A couple times recently I discovered that I had been unfriended on Facebook. While it’s sometimes unsettling and something I don’t understand, I have tried to just shrug it off; but the truth is that I always want to be liked. I don’t want people to dislike me, hate me, have complaints about me, and certainly not unfriend me. It leaves me wondering what I did wrong to deserve it.
In reality there are many reasons that someone may unfriend me. And those may have nothing to do with something I did to deserve it. The first instance that I discovered this was a family friend that was just going through a hard time in his life. I have settled on the assumption that he unfriended likely more people than just me, and it was probably just because of the situation he was going through in his life rather than something I did to offend him. Sometimes when we are hurting we act impulsively and may end up doing something unintentionally hurtful to someone else. It initially hurt me that he unfriended me, and even though I have settled upon this reasoning for him unfriending me, I still don’t understand why he decided to do it. In fact, he has since friended me again. But obviously in the situation that he found himself in at the time, he somehow decided to unfriend me for the time being. I don’t think I really had done anything to cause him to decide to do it. I think it was just the frame of mind he was in at the time. And I think a lot of us have situations where we decide to act impulsively about this or that and don’t really give a lot of thought in the heat of the moment to how our actions may hurt others.
The second situation where I discovered that I had been unfriended I think may have come about simply because of our differences in beliefs. You’ll discover that Meg and I are not usually ones to shy away from our beliefs and sharing those beliefs with others. We both can be found sharing Bible verses and Christian sentiments regularly on our Facebook pages. This second friend that unfriended both Meg and I, actually, has been a friend of mine for about 1 ½ years. I met her through band at school as she had a daughter in band with Meg, and we both helped with some of the band activities and started talking and a friendship grew. As I talked with her, I shared my beliefs and as she also shared her beliefs I found that her family had been hurt by people in the church, and she basically wants nothing to do with God or church. So I think in this instance she unfriended me probably because of our differences in beliefs and perhaps she didn’t like to read the things that I share on my Facebook page.
Even as an adult I’ve never felt like I had it all together in my friendships. It seems like there are twists and turns in friendships all along the way. Obviously as God has made us all unique we are never going to totally agree with all our friends on every little thing. But sometimes we just have to learn to agree to disagree on some things. Friendships are not easy in the least. And we can always be learning how to be a better friend to others. I believe that God has made us to walk through life with friends but sometimes those friends disappoint us or walk away from us when we need them most. So I am constantly learning and growing and seeking ways that I can be a better friend. As a result, I took notes in the notepad on my phone a couple years ago when I went with my mom to Ladies Day at the county fair that I had attended all during my growing up years. It was an annual event to go to the Allegan County Fair. But this time I was going as an adult to the Ladies Day program with my mom. The speaker that day talked about some tips of how to be a good friend to others! So here are some of the points she shared at the Ladies Day program. The points are hers…I only was able to write down the outline… but some of the other thoughts are from me.
- Be real and genuine – I honestly have a hard time with this one. Sometimes I feel like people won’t like me if they know what I’m really like. And other times I feel like they don’t really want to know what I’m really like so I tend to hold back and not be totally genuine with people because I feel like that’s the only way to have a friendship with them. But we need to be authentic and genuine especially if we want them to be real and genuine with us.
- Be supportive – Friends need our support a lot! This world isn’t easy and we need to be there for others. Our friends can be facing illness, the death of a loved one, job loss, bad grades in school, or any number of other things. Life is hard, and we need to be there to help and support our friends daily. Sometimes I feel like my friends aren’t truly there for me. When they live in the same town with me and attend the same church and I see them or hear from them only once every couple weeks, how can I feel like they are truly there for me? If I feel like I’m the one always making the connection with them, it tends to make me feel like they are only there for me when I express a need. Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives, that we are too busy to truly be there for our friends. That will tend to make them feel like we aren’t there to be supportive when they need support!
- Be available – I guess I talked about that a little on the last point. If we aren’t available to our friends, how can they feel like we truly have a friendship? Honestly, since we moved about 6 years ago, friendships have been one of the biggest discouragements in my life! I’ve been so lonely since we moved, and the one friend that I made and with whom I felt I had a lot in common is very busy and often not available to me. It makes me feel like I’m interfering with her busy life if I even text her to see how she’s doing. We need to be available to our friends so they don’t feel like an inconvenience to us.
- Be inspiring – I Samuel 23:16 says “Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.” Jonathan encouraged David in God. If you remember the situation… Jonathan was Saul’s son and Saul was trying to kill David. And Jonathan and David became loyal friends to each other. Now that’s a difficult way to have a friendship, and David certainly needed Jonathan’s encouragement in God. Do I remind my friends of God?
- Be joyful and celebrate – Proverbs 15:15 says “All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” No one wants to hang around a gloomy Gus all the time! We need to learn to be joyful and celebrate! Someone with a joyful spirit is certainly one with whom people are going to want to be friends. And a joyful spirit comes from our walk with God!
In the end we can sum it all up with the admonition to cherish and nourish your friendships! Make them a priority! They are valuable to you! Treat them as a precious thing that has much value.