Thursday, July 29, 2010

When Good Friendships Turn Bad part two

When good frienships go bad Part 2

Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them.
Francesco Guicciardini

Friendships happen as we find some characteristic that we initially admire and are ultimately drawn toward. As in any relationship over time, the things we admire and find attractive often become the things that irritate us. There are a myriad of reasons for a friendship to go bad, but in my experience there are usually unknown factors, that were they better understood, could strengthen the relationship rather than conclude it.

I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship, was that one had to explain nothing.
Katherine Mansfield

I love that quote, it epitomizes the DNA of friendship. When one has to defend ones character or decision making in order to maintain the relationship, that friendship is already in danger of going bad. I suppose its part of today’s values system that is found in a disposable society. Decisions no longer form part of the common good, rather our selfish intent. The older generation were foolish enough to believe “till death us do part,” meant that. No clauses, no loop holes, just pure fortitude and a “work it out” mentality. I was fortunate enough to see that principle in action through my parents.

I have found that the greater the relationship, the fewer the rules are needed to sustain it. As a parent raising children, the early stages of the relationship seems to be more of what the child can’t do, than what it can. ‘No” is included in most sentences and the relationship is more of an “I know best”. As ones children grow into mature adults, the relationship changes. Now we solicit their opinions and engage in a frank exchange of views, even if we disagree with their decision, we honour the relationship and remain available if things go wrong. That’s what friends do, isn’t it?

Many a person has held close, throughout their entire lives, two friends that always remained strange to one another, because one of them attracted by virtue of similarity, the other by difference.
Emil Ludwig

Most relationships break down through misunderstanding. Poor or corrupt communication, serves only to inflame a situation and words used as weapons, will build an impenetrable hedge of offence. In my years of counseling, I can assure you that an offense taken personally can ruin lives. An offense taken on behalf of another is even more disabling, as it creates a triangle of association. I have known entire organizations that are crippled in their mission and interpersonal relationships as a result of an historical offence, and it all happened with someone taking the bait.

The word scandalize, comes from a root word called “scandalon”. Its meaning (in old English terms) was a strip of leather that hunters would use to hang a piece of meat over a pit. The wild animal would come along and reach out to snag the tasty morsel, but instead of having a nice feed; it would over balance and fall into the pit, becoming trapped.

How tempting is it, to take the bait of offence and scandalize for our own ends, only to become entrapped with its consequences?

“When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.” Epictetus

A brother offended [is harder to be won] than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle. Proverbs 18:19. NASB

Sadly, many of us seek to take the moral high ground over an issue, rather than just saying sorry. Sorry doesn’t mean you are wrong, it just means you prefer to lose the argument and keep the friendship.

It takes a long time to grow an old friend. John Leonard

When good friendships go bad, it requires one to place a higher value on the friendship. Making friends is the easy part, keeping them through the issues of life requires courage. If we think we are spiritual then we are the ones that should show it. Galatians 6:1-2

A single rose can be my garden... a single friend, my world. Leo Buscaglia

Finally, why not consider the following quote:

I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar. Robert Brault