The Friendship Series: The Quiet Ones

The Quiet Ones

Hello there. :) It’s been awhile since we met. Between chasing summer sunshine and a busy toddler, it’s been hard to drop in. But here I am, ready to continue our discussion on friendship…

Today, let’s talk about the Quiet Ones. Yes, the introverts. Although not an expert on personality types, I am an introvert and have learned a thing or two about dealing with these unique creatures. :)

To start, not all introverts are quiet. (I simply use the term “Quiet Ones” as an affectionate name for the souls who recharge on their own.) And not all introverts dislike people. In fact, I would venture to say that many, many introverts actually love people. It’s just that, unlike our extrovert counterparts, we can only take so much of others. People may engage us, inspire us, interest us, and warm us- but they also deplete us. Seriously. We need to gear up to be with other humans- and then we need to recharge afterwards. That’s just the way we’re wired.

But don’t let our seeming finickiness scare you away! We can be some of the most loyal, thoughtful, and steady friends you’ll ever have- with all our own quirks to boot. We just need some special care. Here are a few tips:

1. Choose quiet settings. We are much more apt to enjoy a coffee date than an all-night rave. Being more sensitive to stimulation, calmer settings put us at ease. We can then let our guard down and connect.

2. Smaller is better. Although we may find the mixer event to be a fun novelty once in a while, we are much more comfortable in small group settings- even one on ones. We can better give of ourselves when we only have a few people to interact with- our energy reserves go further. Put us in the middle of too many people and we can start to “hermit” away….

but….

3. Don’t let us hermit away! Yes, we may need breaks from people and space for our souls to breathe, but we also NEED people! Despite what we may think sometimes. :) Don’t give up on us if we’re quiet or seem aloof. We are probably hungering to be your friend- we just need a warm up.

4. Write us a note. Not pigeonholing here, but words mean a lot to almost every introvert I know. So try writing us a note. I bet we’ll keep it for an insane amount of years, stored away in a Rubbermaid box in our bedroom closet, waiting for our heirs to sort through all the papers someday. Not that I know from personal experience or anything. ;)

5. Forgive us. Finally, as introverts, we need forgiveness. Often. Sometimes our need to be alone- to recharge solo and focus on ourselves- can slip unconsciously into selfishness. We don’t mean to be selfish. Truly. We just need reminders that there are so many people besides us- in the physical world outside our heads. :)

What about you? Do you know a Quiet One you can uniquely bless today?

Rain-Soak

Rainsoak
Hide me under a rain-soaked tree,
The weighted tendrils dripping over me.

I’m in love with these rainy weeks,
And all the grey days they bring.

Like autumn redone-
Though just a fleeting gift-
‘Fore the season of summer.

But I’ll take this excuse,
And choose the scarf, tea, and covers.

I’m so in love with these days.
Revel.

Me and my mini-Oregon.

Weighted Tendrils

The Friendship Series: Forgiveness

Now that we’re sufficiently ticked off, how do we keep being friends? For yes, our friends will tick us off, annoy us, disappoint us, offend us, and hurt us. That’s what people do from time to time. That’s what we do from time to time.

Although the first inclination may be to adopt the hermit life, or put up walls and never be vulnerable again, we must stop. Stop and consider our debt.

Not unlike the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18, we owed a debt we could never repay. Burdened with sin, slanderous at heart, putrid and vile inside, our best attempts at goodness were like bloody rags (Isaiah 64:6).

Yet God forgave us.

As we sit and consider our debt- really think upon it’s weightiness- we see things differently. Suddenly, the forgotten phone calls and overwhelming chatter don’t seem so big. Suddenly, the offenses seems so small. If God forgave us, how can we not forgive our friends?

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you .” (New King James Version, Ephesians 4:32) (emphasis mine)

God knows our pain. He understands the hurt. Let us share it with Him, for He longs to carry our burdens. He longs to heal our hearts. Stop trying to muster up grace, let us run to God and ask for His grace to forgive our friends.

He wants to help us.

And He is pleased when we want to love like Him.

Forgiveness

The Friendship Series: Ways to Kill a Friendship

Friends
We’re all on a journey when it comes to friend-ing. But if there are habits that make a good friend, there are also traits that make a not-so-good friend. Overlooking more obvious traits (serial killing, constant lying, eating the last piece of dark chocolate, etc.), there are subtle characteristics that hurt. Speaking from my experience, these include:

1. Not Showing Up. This seems like a given, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had relationships severely damaged by lack of dependability. I totally understand that life happens, kids get sick, your car breaks down, yada yada. But as much as you can help it, as often as you can help it, show up when you say you’ll be there. Start habitually canceling and your friendships are sure to erode quicker than sandstone in a desert storm.

