I dunno how this has happened. Well in some ways I do and I feel terrible in some ways and in others i feel like standing up and saying, “well no its cause of this or that!”. The fact remains that I have been a really crap mate to some of my friends. I’ve let some of my closest friendships really dwindle when all it requires is a little more effort.
I’ve been thinking a lot about where is the balance between the natural distancing with friends one would expect when you get married. Friendships shift a great deal after marriage and while it’s tempting to say its always a negative shift I want to stop myself and say its not a negative shift but its maybe an uncomforatable change. And change is hard.
Bob is probably the best example of this. Bob and I have been friends for the bast part of almost 10 Years. We met at college and while we both thought the other was a bit of a prat initially we soon became very good friends. As clichéd as its sounds I love him like a brother. His loyalty is astounding, his wit incredible and his mind is aspirational. If he is so great, you may ask then why and how have i let our friendship slide so drastically? The answer? A Lot of things ad a lot of unknowns….
One of the harsh truths is that we have naturally grown apart. Our lives have become so different that common ground has become spa**er and spa**er. But it’s not like that should really hold th friendship to ransom. I mean, My own brother Tom is drastically different to me in all aspects and our friendship is fine but comparing one friendship to another is also a mistake and pointless.
So how has it come to this with Bob? The dynamic of our friendship has been based a lot on a shared sense of humour that our circle of friends has always had. Put a bunch of intelligent good looking people together a it’s what you get. (That sounds really superficial – not intended to be so.) Part of that included us taking the mick out of our catholic upbringings which led on to extremely skeptical views of any religious beliefs and the integrity of any religious organisation. I.E. we took the piss out of anyone religious. While my family has always been religious there was a lot of unspoken jibes and references clouded in layers of subtlety that makes it difficult own to place specific examples but it doesn’t affect the result which was a generally skeptical view on religion and God. So when I became a christian all this was turned on it’s head and it bore a new set of complications – at least that’s how i have seen it. Before I say anything more i need t say i bare all this on my own shoulders as it has been my actions and reactions that have got me to where I am.
SO becoming a christian was and is an amazing experience. My life has been transformed in amazing ways. There is a but coming, can you feel it?……. BUT! I couldn’t help thinking what would my friends think, what would Bob think? I was embarrassed that one of the very things that was a common ground and an easy target for ridicule had become the very core of my being. I was embarrassed to tell my closes frinds that I was attending the alpha course in the first place as I had up till the concluded that needing religion was a weakness. I was also embarrassed that i was going back to what my parents had said all along. I was embarrassed and wrried at what my frineds would think of me. Here came my biggest mistake.
This Amazing thing that was happening to me I kept to myself. I didn’t tell them about it. I didn’t want t because i didn’t want to risk them thinking less of me. I started to distance myself from them. Getting involved with church and everything helped with this. It was easy to busy myself with everything that goes on with a church community but i had no sense of balance. The more I gt involved the more excuses i had to not see my frineds and to not talk t them about what i was going through for fear of the ridicule thy might give me. So i started to spen less and less time with them. It was easier to stick my head in the sand rather than to speak proudly of how my life was changing and becoming sooo much better.
Going back to Bob. This was such a stupid attitude to take. I know Bob has loved me like a brother too and I know that while he might have had reservations about it he wouldn’t judge me as much as I thought he would and to make mattes worse i didn’t give him or my other friends the opportunity to do so. I assumed that they would take a particular stance and i didn’t like it so I didn’t give them the chance. This is what started to create a divide.
Friendships, no, relationships are always built on trust. Closer relationships are built on a trust where you share stuff about your life with those people and that they will love you and respect you regardless of what they may think. I didn’t give them a chance. I didn’t trust them. In turn I held back what was going on. When you hold back stuff from people who know you well they can tell something is up. When you refuse to tell them, that causes a divide as they feel like they are not being trusted.
So what does this make me? It makes me a bit spineless actually. How can I stand up with integrity as a Christian but wollow away form my closest friendships a let them grow stale out of my own insecurities? I cant!
I’ve gotta figure out the balance which as you can imagine aint easy but it’s not as complicated as I’m making it. There’s a lot of damage to be repired and while i know my friendships will never be as they were (mainly due to being married), I still want them back.