Friendships are a very precarious relationship as we become adults. As kids, it seemed so much easier. We just said what we thought, if our feelings got hurt it lasted a day or two until friendship was resumed over a shared cookie or pink crayon. Age brought complication to friendships. I expected that, we all have life experiences that will affect how we respond to others and perceive friendships. Some of us have learned to be less trusting, others have learned to be more discerning of who they bring into their inner circle.
We may find that a person wasn’t really our friend, but just using us for information or status, some sort of gain. We may find that they are just fickle, and move from friendship to friendship with ease, as they enjoy the excitement of the newness. Friends move away, some are here for a season or a reason. And in some cases, we learn a very tough lesson…
For me, this was the friend who will favor self preservation over truth. In other words, they are a great friend until push comes to shove. If it’s their head on the chopping block they’ll throw you under the bus to save themselves. They probably hope that you will not know, or that you will understand and forgive them. They may even think that the friendship can be resumed. But ultimately, they are saving their own skin.
This happened to me a few years ago, and had a significant affect on how I pursue friendships today. I am far more guarded than I once was. Part of this was my fault, I made an assumption that since these were Christian women serving in ministry that I didn’t have to worry about this. When the situation occurred, I thought for sure they would each speak truthfully. It turned out the women were not honest, or they were silent. This caused fingers of accusation to land on me, and I was stunned. The only person who was being honest, and the one being hung out to dry.
Ultimately I had two choices, take the hit to my credibility or return the favor and throw the women under the bus with me. I could have played voice mail messages, handed over emails, shared text messages, named names. But, I chose not to. I took the higher ground and I took the pain that came with it. Not just the pain of false accusation, but the pain of being let down by people whom I considered my friends.
I was most hurt by one particular person who could have stepped up to my defense. She bore witness to every incident, she knew what I was saying was truth. Instead of speaking up, she chose to “stay out of it”. She let me take the heat, when she could have stopped the whole thing.
I now tread into friendship far more cautiously. I remind myself often that even the best of women are not perfect, and will make mistakes. But it is hard for me to take friendships past a very superficial level, because I now have trust issues. This is not to say that I can’t get to a place of deep honesty and trust, it just takes me longer.
I’m not sure if these women will ever understand the deep hurt I experienced at that moment, or how it affected me ever since. I have forgiven, I have moved on, I have learned to create better boundaries. I’m ok with what happened, but changed. Yet, I do remain hopeful that the Lord has the tribe for me. Those whom I can let down my guard with, and have the most precious of friendships.