As women we value our friendships and relationships. But, unfortunately, as much as we value them, we tend to ignorantly do things to destroy our friendships. One of the quickest ways to destroy a friendship or a precious relationship is to place expectations upon the other person.
Naturally, when are involved in a relationship, we imagine how we want it to go. And, oh how imaginative we can be! We have needs and we want the other person to meet our needs. We want our friend to call us as often as we expect her to, we want our friend to support us when we go through difficult moments, we want, we want, we want… in short, we expect! Well, given time, that friendship or relationship will disintegrate, because unfortunately, with expectations comes measure. We eventually measure our friendship by how the other person meets our expectations. If they don’t call us as much as we want or expect them to, then it means they aren’t as good a friend as they can be. If they don’t support us through our tough moments, then they are selfish friends, and so we write them off, we move on. ‘I’m not going to bother, I mean, why waste time with such a bad friend, right? I am just going to distance myself.’ Ever had those thoughts? Soon disappointment follows and determination to move on from that friendship or relationship. Well, you might be writing off someone who loves you more than you will ever know, all because you’ve chosen to measure their friendship based on your expectations of them. Now, I’ve just told you how you can destroy your friendship or precious relationship. Then, how can you preserve it?
The Bible says, ‘The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.’ Oh, precious wisdom! The word that stands out for me from this verse is ‘build’. Yes, when we are expecting from others, we aren’t building, we are waiting for them to build. When we are expecting, we are focusing on receiving and not on giving. And, that’s exactly what it means to build – to give! Focusing on the needs of others and not your own! That’s how a relationship is built. Does that mean you will not have expectations? I wish I could say yes, but that’s not the case. As people we have expectations, it is part of our human nature. But, when you are wise, you choose to put aside your own expectations and focus on being a good friend instead. You focus on providing for your friend’s needs instead of worrying about your own. You choose to give instead of receive. That’s when a friendship is built! There is no greater joy than the joy of giving. There is no greater joy than the joy you see in your friend when you choose to show her mercy when she knows she’s failed you. There is no greater joy than the joy you see in your long lost friend when you receive her with open arms, no question asked, as if she hasn’t been gone from your life without contact for years.
You might be priding yourself with the fact that no-one takes advantage of you. If they don’t measure up, you are strong enough to cut them off and move on. You can live without such friends. That may be true, but you may be losing a lot more than you bargained for. And, only those of us who have almost written off friendships and relationships, but in the end chose to give instead of worrying about receiving know what we would have lost had we written those people off. Build your house, don’t tear it down with your own hands!