The friendship ghetto

what kind of friend are you?

more to the point…what kinds of friendships do you require?

there are some people who want…or even need…to have friendships with people of similar personality,  interest,  or status.   they want friendships with people who like the same things…or have compatible qualities or personal life priorities.   maybe they are looking for people who talk the same language,  laugh at the same kind of jokes,  like the same kind of movies.

who knows?   it could that you are simply looking for friendships that feel right or people you connect with  on an emotional level.

so is there anything wrong with seeking friendships like these?   nope.   but there is something deeply wrong if you can’t develop friendships with people that are different from you.   if you can’t get out of your friendship ghetto.

and it’s worse…much worse…if you don’t want to have those friendships.

today,  the room was full of diversity.   i met eight brand new people today.   i ate lunch with four people i’ve known for less than a couple of months.

this afternoon,  wanda and i were invited to a get together with NP young adults.   other than the hosts,  all of the people who came are new to our group within the past 18 months.   it was both sad and energizing.   it was amazing to watch a group of people begin to bond with each other,  with limited familiarity and without anyone to guide them or show them the NP ropes.

and all of them were incredibly different,  yet they found common ground.   and they worked at building friendship.

yeah.   they worked at it.

i’m all for friendships where everything comes easy…where we are drawn to people with similarities and the interactions are effortless and flow with compatibility.   but for me,  i think i like the other kind more.

the older i’ve gotten,  the more i love meeting new people.   i am sustained by a bunch of deeper,  long-running friendships of loyalty and partnership…but these days,  i find that i am fueled by letting new people in.   the challenge of making room for people who are different has ceased to be a chore.   it is now joy.

how about you?   are you too busy trying to find people who are similar and comfortable…that you are missing the people right under your nose?   are you wasting your time avoiding people you don’t think you’ll like very much…while the potential of healthy,  out-of-the-ordinary,  diverse friendships are waiting at your door?

…the kinds of friendships we really need to be developing for our own good…for the good of others…and for the good of the kingdom.

get out of your ghetto.


2 thoughts on “The friendship ghetto

  1. Honestly, I think that’s what ministry is all about. Working hard at connecting meaningfully with people that aren’t necessarily in your friendship “wheelhouse,” (in my case, kids). And I think that’s why a lot of people say they “can’t” or aren’t “gifted” to do ministry: They don’t see a natural connection.

    But I think you hit the nail on the head: working hard at those friendships and seeing them bear fruit can be far more joy-giving. Maybe that’s partly what Jesus was talking about here:

  2. I think we become less judgmental when we allow ourselves to get to know many types of different people on a deeper level. We can miss out on such great friendship and joy when we “judge a book by the cover” – when we assume we won’t mesh with another person because they aren’t like us.
    If we only spend time with people “like” ourselves, how will we ever learn to try new things, think about things in a new way, see other perspectives, etc?
    As a church, we are a family. We should have a desire to get to know our family – and that includes everyone.

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