What defines a friend? How do you know who is your friend and who isn’t? How do you know who is merely an aquaintence? There are people who consider me a friend that I don’t particularly think of as close to me. It’s nothing against that person, I just don’t feel a connection with them like I do with other people. And there may people that I consider better friends than they consider me. And that’s okay. Sometimes you just don’t click with people.

There are people that I’d like to be better friends with but, for whatever reason, they don’t seem to be interested in that. There are people that I used to be extremely close with that I now barely speak to. And there are people that I never would have guessed would be interested in being friends with me who I’m very close to. Why is this the case? I have no idea. I don’t know what causes that “click”. (Not “clique”.) Why do I connect better with one person than I do another? I have no answer for this.

What I do know is that it isn’t something intentional on my part. I do not look at one person and think “They’re cooler, they’re more fun, they’re smarter, I want to be a better friend with/to them.” It just happens. I never intend to let relationships fall to the wayside. It just happens. I and/or the other person get busy and life takes over and the next thing I know, we’re no longer close. Or I suddenly find myself spending a lot of time with someone that I didn’t before for one reason or another.

There have been cases when I have accidentally hurt someone and they have pulled away and we are no longer close because of it. There have been cases when someone hurt me and I pulled away and we are no longer close. I have stayed in friendships only to be repeatedly hurt and finally decided that it was time to pull away. Things like this happen when you don’t live by yourself in a cabin in the woods.

Relationships are crazy, messy things. Because they involve people. People are stupid. They make mistakes. They say hurtful things. They tell you things you don’t want to hear. (Sometimes people only catch the “speak the truth” part of “speak the truth in love”.) But if you are going to be in a community, if you are going to exist with other people, you have to allow them grace. If you expect grace and forgiveness, you have to be willing to give grace and forgiveness. No one is perfect and they will make mistakes. Part of being in community is allowing people to love they way they are able. Part of being in community is confronting people in love. Part of being in community is knowing that people will make mistakes. That doesn’t mean you just roll over and take it but you confront them, in love.

Life isn’t perfect. People aren’t perfect. Friendships change. People grow and change and fail and get back up and try to love. I’m doing the best I can. Just like most people. Sometimes peoples problems or things going on in their life get the better of them. Sometimes they don’t treat other people right because of this. We have to remember that we don’t always know what’s going on in someones life. We don’t know who just had a nasty fight with their spouse, whose best friend just moved away, who had a child die, who just lost their job. We don’t always know why people act the way they do. Sometimes they don’t have a good reason and sometimes they do. Sometimes that “mean” remark wasn’t intended for you. Sometimes we take things the wrong way. Sometimes we think someone is glaring at us when really they’re lost in their own thoughts and don’t even see us.

I don’t know what makes people click. But I do know that whether we click or not, whether I find you irritating or not, whether you think I’m great or not, we are called to treat one another as human beings. Especially if you call yourself a Christian. Jesus treated everyone He met with dignity and respect. Except the religious know-it-alls. Them He called a “brood of vipers”. 🙂

Whether you are friends with someone or not, treat them the way you want to be treated. It won’t guarantee that they treat you that way but you will be able to stand blameless.