Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What Do Your Friends Look Like?

For some reason I'm thinking about this right now. Many years ago I attended a regular "life group" at our church. We called them "cell" groups for some reason back then. They weren't really bible studies, but we did read the bible together. We worshipped together. We played and ate together. I enjoyed these groups at that time in my life. I could feel Jesus there with us. Well, He does promise that.

Anyway, a new gal to the church came to the group one night. She was maybe 7-10 years younger than me. She had just graduated as a nurse and moved to our town. I thought she was precious and sweet. So, I called her up and invited her to lunch, my treat. I just wanted to spend some time with her, get to know her, and offer her friendship. I picked her up as she didn't have a car and drove to a nearby Mexican restaraunt. Throughout the whole meal this young woman kept asking me, "why did you invite me to dinner?" The first time she asked, I simply and joyfully responded that I wanted to get to know her and offer friendship to her, as she is new to the city and church. She answered, "well, I guess it's ok for me to have a friend who is older than I." She said it in a way that sounded like she didn't believe it. I remember thinking it was odd she would say this. I patiently thought to myself, perhaps she's never had a friend who is a few years older.

I can't really judge other people's experiences in life to be similar to mine. I was the youngest child and I had a very loving older sister who included me in her outings with her friends. I had older aunts that I corresponded with and thoroughly loved their attention and involvement. Thourought the years I've met women, 10 years, 20 years, even 50 years older than I. Having coffee with these older gals, or just sharing some time on the phone didn't feel to me like "older" lady and "younger" lady friendship. We felt equal. At least I felt equal. They sure acted (and still act) like they are equals.

So, not everyone has had these types of friendships in their lives. So I was patient with my lunch date. The second time she asked me the same question, I still didn't think anything about it. She continued every five minutes or so throughout the entire meal to ask me why I would want to be friends with her since I was older than her. I tried to simply answer her, and ignore the question and just ask her questions that I would ask anyone I want to get know. Do you like to travel? Do you have any hobbies? What books do you like to read? How's your apartment coming along? In the end, she didn't receive my outstretched hand of friendship. I dropped her off at her apartment with my phone number and told her if she wanted or needed anything, even just to talk, she can always ring me up. I never heard from her. She is still at the same church to this day all these years later. She quickly found a group to belong with, and, yes, they were all about 7-10 years younger than I. Should I have continued to pursue a friendship with her? I don't know. My life at the time was full of work, parenting, and a new baby. I already had a slew of Christian gal friends, so I just didn't pursue her. Plus, she had made connections in the church.

This memory just has me wondering what do your friends look like? I have friends from around the world. Many of my friends look nothing like me at all. They are all different colors and all walks of life. Rich. Poor. Genius IQ's and some not so much. I have friends who are very emotionally stable and some who suffer with mental illness. Some friends are Christian. Some are not.

Some people, I think, must only be comfortable with those who look, sound, and act like they do. I think they must only be friends with people who are "easy" to be friends with. (that's not to say there's a time to end a difficult relationsip) I personally feel that would be a very limited and boring life. I'm so glad there are different kinds of people in this world.

4 comments:

  1. Glad you liked the Cresent Apple pies and I bet your family wasn't that surprised that you could cook! I cooked a "real" meal yesterday and it took me from 4pm till 8 pm to cook, eat and clean up the mess!! That's why I don't cook much! It takes too much of my time!!

    By the way, I have friend of all ages, colors and nationalities. I love all ages, don't you? The young are great to be with but they will stay
    late when they come to your house....the old go home earlier!! har har

    ReplyDelete
  2. that seems weird to me, to not be open to different aged friends that is.
    I have friends that are 40 years older than me. One of my very dear sweet friends was in her 60s back in St. Augustine, the ladies from work who I still keep in touch with who I consider friends are all in their 50s (excuse me one recently turned 60) one of my closest friends between college graduation and moving here was mid 50s, we'd have coffee, play music together, chat.

    I guess you're right now everyone has these experiences. But I love having friends of different ages! and different backgrounds!

    Interesting post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, you got me thinking, I believe in having all kind of friends from different walk of life too, but I think I should be more open to non- christain friends. Thanks for sharing:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. My friends run the gamut. I have older, younger, male, female, rich, poor, professional, and skill workers.
    I don't know that I've ever encountered anyone quite like you described. For the life of mel, I don't undersand why anyone would have a problem with someone older wanting to befriend them. Interesting.

    ReplyDelete