The second part of my a blog about friendship is about the transparency required for deep and trusting friendships between women.
A portion of the definition of transparent is: free from pretense or deceit : frank b : easily detected or seen through : obvious c : readily understood
Isn't that exactly we are all looking for in our friendships? I want friends who are free from pretense. I definitely want friends who are not deceitful. I want to readily understand my friends and be understood. So, what do I have to do to have friendships with these qualities and characteristics? I have to be free from pretense. I have to do everything I can to avoid deceit. I have to be open and honest in order to be understood and to understand. If I do these things then I will be considered a good friend. But, if I do these things well and with excellence then I will be considered a great friend. That is my goal. To be a great friend and to have great friends.
As women we long to nurture others and be in community with others. So why is it so hard for us to make ourselves vulnerable to other women in our friendships? I would say it is because we've all been hurt by so called friends. We've all had those pretentious relationships. We've all been deceived by a friend. We've all been misunderstood by a friend. And therein lies the problem. Some of us never break through the cycle of deceit, misunderstanding, and pretension. What started in the sandbox with our kindergarten friendships has followed us into our adult lives. Those seemingly innocent and immature behaviors we displayed back then are present today, we just don't see them as innocent anymore because they aren't. We know it is wrong to be deceitful, we know it is wrong to be pretentious, and we could really try harder to understand where our female friends are coming from. Only some of us don't. Why do you think that is? Is it insecurity? Is it because we feel like we have to compete? Is it because we've put a wall up and told ourselves over and over again that we won't ever be hurt again? I'm sure for some of you, there are reasons I can't even imagine because I've not had your experience. Whatever your reason for not being a great friend, and in turn having great friends, may be unique. I hope that you will consider the word transparency. Consider the meaning of transparency. If there is something in your life that you are hiding from your best friends ask yourself why you are hiding it. If you are deceiving your best friends, ask yourself why you are being deceitful. If you are being pretentious, what is it you are being pretentious about? Is it worth sabotaging a friendship over? Are you an understanding person or one who finds fault easily?
I said in my first blog on friendship that I have friendships that are transparent. I don't have to pretend that I have it all together. I don't have to pretend my marriage, kids, job and Christian walk is perfect. Because I have friends who are understanding, I am free to share my insecurities and weaknesses without fear of being deceived. Over time we've developed deep trust and compassion with each other. I want you to have these friendships too. I don't pretend to have all of the answers and I can't guarantee these steps will work for you. But I do pray that they help you in developing deep, trusting and lasting female friendship.
1. Pray for Godly friendship: Ask God to give you Godly friends and to give you the ability to be a great friend.
2. Take it slow: You wouldn't just walk up to the new girl at the church luncheon and tell her your secrets, so don't expect her to do so either.
3. Find a mentor: Do you know someone who has great female friendships like you are looking for? Chances are if you asked her she would be willing to share her secrets with you.
4. Be a great friend first: In order to have great friendships you have to first be a good friend. That means you must be willing to be honest, discrete, loyal, and merciful.
5. Keep limits: In any great friendship you have to have boundaries. Just because a friend can't make that lunch date or hasn't called you in a week or two, you can't take it personally. Remember, our friendships are to enhance our lives not take away from them. As adult women we are all busy with our lives. Our family must come first and a great friend should understand that. (Read last week's blog about letting God fill those empty places)