Being a Kindred Spirit Friend
When I was growing up, I loved watching Anne of Green Gables. It was, and still is, one of my favorite movies. Maybe it's because I am so much like Anne Shirley, or maybe it's because I had a very special friend in my life- my "kindred spirit" friend, who was so much like Diana Berry.
We met when we were twelve, and we became pen pals. Our friendship grew over the years, and now we are as close as blood sisters. Erica is the exact opposite of me in every way. She is kind, and sweet, and laid back and patient. I am way too blunt for my own good, way too imaginative, impulsive at times, and I always have some plan or scheme that I just know will work out. I am Anne. She is Diana. We still call each other "bosom friends", and she would die for me, and I would die for her. She is my kindred spirit friend.
I think as women, we crave deep friendships. We want someone who we know will stand by us and do battle for us. We want deep, meaningful connections. We don't want to be stabbed in the back by someone we think is a friend, and we don't want to have to be worried about opening up and sharing our heart with them. We want a friendship that feels safe, and deep, and long lasting.
Those types of friendships don't happen often, and when they do happen, you had better treat them with care! Just like anything in life, deep friendships don't happen overnight, and they take love, care, and effort.
The Bible says that if you want to have friends, you have to show yourself friendly! In other words, it takes effort on your part. Good friendships don't just happen. I have been pondering this all week, and thinking back over my friendships throughout the years. Since I was twelve, I have had my friendship with Erica. She is my bosom friend. The one who I would trust my life with, and my kids' lives with. There's not even a question if our friendship would ever be in peril. We have been there for each other through good times, bad times, ups and downs. We text nearly every day, and she is the one who I know I could tell anything, and it would be safe.
Since I have been an adult, I have had many friendships. Some were deep, meaningful relationships, and when they came to an end, it hurt deeply. Some I had closure with, others I did not. Many friends chose to distance themselves from us because of end times beliefs, and also because they did not like us deviating from certain Baptist circles that we were in. Others chose to distance themselves from us because of rumors they heard circulating about us. I appreciated the friends that reached out to me and asked me about the rumors. It still hurts when I think of the ones who did not. As it stands now, I have a few women who I consider myself to be very close to. Ones who I know I can be honest with, and share my heart with. Ones who I trust won't turn on me. Ones who cheer me on when the days are rough, and ones that encourage me to do better. I love those friends, and I would go to war for them. As I was thinking and thanking God for them, I thought maybe I could share some thoughts with you about friendships. I have messed up and succeeded when it has come to my friendships, so maybe you can learn from my mistakes and successes. Here are some tips for being and/or making a kindred spirit friend.
1. Deep friendships take time.
Getting to know someone- really, really getting to know them- takes time. Lots and lots of time. Hours of talking, hours of communicating, and hours of learning about them. These hours turn into days, and days into weeks, and weeks into years. It can be in the form of texting, or talking on the phone, emails, or letters. With my friend Erica, it all started with snail mail. With my friend Kelly, it all started with emails. And with my close friends now, it's all through texting and face to face communication. You can't meet someone and expect to be their best friend in a week. That just doesn't happen. It takes years and years of talking and getting to know someone on a deep level before you have a deep friendship. Don't rush it.
2. You won't click with everyone.
Your personality is unique. Because of this, it won't meld with everyone. Don't take this personally. Realize that there are millions of people on this planet, and if you don't get along with someone, just move on. There is a friend out there for you, believe me. If you try to force a friendship, it won't happen. I have had women in the past try to do that with me, and it's very off putting. If you want to be my friend, don't tell me the day we meet that we will be best friends someday. That's weird and kind of creepy. It will scare me off! Let the friendship happen naturally. If we click, great. If not, move on. I am not everyone's cup of tea. If you are a close friend of mine and you are reading this, you are one special lady. It means that you truly love me, and you can put up with my honesty and bluntness. I don't take that lightly.
3. Don't be passive aggressive.
Being passive aggressive is a form of control, without confronting your problems directly. It's usually a feminine trait. I have dealt with people in the past who were passive aggressive and it irritated me so badly that I told myself that no matter how uncomfortable, if I had a problem with someone, I would go to them directly. Being passive aggressive is sneaky, because it is doing and saying things in a way that it will shoot directly into the heart of someone you are aiming at, yet if called out about it, you can claim innocence. "I didn't mean it that way!" "You have no proof!" "Why are you saying that I would do that?" "I have no ill intentions towards you!" It is a way of gaslighting. Hurting someone, claiming innocence, and then making them think they are imagining it all. It's a way of trying to control someone while looking innocent. Just don't do it. It's toxic, and it's not a desirable trait.
