Last week I had the opportunity to attend church at The Heartland Church in Fishers, Indiana, where we have been visiting for the past month. The guest pastor was based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and the word he presented resonated with me; it landed me in deep thought. The pastor spoke about the paralyzed man in the book of Mark and his boys and how he wanted to see Jesus, but the place was so packed he couldn’t get to him. The kind of friends he had, were so invested in him and wanted to make sure he accomplished his goal of meeting Jesus, so they made the impossible possible. They formulated a plan to go on top of the roof, cut a hole in it, and lower him until he was face to face with Jesus. Because of what they did, he was not only able to see Jesus but was healed and able to C-Walk out of there. I walked away like, hold up; wait a minute, you mean to tell me this man's friends were straight riders to the point goals were attained and unexpected blessings happened. I can't lie the first thing I thought about was the song by T.LC, "What About Your Friends." I wanted to start dancing in church, repeating the choreography from the video, but I didn't. Instead, I started thinking these are the type of friends you need because you never know what dreams, obstacles, joy, pain, or hardships you may face through your journey in life. I honestly think knowing you have some friends, like in the book of Mark, you will be able to overcome anything that comes your way. You must know what type of friends you are befriending because all friends are not created equal, and you must do your research.
In establishing any relationship or friendship, you must be sure of what you are looking for, and the only way to know is by researching. Research is done by asking a series of questions and by spending time so you can identify behaviors. If you think about it, you shouldn’t start a new skincare regime without researching the products on the market because you want to do what suits you. There are many skin types, normal, dry, oily, sensitive, and combination. The goal is to find the right product to address your skin’s needs because everything isn’t for everybody, and just because this incredible product works for you doesn’t mean it will do the same for the next person. It doesn’t make sense to spend hundreds of dollars and time on a product only to find out it’s not working. It makes you upset because it stops working and is now discontinued. The decision to stop using the product or see if there is another product similar on the market is something you must explore. It’s the same with friendships because they are many different types based on the person, and you must know what you are dealing with.
One Strike and You are Out
You have that one friend that acts like a baseball player. You have one strike with them, and you are out. This friend will cut you off because they feel slighted or offended. Reconciliation isn’t something they like because cutting you off is a defense mechanism, and that’s how they protect themselves from being hurt again. You must be careful with this friend because you are not exempt from experiencing their wrath, and when they cut you off at the knees, you will be left with a taste in your mouth that you can’t seem to get rid of. The disgust you experience will leave an impression on you because, you thought it wouldn't happen to you and now you somewhere praying trying to figure out what just took place.
The Praying Friend
The friend that is praying before you hang up the phone or sends a text stating they are praying for you. Don’t get me wrong; prayers are mighty; however, If my friend informs me they don't know what they will eat the next few days until their unemployment check hits; what I do next determines a lot. My prayers will not keep their stomach from touching their back and experiencing missed meal cramps. I can pray and have faith they will get a job all day; however, today is the day my work doesn’t need to be dead. I need to go into action in the process of them waiting to get their unemployment check in their account and make sure they get the food needed to survive. The flip side to that if you are not a praying friend and just their party friend they don't see the problem with not helping.
The Party Friend
The friend that you know that as soon as they hear about a party, they call you to see if you want to go. The first thing they do is, ask what you are wearing and where is the location of the meetup. They love to be out on the scene but are nowhere to be seen when issues arise. This isn’t a friend you can call to come to get you from across town because you are stranded, or even send an Uber if they aren't available. Funny thing is they know how to utilize Uber while ya'll are out having a good time. These are the friends that are just there for a good time and not a long. The friendship will eventually be short-lived because of what’s going to happen when you are all partied out. You have to know that person for who they really are past the twerk sessions but some people only won't to keep you within a certain reach and don't want to go further in the friendship.
The Measuring Tape Friend
The friend that you keep at an arm's length distance and treat like a long sleeve shirt. You don’t allow them to get close to you because you are making them pay for a past friendship due to your lack of healing. This friendship is probably valuable to your life; however, you can’t see past your hurt, so you keep them at a distance. You are very surface with them, and when you feel like they are starting to get close, you loosen up the sleeves a little to create more space. This friend you don’t realize is probably what you need for the season of life you are in or for the rest of your life; however, you measure who they are based on your past experiences. The person doesn't get the opportunity to see if they are everything you are looking for in a friend.
The Combination Friend
Let me tell you something; this is the one friend you can’t afford to switch up on. If you think about the word combination, that means a mixture which this friend has many components to them. I would say this is the friend you can pray with, twerk with, who can call you out on your bull, and you say, “I can’t stand you heffa, but you right.” The friend who will get up in the middle of the night and drive across town or state lines to ensure they are there to help in your time of need. The friend you can be like, I know you are not working right now, but I have money to the side if you need it. I’m talking about the friend you trust with your life, the friend who you can ask for advice, and the friend when you are not the best version of yourself and will ask questions to see how they can help you. The book of Mark friend is the combination friend who makes sure you reach a goal when it doesn’t seem possible, but they are pushing you along the way by any means necessary,
I can honestly say that I’ve been most of these types of friends at some point in my life. Some friends I have now are who I started with; some have entered my life in seasons and left, and some have stayed for a lifetime. The thing is, the friends In my life, 10 or 20 years ago, I wasn't ready to receive them because I didn't know what it took to be a real friend, and as a result, I learned the hard way. The friends that have been here throughout the years have seen the good and bad side of the friend I've been. Yes, your girl has not always been a Combination type of friend. I've had some not-so-proud moments of friendship; let's be honest; I was TRASH. I fought for relationships with men harder than I fought for relationships with my girls, which was detrimental. Suppose I could only have fought for my girls the way they did. In Mark, boys, I would have the support I needed to go far. Instead, I cut them off and became silent, and, in the moments where it should have been celebrations, there were separations. I am the friend I am today because of my positive and negative experiences and being accountable for the times I fell short. I didn’t always know how to let people vent without a response until I was told you always got something to say; I need you to listen. I didn’t have empathy, but I always had sympathy. I could easily be sad because of what my friends were going through. The thing I didn’t know was how to place myself in their shoes. I could easily send someone some money, but I didn’t know how to do that without being asked. I now know if there is a need, I’m going to make sure the need is met on my end because relationships are based on anticipating the needs of others, being an ear, being a motivator, praying for you, twerking with you, tearing off the roof if necessary, and calling you out on your bullshit. I can't promise that some people won't come into my life and eventually leave because everyone serves a purpose, whether the time is short or long. I can promise that I know the friends that are the right type for me, and I don't have to spend countless hours or tons of money to find out if they are beneficial for me. I know who will "Knuck If You Buck," "Just A Prayer Away," "Throw it in the Bag," "Shake Something Twerk Something," No Limit Soldier, and "Will Cross the Ocean for You."
What Kind of Friend Are You?
Are you able to identify seasonal or permanent friendships?
Do you know how to move forward when the season is up?
Is it time to do an assessment of your friendships?