you wish to see in the world. Be the friend you would want someone to be to you.

This was long. It was longer. I may build upon this at a later date but for the sake of your time and my own, thanks for reading.

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