What’s a Low Maintenance Friendship?
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Proverbs 18:19
I was talking with one of my friends the other day on a short run and we were talking about how awesome it is to have a friendship that is a low maintenance friendship. A low maintenance friendship is one that is bathed in comfort and knowledge of the other person and who they are and what they mean to you without having drama tossed in the middle of the friendship. You don’t offend each other if you don’t see or talk to the other person in a certain length of time. Or you text or email them and they don’t respond in the same day, but you know what their life is like and how hectic the schedule they have is. That is a comfortable friendship that is immersed in unconditional love. The above scripture is talking about unhealthy friendships, those that are steeped in drama and fear. In this blog I want to talk about both sides to friendships and how it’s better to have those close friendships be ones that are low maintenance.
A sprit of offence is one that is so involved with the emotion of fear. We fear the worst when we are offended. When you are offended you don’t want to forgive your friend. Fear keeps us in the gate locked with bars. What do we fear? We fear we are wrong in the argument whatever that argument may be. We fear of backing down when we are right. When working on friendships or relationships in general, they do take work. To be frank here, we really need to involve ourselves with people that are not going to sap our strength and suck the joy out of our life. There are some people like this that can really just ruin our lives by their constant negativity. This type of person you have to be so careful with, it’s as if you are walking on eggshells around them. Eggshells are so easy to break, so is this type of person, to set them into the offensive mode. It’s best to leave this friendship behind if the person cannot add to your life instead of taking away life.
Let’s focus on what a low maintenance friendship is. First what is great about a low maintenance friendship is you don’t have to be in that person’s presence all the time and know that they love and care for you. When fear is not part of the equation it’s easy to understand your friend and know who they are and how they feel about you. Just as if you are watching a ballet, the key to the dance is always the balance the dancers display. Fear takes away balance in a friendship and can destroy it even before it begins. The key to keeping fear out of a friendship is to be open an honest with your friends that you want close. That gives adds an element of risk to our friendship.
Risk is the next element to having a low maintenance friendship. To have even a good friendship involves risk. We risk rejection, we risk being foolish, we risk being open. Risk is well worth the risk because we will discover someone who may be dealing with the same things we are dealing with. When you discover this, you have a close friend that will be there for you when you have to deal with trouble and tragedy in your life. That brings me to the next element and that is closeness.
Closeness is that understanding that two friends can share without words being said. You usually have an idea of what they are thinking because you are like minded. That is the biggest thing you can have is being like minded. Now don’t get me wrong you may not always agree on everything, but that is the beauty of friendship and it not being high maintenance. You are free to share with the other person even if you are not in agreement on everything. I have found in my own low maintenances friendships that I may not have seen it from the point of view my friend is sharing with me. We have to be humble enough to see their point of view even if it may not agree with us. That’s what a low maintenance friendship is, being humble enough to listen and even change your idea if need be. The framework for all of what I just describe is of course unconditional love.
Unconditional love is the underscore of all of this and you cannot have unconditional love without God in the middle of your friendship. Balance, risk, and closeness work together with unconditional love. God gives us the strength to find balance, not fear. He helps us to take risks and not fear. He allows us to be open and get close to these people. A godly friend is the best low maintenance relationship you can ever experience. It’s what makes great friendships and awesome strong marriages. The best way to keep the drama and fear out of your friendship is to allow God to be the major part of it. Without Him you will more than likely have the high maintenance ones that suck the life out of you.
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.