The Macs

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

thoughts on friendship {julie j}

Meet my friend Julie (pictured on the right). I met Julie in high school when my family moved my sophomore year. Julie was very quiet back then and I was the new girl, so we actually didn't really talk. Our senior year we somehow found out we both wanted to go to the same college and we ended up being roommates. That was the beginning of a sweet friendship. Julie often tagged along with Joel and I on dates in college and Joel was always playing practical jokes on her. Two years later she was a bridesmaid in our wedding. She still reminds Joel that she will always be my favorite roommate. We went our separate ways for a while after I got married, but now are both stay-at-home moms and live just a few miles apart. Julie is an amazing listener and is so intentional with her relationships. I love that about her. I always know when she calls that she really wants to know how I am doing. She wants to know what is going on in my life and how she can be praying for me. Julie is willing to be vulnerable and share how God is working in her own life and I am always challenged after spending time with her. I know you will be challenged too when you hear Julie's thoughts on friendship...

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We, as people, want and need to be known and cared for through friendship. After reading Lisa Whelchel’s book Friendship for Grown-ups, I feel fortunate that God has blessed me with wonderful, true friendships and feel inspired to keep these friendships healthy and not let them slip away during this busy time of life while mothering two small children.

Listed below are some points Whelchel made that encouraged me to be a better friend:

• Sometimes, especially when I talk to “old friends,” the conversation can come to a place that is not edifying to others. Whelchel suggests that a person prepare responses ahead of time to steer the conversation in a positive direction when needed. By not talking about others negatively, I will become a safe person and one in whom others can confide.

• Participate in honest relationships. Deal with conflicts as they arise in relationships so that a brick wall is not built between friends. Sometimes I have to have hard conversations with friends to ensure continued openness and honesty.

• Whelchel suggests that a person can only have 3 really close friends, a dozen close friends, and a larger circle of just friend friends (p. 88). I loved thinking about my really close friends and their strengths. Friend A is wise. Every time I talk to her I am encouraged. Friend B values face time. She makes me feel special by wanting to see me every week if possible. Friend C is a go-getter who makes me laugh. We have fun together and she says things like they are. I want to do what it takes to keep these girls close, but also continue to pursue my other circles of friends and make new friends too. This may mean I need to be the one to initiate coffee dates or phone conversations instead of waiting to be pursued (which is my natural tendency and preference).

• Be a present friend. When meeting with a friend, make eye contact, turn off my cell phone, and listen completely. I find this easier said than done with small children at foot. Sometimes I leave a conversation and cannot remember what was discussed. I hate that. Perhaps I need more girls’ nights or need to schedule phone calls while the kids are napping. Seriously, how can I be attentive/present to a phone conversation when my dear son is in the dining room peeling off wall paper and causing plaster pieces to fall all over the carpet?

The only major point in Whelchel’s book that I disagreed with was the issue of popping imagination balloons, or imaginary conversations in your head, by telling your friend about them to see if they are valid (p. 157). For example, if you call a friend and she is distracted, you might think, “I am annoying her. She doesn’t really want to talk to me. Who would?” According to Whelchel, you should say to the friend, “When I called earlier, I felt like I was annoying you and that you didn’t want to talk to me. Is there any validity to that?” I personally believe that those imaginary conversations need to be disregarded in friendship. Most often, when I am guilty of having imagination balloons, it is because of my own heart issues and insecurities. I think that love puts others in the best possible light, assumes the best, and forgives. This is backed up by Proverbs 17:9 which says, “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” All that to say, do bring up issues that are causing a brick wall between you and a friend; but, if it is something going on in your own head that is probably not true, overlook the offense and think about what is true.

Overall, I felt like this book encouraged me to strengthen and protect the rich relationships God has blessed me with and also reach out to other friends in intentional and meaningful ways.

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I love how Julie talked about being a present friend. I was also very challenged by this. Listening is something that I could definitely improve on in my relationships. What about you? Are you a present friend?

Would you like to win a copy of Friendship for Grown-ups? Don't forget to leave a comment on Monday's post to enter the giveaway. 


Blogger Unknown said...

Julie, you're amazing. So blessed to have you as a friend.
You brought up some amazing points, particularly the "be a present friend." We are created for fellowship with others and when we fellowship with our friends, we fellowship with Jesus. Each friend brings an element/character trait of Christ to the table, so it is a TRUE HONOR to be in a place of heart friendship with women. They give us a glimpse of the Lord's heart we may not otherwise have seen/appreciated.
I believe prayer is an integral part of friendship, too--praying together, and on our own. Keeping friends' needs before the throne.
I started reading the book last night. :-)

November 9, 2010 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger The Schilling's from Cimarron said...

WOW! I loved reading what Julie had to say! Once again I am learning soooooo much from your blog Jess! :) Tell Julie THANK YOU! She brought so many ideas and things for me to think about in my own friendships and life!

Looking forward to reading MORE!

Love ya,


November 9, 2010 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Taking Heart said...

Great post to both of you! Thanks for sharing!

November 9, 2010 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Julie, this is wonderful! I was very encouraged by all of your points. Some of them were exact things that I had taken notes on too - conversation that is not edifying to others, being a safe friend, LISTENING, and I loved your insights to the imagination balloons! You are such an encouragement every time you write!

November 9, 2010 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Lucky Girl said...

I completely agree with the comment with respect to the imaginary balloons. I think that most often those negative thoughts are ones we create and when we think really hard about them and our friend, we know that they can't be true. So while addressing them outright can make you feel better, they almost always hurt your friend by making him/her think that you don't really know their true character. I get to be on the receiving end of these 'balloons' relatively often with one of my friends and I think its made it difficult for me to risk getting closer with her.

November 9, 2010 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

I loved reading Julie's insights! I am WAY too guilty of the imagination balloons- in fact I have many in my head right now! ;)

I have really been struggling in the "friend" department lately and though I read this book a few months ago (and have yet to review it), I need to really read it again and let it sink in.

November 9, 2010 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger The Moffats said...

Great review, Julie! You have such a gifting with words and are such a dear friend. You have challenged and encouraged me with what you learned. Jess, thanks so much for doing these! Fun to get more of your insights too :) Love and hugs.

November 9, 2010 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

Julie had some great thoughts. I definitely agreed with her about the imaginary balloon thing. Like another commenter said, being on the receiving end just feels draining.

November 9, 2010 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous melissa wiseman said...

Hey Jess, just wanted to say I loved this post about friendship. Thank you for sharing your friends with us and how they bless your life. I always love reading your post and about your love for Jesus. I truely feel like I get a blessing from reading your blog. Once again thanks for being a friend to all of us and letting us be a friend to you.

November 9, 2010 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger katherine said...

So much wisdom contained in this post. Thanks for sharing. I hope to become a better friend because of it.

November 9, 2010 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

I would love to read this book and afterwards pass it along to my girlfriends!

November 12, 2010 at 11:27 AM  

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