This week I had the opportunity to hang out with one of my greatest friends. Zach and I have been friends since our second year of college. We lived together in college and then again with a couple other buddies post college. Zach and his family have been living in Cambodia for the last couple of years so we haven’t seen each other in awhile. It was so good to reconnect again. We have always had a very honest friendship, but the “complaint free world” series we are now discussing at Floris UMC has made me wish that I would have had this knowledge throughout the early years of our friendship. Now, if you asked my advice on how to have conversations with people you care about, this is what I would say:
- Go directly to the person: There were so many times where one of us might have gotten frustrated with the other. The times when we were most successful in our friendship, were times when we were willing to go to the other person and share our frustrations with one another. Those conversations were always easier than I thought they would be.
- Go to God: God actually cares about us. Whenever I am feeling especially complaint oriented, I am able to shift that sort of thinking through pausing and praying. I have found that stopping where I am and spending some time with God does that.
- Go away: I have never found it helpful to “complain nicely” right when I’m feeling something. I have been encouraged (by my wife) that it’s always helpful to take a few minutes to allow frustration to simmer before going to someone. We do not share things in love when we are angry.
- Go forward: Sitting on something for a long time doesn’t help anyone. As I think back to my friendship with Zach, the times that our more than ten-year friendship has been so good is when we do not harbor any complaints. Remember that Zach and I have been friends since college. I have made some real “young punk” moves. Yet, he was able to let them go and we have moved forward.
Our time together this week really was an amazing gift. We probably won’t see each other for another four years but I know that I have one of the greatest friends that’s just a Skype-call away.