Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Defining Relationships

Sometimes, the relationship that we want with others is not the relationship that they want with us.

Have you ever considered a person as a friend that did not consider you a friend? Perhaps, the person called you a friend, but treated you like an acquaintance.  That has happened to me before with a coworker.  

Before I continue, I need to tell you that I don’t readily refer to people as friends.  In my opinion, I believe that the term friend is used way too loosely.  For me, friend is a term that signifies a caring, giving, sharing and trusting relationship.  With that being said, I’ll continue with this post.

I once worked with a lady - I’ll refer to her as Lacey (not her real name).  Lacey and I started working at the job the same time.  Lacey and I are Christians.  We are both married to Christian men , and we attend church regularly.  One of our children is the same age, and they attend the same school.  Lacey and I are around the same age.  So, quite naturally, I thought we would be good friends.  We shared and talked about things very often.  We even exchanged prayer requests.  I’m somewhat of a loner.  But, I really thought that this friendship was going to be special.  I was excited because we could relate to each other.

I noticed that when we had professional development away from our campus,  Lacey would almost always have lunch with another coworker (we’ll call her Terri).  Yes, I thought this was strange.  However, I rationalized that Lacey and Terri may have known each other longer.  Then, Lacey was off work due to an illness.  I took her dinner, but not to her house.  Her husband met me at the store to pick up the dinner  (hmm).  I was really hurt by this.  I had insisted that it was no problem for me to take the meal to her house.  But, she insisted that her husband would meet me to pick up the meal.  You get the picture, I’m sure.  I could go on listing other examples, but this post is getting long.

Lacey, later, moved to a different job.  The problem, in this situation, is that I considered Lacey more of a friend than she considered me.  As a matter of fact, I think she only considered us to be coworkers.  Neither of us ever defined the relationship.  This led to an assumption on my part.

I mentioned Lacey and me because too many people form one-sided relationships. Too often,
  • We care about people that don’t even know we exist.
  • We help people who never lend us a helping hand.
  • We love people that hate us.
  • We become friends with people who backstab us.
  • We talk to people who don’t listen.
  • We marry people who take us for granted.

So, how do we not form assumptions about the type of relationship that we share with others?  First of all, the relationship MUST be defined. All of the actions defined Lacey’s relationship with me.  Secondly, we must NOT ignore the obvious.

If we do this, we will save our emotions from disappointment and despair that could very easily be avoided.

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle it?


  1. Yes, this has happened to me. Like you, I am not quick to call anyone friend. It takes a lot for me to call a person a friend, because it's been my experience that most of the people who enter my life only want what the can get from me and I'd rather be to myself. I have a very small circle of friends and that works for me. Enjoyed your post! We have a lot in common. :)

    1. Hi Evelyn!
      Glad you stopped by! When stuff like this happens, I've learned to allow it to teach me. Hopefully, in the process, I can avoid future occurrences.

      And, yes, we do have a lot in common!!!

  2. Hey Trinity! This is an excellent post! This has happened to me before. What I've learned in situations like that, is that if I take the initiative and the other person does nothing with it...then I know from the jump start where we stand, lol, and it goes know further! :-) You're correct, ALL relationships need to be defined beforehand...that way, feelings don't get hurt and people are not misled. Thanks for sharing! :-)

    1. Thanks Michell for commenting. It is just amazing how much we learn - just from experience!

  3. Making friends is not the same as when we were children. In fact, I love watching children meet one second and become instant pals the next. It is simply not that way for adults. I tend to be guarded, particularly with people with whom I think could be friends. I, like you, define friends differently than the Facebook generation. And yes, I remember wanting to be deeper friends with someone who either didn't know how to be a friend (to me) or whose definition of friendship felt more like a vacuum cleaner nozzle against the skin. People can be funny, which is why I tend to be guarded. If I am not getting the same openness that I want to be able to give, I stop and re-assess.

    I had an instance as you described once . . . but I believed that this woman and I could be amazing friends . . . so I continued to press for a closeness with her. In that instance, she was guarded. Today, she and I are very close. I was right about what could develop but it was kind hard in the beginning. I felt hurt but realized that it can be really hard to open up to someone "new."

    The woman you describe, however, seemed more standoffish than guarded. She seemed to put you at a distance after drawing you near. It may be that she didn't know how to be a friend and wasn't ready for what you had to offer. That can be sad as you realize it . . . but you are likely far better off in the end.

    Thank you for your post.

    1. I'm glad that your experience turned out better than mine did. And, thank you for taking the time to comment.


I appreciate your visits. I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by. Be blessed!