For the first years of my adult life, I considered friendship one of the greatest things in my life. I had friends—many of them—and spent time with them and enjoyed their company.
In 1978, however, after the third person said to me in less than a month, "You're my best friend," I didn't know how to process that information. The third person was the biggest shock because I hardly knew him. He was a member of our church, who was going through a serious career decision, and I spent time listening to him.
About that same time I met David, who became my best friend. Better, he became my first best friend. That's when I faced a startling reality: I had been "everybody's" best friend; I had no best friend.
I also realized that most of them knew things about me and saw me as open and transparent. I was—but only so far. Until I began to deal with my sexual molestation, I didn't know how to open the deeper part of myself.
I wasn't open to myself; how could I be open to others?
You know, to this day I find myself in the same position. I am a best friend to a quite a few people but I really have no best friend. Again, they come only so far.
For the past few years I've been blessed to have a "best friend". Having a best friend brings its own set of challenges for me. Especially since I deal with same sex attractions.
Here's some of what I've learned.
A "best friend" still cannot meet all friendship needs. He isn't my only friend - nor can I be his only friend.
I must resist the temptation to compare myself to him. Comparing myself leads me to jealousy and envy. Which is very destructive to true friendship.
I recognize that I bring as much value to the friendship as he does. It was easy for me to accept that I needed his friendship. Harder to accept that he needed mine.
I'm thankful for this friendship. And thankful for the challenges that it presents.
Mark and Roger: Excellent insights. Thank you. Friendships aren't everything but warm, positive relationships provide amazing support and encouragement, Now that I have a best friend, I wish it had happened earlier. But then, I doubt I could have been trusting enough to accept him.
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