There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Prov 18:24 RSV
I remember reading this verse in my big Revised Standard Version Bible as a teenager while in boarding school. I have enjoyed the benefits of having good friends for a really long time so I’ll try and share some stories and home truths with you.
I have to say that when love starts to blossom and grow in your head and heart, having good friends will be a great support. Two experiences stand out in my mind. The first happened when I was 16. I had my special circle of friends as most people do. These were children of my parents’ friends and some high school colleagues. I was in boarding school during term time so I didn’t get the chance to hang out with the group much. One summer, one of the guys in the group had told a few of his classmates that I was his girlfriend. I stood out during a competition during my last visit so it was cool for ‘Clara’ (a nickname a was known by) to be anyone’s girlfriend. Now this guy was indeed my friend, but we were not an item at all. The first I heard of this was when another girl in the group saw me and said “Someone came to tell me you and – let’s call him Sam – Sam are dating! I told this person his information was incorrect as I know both of you, so I just came to confirm…?” She looked like she would deck me if I disagreed with her but thankfully she was correct.
A few days later, two other friends who treated me like a sister, came to my house to verify the same information. It felt like an interrogation. I told them that nothing was going on. All three friends then – on separate occasions – confronted Sam. He tried to laugh it off, but they would not stand for it. By the time I actually met Sam to ask what had possessed him to say such a thing, he was already apologising profusely. He kept saying he was sorry for a whole year, and he is still one of my best friends till date. It wasn’t that I felt there was anything wrong with having a boyfriend, but if I didn’t have one, there was no need to pretend. The three friends who stood up to me and for me, left a mark in my heart. I knew that these friends cared, and they wouldn’t believe anything that didn’t match my character. This is something I have worked hard to emulate even in my current friendships.
The second stand-out experience happened in my twenties. I have three very strong and powerful women in my life, whom I call friends. They are all very different from each other in age and life experiences, and very unique in the way they relate to me. So I met this guy and from day one I was calculating and seeing how well we would fit into each other’s lives – yes I was on the lookout for a husband and I didn’t want to waste anytime. He seemed really cool and a few of my other friends had met him, and were happy for us, as usual. We dated for 4 months and he suddenly wasn’t interested anymore. In the morning he loved me, by evening he didn’t see us going anywhere. It was a difficult time and I tried talking with this young man for a whole month but he insisted the relationship was over. I remember wanting to cut my hair out of annoyance. This was after I had gotten rid of all the cards and teddy bears and jewellery received. One of my three friends stopped me from doing that but said I could just try something new like shaping my eyebrows. I did.
Ex saw a picture of me a month later and decided he wanted to come back. To be honest, I still really liked this guy but I knew it wouldn’t be right to just pick things from where we left off and I told him he had to earn my trust and feelings again. He was not happy with this and he decided to throw all kinds of insults my way. Some of his messages were so insulting, I couldn’t believe this side of him existed.
There was a particular hurtful message, which when I shared with one of the three, she asked for his number. Till today, I have no idea what she said to him, but within ten minutes, he called me and he was sorry for the terrible messages he had sent. The matter ended there.
There are many stories I could share about things I have enjoyed in friendships with guys and girls. The experiences above might not appeal much to you but in my moment of need, I had friends who stood by me. When it comes to this husband matter, please don’t fly solo. Yes I admit that there are some nasty people who tell you to do things they will never do or who are so hurt and jaded in their ways that they can only offer you pain, but you should be able to sus them out way before the critical moments occur.
I once read that “friends are the family you choose for yourself” so choose wisely.