Friendships can be tricky at times

I have some wonderful friends.

I am closer to some than others.

Some are friends I’ve had for many years.


Others are in the “dating” stage, meaning the friendships are new. I’ve also been privileged to talk with many women in course of leading Bible studies, retreats, and in my role as a hospital chaplain. Very often the subject of friendships comes up.

Very often the subject is about who is the “giver” and who is the “receiver” in the relationship. Interestingly enough, it’s never the “receiver” who engages me in conversation. It’s the “givers”, of course. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

We consider having that dreaded conversation. You know the one. The one where we tell our friend how we feel and then hope they’ll change their behavior. But we usually only have that conversation with ourselves. We’re afraid to confront. We afraid the relationship will end and we don’t want that because we’ve put so much of ourselves into it. But precisely because we’ve put so much of ourselves into it, we question how long we can continue with the one-sidedness.

So we give our friend a wide margin. We work really hard at coming up with all kinds of excuses for them.

“They probably just busy”. (Except you remember all the times you were too busy and yet you made the effort.)

“Maybe they’re not feeling good.” (Except you remember that you always let them know when you were under the weather so they wouldn’t worry.)

  • Each of us has to decide for ourselves what will be our next move when we are in a such a friendship.
  • Each of has to decide which is worse, losing a friend or keeping our self-respect.
  • Each of has to decide if maybe we are expecting more than they can give.
  • Each of has to decide if we’re getting enough out of the relationship despite the issues.

I had a conversation with one of those newer friends just last weekend. I can’t remember how we starting talking about one-sided relationships, but we did.

She mentioned that there was a person in her life that after a few months came right out and told her she would never be the one to reach out to her. (Of course, she had that one figured out by then. 🙂 ) It just wasn’t her “thing”. She did tell my friend that she loved getting together with her and loved their time together, but “don’t sit around expecting her to do any initiating.”

I can’t even imagine someone saying that. And I can’t imagine how I would respond. I think I would say, “That’s too bad because I won’t carry the responsibility for our relationship all by myself.” At least, I hope I would say that.

And yet, I’ve known a few people like this over the years myself. Some I’ve found it easy to let go. With others, I’ve made a supreme effort.

So if you’re the one out there and it’s your turn to connect, please do it. There really is no excuse. And your friend may not have as long a rope as I do.


We can continue to show grace to our friend and let it go. When we love someone, we need to believe the best of them for as long as we can. But with every gift of grace, the relationship deteriorates just the tiniest bit and we will find ourselves holding back in the future just the tiniest bit also. Many friendships will just fade away after a time.

We can fool ourselves into saying it doesn’t matter it’s one-sided but if it continues to hurt we need to ask ourselves if the friendship is worth the hurt.

I hope this helps you if you ever find yourselves in this situation. But remember, there are countless people in this world who would give anything to have any friend so proceed cautiously.

God bless and have a great day.

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