2. Talking Too Much. Friends want to hear about you. They really do. But after 45 minutes of listening to you talk non-stop about your family’s drama, your latest project, your fav show, and YOU, they want a turn, too. Just because your friend is politely nodding and smiling while you ramble, don’t assume that they have nothing to share. They might just be too polite to cut you off- or they might feel overwhelmed by all the jibber-jabber. Especially if they’re an introvert- or the quiet type. Which leads me to the next trait…

3. Not Knowing (Or Caring To Know) Your Friend’s Personality. You might not know their Myers-Briggs breakdown, but generally try to know your friend’s tendencies. Are they likely to speak up and offer their thoughts? Or do they need some gentle prodding, some skillful questioning to get them to open up? I LOVE people who ask good questions. Some people are so skillful at getting to the heart of the matter right away, asking just the right questions. Learn how to be one of those people.

4. Lack of Reciprocation. Some of the deepest friendship wounds come from lack of reciprocation. We’re all swamped, all tired, all everything. I get it. But it starts to cut into our friend’s soul when we don’t reciprocate. If you really do like your friend and want to keep being friends, then maybe it’s your turn to initiate. Instead of waiting for them to ask you out again, why not invite them? Why not ask them over? It hurts to feel that you’re not pursue-worthy.

5. Texting While I’m Sharing. This might just be a pet peeve of mine, but argh! Seriously? I finally get a chance to share my heart and then you start texting while I talk? Seriously?!? (Sorry- just had to include this one… :) ) I’d rather you just not show up. ;)

Whew. Glad this list is done. My blood pressure was starting to rise…

Until next time!

E

The Friendship Series: A Good Friend

A Good Friend
Halfway through our exploration of friendship, we finally land on the topic for which I have been eagerly waiting. A Good Friend. Or rather, how to be a good friend.

There are as many ways to be a good friend as there are people. In the exchange of friendship, each individual has unique gifts only they can offer. This uniqueness opens up exciting worlds of creativity in our friendship-ing. We’ll discuss some of these exciting elements more in just a bit, but for now, let’s start by focusing on some of the universal traits that make a good friend:

1. Seeing through Christ’s eyes. How we see people colors our every interaction with them. If we see our friends as deeply valuable, as Christ seems them, we will nurture and steward well our relationships. However, if we don’t take this view, we can subconsciously see people as existing for our benefit, disposable the moment we no longer need them. We must ask God to change our perspective; then we can properly start our friendship journey.

2. Being kind. Oh, how far kindness can go! A soft word when we want to speak roughly, consideration for a friend’s feelings, a gesture of goodness- these can go so far in a world of weariness and aggression.

3. Honoring. When we see others through Christ’s eyes, we honor them- in thought, in word, in deed. Rather than dishing out all the dirt on someone, we make them shine before others. We choose to bless instead of curse, to build up instead of tear down, to pray instead of gossip. 

4. Being thoughtful. Being thoughtful means thinking about someone until you are full of thoughts towards them. Deep, I know. ;) But when we really stop to consider this, it transforms how we meet others in friendship. When we are thinking about others, we think about their likes and dislikes, things that would bless them, and ways we can encourage them. Instead of cramming all sorts of confetti into our friendships and hoping that something lands, we can thoughtfully, skillfully select sure ways to bless our friends.

5. Listening. Oh, how crucial yet how neglected is listening. Poor listening- it gets such a bad wrap! “I have to sit here and shut my mouth and concentrate, concentrate, concentrate to what so-and-so is saying and I’m tired and….”- and so our thoughts on listening go, right? :) But it doesn’t have to be this way. So often there are rich depths of deep understanding waiting if we just listen, linger, and hush. God delights in a listening ear (see Proverbs) and He will help us learn to listen if we ask for His help.

6. Praying. Praying for our friends is one of the best ways we can love them. I have a friend who, without fail, always asks me at the close of our conversations what she can be praying for on my behalf. Knowing that she cares enough for me to bring my concerns before the Father speaks of the value she places on me. What an eternal gift.

And finally:

7. Getting creative. Returning to where we started our discussion, it’s good to remember that we can have fun in our friendship-ing. Out of our unique giftings and passions, we can creatively bless our friends in ways they won’t soon forget. Writers can pen a note or poem, artists can paint a picture, the handy can help around the house or yard, the kid-friendly can give the gift of babysitting, the cooks can bake a batch of cupcakes, etc…. There are so many witty and merry ways we can let our friends know we love them! Why not brainstorm some today? :)