The Gold Standard of Friendship

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Carrie Kuba -Gold Standard Friendship3By Carrie Kuba | Twitter: @bellinka09

I wasn’t living up to the expectation.
I did not realize for many, many years the expectation was unattainable.

I am not sure when exactly it started—college maybe?

We were an admirable triad.
Everyone thought so.
We joked about how we were preparing for our future husbands in the depth of our friendship and the soulfulness of it all.
And I thought this was normal.
I thought that everyone had similar friendships.
It did not even occur to me that not only was that perhaps not the case, but that not everyone desired this type of friendship.

The unattainable expectation set in these particular friendships became the gold standard by which all other friendships were measured in my life.
And, of course, no one ever measured up.
Not even the two who set the gold standard, because for all three of us—what we expected of each other was completely unrealistic, so the waves of disappointment and hurt
just
kept
coming.

A male friend once told me friendships with other women are difficult for me. I made the mistake of believing him. Not only did I believe him, but I began to own that—wear it around like some attention-seeking mink coat. And in doing so, I found myself drawn to serial superficial friendships that systematically imploded because I attracted like-minded women. So, when the honeymoon stage was over, so was the friendship.

Thank God that is never the whole story.
I mean it.
Thank God.

I’m not sure why it took me to the age of 46 to realize that perhaps I was looking at friendship through a very limited lens.

Near the beginning of 2017, I attended the Rise Up, Sister retreat through SheLoves Magazine. Sometimes we get a gentle nudge from God in our decision making, and once and a while we get a forceful push. For me, attending this retreat fell into the latter category. There was this place deep down within me that wondered if there could be another way to do friendship—a way in which my wholeness did not require a friendship to complete it, nor did I need to depend on it to do so. This was a place for me to experiment with the idea that perhaps I can arrive whole? Perhaps I can find friendship that expands that wholeness, adding color and flair and diversity to it—enriching it and emboldening that which God has already created in me.

Imagine my surprise in finding that this weekend changed my life. Imagine my surprise in discovering that not only was there another path to friendship, but that I
am
worthy
of
friendship
by being
EXACTLY
who God created me to be.
And in doing so, life is enhanced and experienced and utterly enjoyed mutually.
No strings attached.

I discovered that I had been leveraging friendships to find my wholeness, and in doing so, I often felt let down and even invited toxicity to the table.
I discovered that healing and seeking to become whole—all God intends for me to become—results in healthier relationships.

Friendship is not meant to be leveraged on the path to wholeness.

As I am enjoying becoming the type of friend I want to have, I am also enjoying my marriage more. My husband benefits because I no longer have unrealistic expectations of him, either, and as I find friendship with much more laughter and much less drama, I am not nearly as depleted all the time.

My triad is no longer.
I grieve that loss.
Perhaps a healthier triad will arise in the future.
God knows.
He can hold that all for me.

In the meantime,
I am late for a coffee date.

_____________________

About Carrie:

CarrieKubaI am a writer, a mother of a medically fragile kiddo and a Habesha, a wife to a Czech Renaissance man, an activist, a friend.
I am on a journey to live authentically.
You can find a piece of my heart at www.raindropsandrivers.com

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  • Bonnie Ann Joyce

    I love this for you Carrie! Praying each of us embraces the person God is creating us to be on this journey to eternity. xoxo

  • Carrie, this post reminds me of all the friendships that have endured for years — and about which I wonder, “Why does she want to be my friend when she knows me so well??” And this is the gift of God: a friend who knows and loves anyway.

    Thanks for shared wisdom from your sisterhood path.

  • I love that we could be part of this journey. Rising, you are.

  • Sweet friend. To sit at the feet of your words everyday is healing. Thank you.