“Friendship is worth fighting for.”
These words were like a punch in the gut. Not because they were bad or harsh but because I knew they were true.
When one of the leaders at my church sat with me for coffee a few weeks ago, I knew her words were what I needed to hear. (After all, she is in her 30s. 30-somethings are my favorite people. They are so much more put together than us 20-somethings!)
When I came back to Los Angeles after three months in Europe, I did not come home to the warm welcome I was anticipating. One of my closest (and one of very few) friends in Los Angeles seemed to be icing me out. (Remember I mentioned how hard making true friends in L.A. is?) I was hurt. I was offended. I was prideful.
Long story short, we had a bit of a tiff (like all friends do) back in December right before I left, but we talked about it before I left- twice. We had talked it out, apologized and gotten past it (or so I thought.) Why was she still mad at me four months later?
Simple solution- Talk to her. Make an effort. Reach out. My pride would not me to do any of these things because I was hurt and rightfully so (or so I thought.) Then, I sat down with the worship leader at my church and laid my cards on the table. X,Y,Z- Here is why I am angry, here is why I deserve to be vindicated and here is why this situation is unfair.
Then, she eloquently and gracefully reminded me friendship isn’t about being right nor is it always fair. Friendship means showing grace (especially when it is undeserved.) By definition, that is what grace is. She told me real friendship is worth fighting for.
Twenty-Something Advice (for Anybody):
“Friendship isn’t about being right nor is it always fair. Friendship means showing grace- especially when it is undeserved.”
I was angry and frustrated, but I knew she was right. I knew if I wanted my friend back (which I did), I needed to let go of my need to be right. I needed to do the work of being a friend- forgiving, asking for forgiveness, letting go, talking it through.
Simultaneously, another friend was acting strangely toward me. Warm welcome back to America, right? This friend is someone I am a lot less close to, and this fallout involved money (a very tough area to navigate with friends and family I have learned.) I felt she should pay for something. She thought it was unfair of me to ask her to pay for said thing. My thoughts- lets agree to disagree, but this does not have to be a deal breaker. Yet and still, she wasn’t talking to me when I returned to America, and she was acting quite strange when I reached out.
In this second scenario, what did I do? I decided to let it go. Why? I evaluated the situation, the person and our friendship, and I decided it wasn’t worth putting that much energy into. In reality, we were not that close. Our friendship was more so situational, temporary, seasonal. It was time to let this one go.
The first scenario- I did the opposite. I decided to fight for it. I reached out to my friend. We talked over coffee. We made amends. We got in the trenches together, and we did the work.
What is the difference between the two situations? One friendship is a a long-term (going on 10 years) friend who I have invested in and who has invested in me. It is a two-way street, a friendship that had seen more through some hard times and pushed me to grow. This friend was like a sister to me, someone I deeply care about.
The other situation was more so a friendship of proximity. We were “friends” or more so acquaintances because we saw each other daily and knew the same people. It was never a give-and-take friendship, but rather, it was friendship where I always felt like it was one-sided.
Friendship in adulthood is hard. Making new friends in adulthood seems even harder. It’s not the same as when you are a kid, and you can just ask the kid next to you to play or share their crayons. I have friends in different states (and different countries), which require effort, work and energy to maintain. No one likes to associate work with friendship, but the truth is any functioning, adult relationship (romantic, familial or friends) requires work. You gotta pick up that phone!
Another truth about friendship, some friendships (most actually) are only temporary. A part of growing up is knowing when to let go. If you try to hold onto every friendship and take them with you into new chapters, then you might being doing yourself and the other person a disservice. Holding on to old friends might be limiting your growth.
It takes work to balance the art of knowing when to let go of friends and when to hold on. The irony in this situation is that I watched both scenarios play out in my life at the same time.
I am so glad I fought for my true friendship. My heart healed a little just talking to her. Making amends with her felt so much better than holding onto my pride. True friends are hard to come by (especially in Los Angeles).
How has navigating friendship in adult been for you? Have you ever struggled with knowing when to let go of a friend and when to hold on? I hope you are encouraged to know you are not alone in this journey. I wish you nothing but wisdom in your friendships and also that you would always have a few true, loyal friends by your side to remind you that you are not alone.