4. Good friendships take effort.
Obviously that's a given. Find out your friend's love language. I think it's funny, because one of Erica's is gifts, and mine is quality time. She always picks out the best gifts for me and my kids, and I always go spend a week at her house every year. We do for each other what our love language is. It's a way we show our love for each other. If your friend would rather have a Starbucks gift card sent her way over you stopping by unexpectedly, then try to do that for her! Be there for her during her bad times. The times when she lashes out. The times when she just needs to cry. Or, give her space if she needs that. See, I am the type that needs to vent. I need someone who I can just text if I am having a rotten day. Some of my friends need their space, though. I have learned that I can't push. I have to let them tell me in their own time. And then, I have learned that sometimes I need to push. They need to be told to let it all out, and vent to me. And when they do, they feel better. Being a friend is all about figuring out what your friend needs.
5. Be loyal.
Don't join up with your friend's enemies. If someone is an enemy to my friend, they are my enemy. If someone hates my friend, they are no friend of mine. Backstabbing, meddling, and gossip is so prevalent in today's day and age. Loyalty is quickly becoming a thing of the past, but not to me. I need my friends to be loyal to me, and so I am loyal to them. If I sense that someone has been disloyal to me, I tend to withdraw myself from the situation. I will no longer open up to that person. I will no longer share my heart with that person. I won't turn on them, because that's just not me, but I will no longer be close to them. In a world where I have many people who hate me and want to see my ruin, I need a few loyal friends. I need to feel safe with my friends, and be able to trust them with my heart and my feelings. If I expect this from my friends, I will do it for them. I will fight for them, and defend them.
6. Remember that friends will let you down.
We are all imperfect. We are all sinners. At the end of the day, we all have the same flesh. I try to extend grace to my friends because I realize that I need a lot of grace. I have unknowingly hurt my friends before, and they have forgiven me, so I try to have that same forgiveness in my heart. If you have hurt your friend, ask for forgiveness, and ask what you can do to set things right. Which leads me to the next point-
7. Fight for your friendships.
Don't just give up on your friendships. If it's a deep friendship, then fight for it! Ask for forgiveness, and do better, if you have failed in some area. I have some friendships in my life that are worth fighting for. I realize that deep friendships do take years to cultivate, and I am not going to throw in the towel after one disagreement. Usually I will fight for a friendship way past the point that I should. It's always hurtful when I realize that it's probably a lost cause. Sometimes life happens, and people go down different paths. It's ok if that happens. Life has a way of changing us, and melding us. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Sometimes personalities change and no longer mesh. That's fine. But fight for it until you know for sure.
8. Be the friend you want to have.
Don't expect deep friendships without putting forth the effort. Be patient. Be kind. Be upfront and honest in a nice way. Be loyal, and be encouraging. Be long-suffering. Whatever trait you are looking for- be that for someone else.
9. Don't take your good friendships for granted.
Thank God for the ones who love you in your life. Thank him that he put them there exactly when you needed them. I look back at my own life, and I see God's hand at work. At the exact moment in my life that I needed a certain type of friend, God sent them. And oftentimes, we melded and clicked because of the circumstances in our lives. They were similar, and we needed each other. Erica had lost a mom when she was five. I lost a dad at age seventeen. Kelly was thrown into church planting and homeschooling at the same time I was. When Kelly died, God brought another close friend into my life. She is nothing like Kelly, but she helped bring comfort when I was deeply hurting. I think of all the close friends I have in my life, and I thank God for them. They help me be a better person. They help encourage me, and uplift me, and bring comfort when I need it. I know they would go to war for me, and that helps lift my spirits.
I still have my "Diana" in my life, who is my bosom friend, and who I am kindred spirits with, but I also have many other "kindred spirit" type friends. If you are reading this, you know who you are. I don't take you for granted, and I am thankful that God sent you into my life exactly when I needed you. If you don't have a Diana in your life, pray that God will send you that one special friend! I believe he can do it. Hopefully the tips I gave will help you develop deep, meaningful friendships in your life.
And if you feel all alone, don't despair. Even when friends fail you, and you feel all alone, you aren't. There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. I am so happy that he will never let me down. Earthly friendships might fade, but Jesus will always be there for me.
I am happy for earthly friendships, though. It's so nice having "kindred spirit" friends.