Today I want to talk friend, friendship, fun and laughter because each of these are good for the soul if you let the right kind in at the right dosage. As a Christian female and an INFP to boot I have truth be told struggled with friendships in particular, I am introverted by nature in public and an extrovert in private which means that only a handful of people get to see the real wacky n wild me.
My issue at the moment stands with the perception of friendship and fun especially within the Christian (female) community, men tend to be a lot lighter in this area. But I get the feeling that Christian women take themselves way too seriously to deign to have fun. So I’m going to share a bit of my processing to maybe help you do a bit of your own.
A few years back I asked God to bring friends into my life. That year during that period where my life was pretty tough and we were living from a cramped attic room, I desperately needed to have people around to confide in so.. I asked God for some “friends”. If you’re wondering why the quote marks it’s because as an idealist that word has hidden subtext to me. For example, I have always loved the poster board images of girls having girly-girl conversations with one another, talking about any and everything under the sun, and that feeling of being oh-so well understood and having lots of giggling fun etc.Stereotypical images of #friendship can lead to unrealistic expectations, thanks #SweetValleyHigh Click To Tweet
But that was never me, I don’t do ‘meaningless’ conversations so I always felt awkward around others, like I never truly fitted in – I couldn’t make small talk for the life of me. On a side note being around Hubby (Extroverted Idealist) I am often blown away by how easy it is for him to approach and talk to just about anyone anytime about anything – it’s a gift which I admire immensely. OK back to what I was saying.
But I was looking for something that wasn’t real and authentic, I had unspoken rules about friendship which I held deep in my heart. My friends should all look a particular way (blame Sweet Valley High for that etc.), I should always and under all circumstances get along with my friends, friendships, fun and laughter go hand in hand, friends should have lots in common, share the same beliefs, values and principles and be able to talk for hours upon hours, friends should be of the same age, friends should confide secrets and have secret codes and language etc. OK I am over-exaggerating but I’m doing that both for my and your sake. When you have such laboured and grandiose rules for anything you’re bound to be disappointed or not get very far at all.When you have laboured or grandiose rules for anything you’re bound to be disappointed. #getreal Click To Tweet
That year God brought me a wacky creative housewife that was 7 years younger than me and a mature and wise buxom worshipper, they each blessed me in a way that I needed to be blessed. I was happy when I was with and around them but for different reasons. I learnt that friendship comes in all shapes and sizes, to fulfil different needs and to last unspecified amounts of time.#Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes, to fulfil different needs. Click To Tweet
Sometimes looking back at those two ladies, I realise that there are two sides to me, which I have seen my friends connecting with: the adventurous and playful side vs. the wise and grounded side. If I don’t allow myself to fully embrace and express these two aspects of myself even with the people I hang around with I feel incomplete and yes even lonely. I realised this quite recently because I have been feeling like something is missing from my life, I’ve had a yearning hunger to just be free, have fun and go on an adventure. I’ve been feeling restless and caged. Why?
Because I have over fed and over-influenced one side of me and neglected the other. As a Christian and a woman there are so many spoken and unspoken rules surrounding how to behave which are really truth be told more of a headache than helpful. I read a post on Facebook about a Christian guy that said he would love to have a conversation with a Christian woman that didn’t involve ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… halleluyah… amen’ all the time. I can relate, it can be a bit overwhelming and one-track. There can be such an over emphasis on all things deep, big and spiritual with Christian women that you forget to simply be, let your hair down and have fun.
In fact from the outside, you might think that having fun, laughing and happiness were a major sin but I have found that like all things it depends on the people you choose to spend your time with.
I started this post focusing on friendships but it’s really about having the type of friendships that allow you to be fully you, that allow you to be childlike, laugh and have fun when you need to as well as allowing you to be a well-balanced adult. Research shows that friendships support health and well-being but only if they are the right kind for your individual needs. If their not working for you then something isn’t working for you – do I mean chuck your friends away? Nope. But consider your friendships and concept of friends from an alternative perspective. What are your stereotypes, expectations and rules around friendships and fun? Do they limit you or allow you to grow into who you are? We are all different, that’s the starting point, there is no one-size fits all friend and having realistic expectations and definitions of friendships coupled with forming ties that allow you to be fully authentic will ultimately boost your sense of health and well-being. Time for a self-examination.