The Difference Between Being Friendly and Being Friends

Boxes

I write about friendship here. A lot. I've written about my closest friends and why I call them my best friends. And last month, I wrote about why I don't want diverse friends. When I wrote that, my friend Leigh Kramer pushed back a little in the comments. She said, in part, "...not many people seek out friendship with those who are different from them and I think we all miss out when this happens. Having a diverse group of friends requires some intentionality." I think this is an important point, and something that I missed in that post. I have not always been good about this. Much of my life, I have only sought friends in the places where I was comfortable. I wasn't looking for ways to shut out people who were different from me, but I also wasn't going outside of what I already … [Read more...]

Repost: Love as the Boundary

Don't_lean_on_the_railing_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1204336 (2)

I'm currently sitting in a hotel room in Chicago, getting ready for two days filled with stories about love and friendship. Part of that will be Rich and me sharing our own story about how we discovered deep, intimate friendship through music, and also through the direct sharing of said music. I am honored to have the opportunity to talk about how my friendship with Rich has changed my life. In honor of the Sacred Friendship Gathering, I want to repost this piece I wrote a year ago about friendship and how, rather than pointing to specific rules about how we're to interact, Rich and I choose love as the boundary. +++++++++++++++ At the Good Women Project, Anne Wilson wrote a piece entitled Boundaries: No One Is Above An Affair. To close the piece, she wrote the following: Love … [Read more...]

What “Best Friend” Means To Me

trophy

Recently, Sarah Bessey wrote about her circles of friendship. I loved this post because in an age where we "friend" people who we might not recognize if we passed them on the street, it's good to have ways to explain what we mean when we talk about our friends. I don't have nearly the well-thought out categories that Sarah shares, but I do have people who I consider to be "best friends." I have my husband Jason, my friend Tina, and my friend Rich. They are all my best friend. Jason is my best friend because he shows me that honesty is worth pursuing even when it's hard. He makes me laugh better than anyone else. He is the first person to support me when I want to pursue my dreams. Tina is my best friend because she knows all of the words to Flood by They Might Be Giants. She … [Read more...]

Why I Don’t Want Diverse Friends

Diversity

Yesterday, Darrell Vesterfelt wrote a piece asking if it is possible to disagree and still be friends. In it, he writes about wanting to have a diversity of friends. And while it sounds like something that I would be all about, it's been bothering me in a way that I couldn't quite put my finger on until today. And then I realized, it's because I don't want to have those friends. I write about my gay friend and my atheist husband and my married male friend. I love these people with my whole being. They are profoundly important to me in ways that I can't even begin to explain here. But they aren't the friends that I wanted. I was friends with a girl who was in the marching band with me and liked They Might Be Giants and The B-52's. I married a guy who made me laugh and introduced me … [Read more...]

The Messy Business of Intimate Friendship

Hiding

Because I’m a bit of a novice speech-giver, I have been working on my presentation for the Sacred Friendship Gathering for a little while now. I’ve been pulling together my thoughts about the topic of love without boundaries, culling my blog for tweetable quotes, and combing through the Scripture for examples of various friendships. That last one has been a bit eye-opening. Not because I haven’t read these passages before. Stories about friendship always resonate with me. My two favorite books are Charlotte’s Web and A Prayer for Owen Meany, both of which deal with close friendships. So stories in Scripture about friendship have always held a special place in my heart simply because I love those kinds of tales. But in reading them again, I discovered something about these stories … [Read more...]

What I get from my cross-gender friend

friends

This post is part of the February Synchroblog “Cross Gender Friendships”.  See the full list of participants at the bottom of this post. I write about cross-gender friendship with some regularity, but I don’t often write about why I have a male best friend. Here’s the deal – I have a male best friend because that’s just how it worked out. We drove together to a couple of gigs, found out that we're basically the same person, and decided that we wanted to be best friends. I wish it was more dramatic than that, but honestly, that’s how close friendship often works. You find someone who “clicks” and you become friends with them. I think most of the time when we enter friendship with some kind of motive, we will be disappointed. But now that I have a cross-gender friend, what does … [Read more...]

Friendship and Attraction (Part 5)

Friendship & Attraction

On Friday, I wrote about why I hate the phrase "emotional affair" and discussed what emotional infidelity is not. But as much as I think we overuse the phrase, emotional infidelity can absolutely occur in marriages, and it can be very damaging to the marriage relationship.  As I mentioned in the last post, fidelity is, "faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support." I'd like to break it down to its most basic parts, which I think could be "continuing faithfulness." Attachments that interrupt that continuing faithfulness are what I would like to discuss here. I don't believe that any one person can meet all of our emotional needs. Early in our marriage, I thought that Jason was supposed to meet all of my needs. As a result, I felt emptiness … [Read more...]

Friendship and Attraction (Part 4)

Friendship & Attraction

I recently spent some time on the phone discussing cross-gender friendship with a friend of mine. She and a married man recently discovered that they were developing a close friendship. They had read my three previous entries on friendship and attraction, but still had some questions, so we found a time when we could talk for a bit. The most pressing question that she asked, and one that I know plagued me when I first entered the realm of cross-gender friendship was, "What is emotional infidelity?" Honestly, even if people will grant that you might not knock boots with your opposite-sex friend, there is still a good chance that you'll be warned about having an emotional affair. This is of particular concern among those in the Christian community. First, I’d like to say that I find … [Read more...]

Friendship and Attraction (Part 3)

Friendship & Attraction

I hadn't really anticipated writing a part 3 to this series, but I was asked a really common question in part 2 that I felt like deserved its own post. Jessica asked: When, in your opinion, should cross-gender friendship be avoided? This tends to be a question that comes up regularly in this discussion. Before I get to answering it, I want to say that this question tends to be rooted in the danger and fear narrative. We would probably not ask when a same-gender friendship should be avoided. Our tendency is to assume that those should be taken on a case by case basis. So I would suggest that the question itself reveals a little bit of our thoughts regarding cross-gender friendships. That's not a bad thing, but I think we need to be aware of that. With that out of the way, the main … [Read more...]

Friendship and Attraction (Part 2)

Friendship & Attraction

Yesterday I wrote about a recent Scientific American article that made the claim that men and women couldn't be "just friends." The study that it was based on did indicate some differences between how men and women view their cross-gender friends, but the results weren't nearly as dire as the article painted them. Regardless, the study does make the point that there is often attraction between opposite gender friends. Even if it's faint, it exists, and this is usually cited as the primary reason to avoid cross-sex friendships. I believe we need to re-evaluate this idea. I am not keen on immediately dismissing friendships due to attraction, because in my experience, attraction is a part of every close relationship. If we open ourselves up that much to another person, there will be … [Read more...]