A visual of Friendship

Hello y’all! Its fall! Clemson is 6-0. Back with my girls again! Also, been #ridingthegratefultrain. Yes, I am counting my blessings instead of singing the blues so to speak. Negativity is no fun and nor is someone who is chronically negative. Its a toxic thing. However, positivity is what keeps the fun going. Laughter is the best medicine! Aint nuttin stealing my joy! If you sit down, take one thing to be grateful for each day, it makes a huge difference!

Okay Elizabeth, what are you up to now?

I have been reading some books on friendship this fall. Also, collecting blog and article pieces discussing it. So, bit by bit I am a getting my info in a row so to speak. This topic is so important and so underappreciated. Well, except with the tween set. To them, this is their life. As adults, we can learn to value it too. I do not mean House Wives of anything either. Gosh, talk of toxic! NEXT!

One thing we need to remember. In these relationships, not everyone will not be on the same level in your life. We have our BFF’s, our friends, aquaintaces. people we once knew, family friends etc. Then, we have been people we are aware of and who are also aware of us. No, they are not friends. They just know we exist. THEN, we have people we do not even know. I want to give you a visual picture here on how to view these things. As survivors, we missed a lot. We missed learning these healthy boundaries for sure! Stay with me and let me give you a visual on how to see these things. This has been a blessing for me and has helped me keep these things straight.

First off, you have come to the door to a gymnasium. You are not able to open the door yet can see inside. For me, this is people I do not know or never met. These consist of strangers walking down a street, some Twitter and Facebook followers. I see them at a distance at a mall. You get the idea.

school gym doors shut

This is what I am speaking of above. When we see strangers, we see the outside. Their hair, face, eyes etc. The door is locked and that means the person does not know anything about me. Sure, they can see inside my eyes if they look closely. However, cannot get in.

Next, we are opening the door. Once we open it, we are at a small foyer. As you can see, this is before getting on an escalator.  This area is people I have just met, followers on Facebook and Twitter.  Or, people I may be in a class with at some point. Or, ladies from bible study that I may see and say hello to. I know their names but that is it. Or, people with mutual friends. The difference from the above description is I know these people exist. I know their name and little about them. I have spoken to them a handful of times if that.  They are not riding the elevator or even stepping onto it. I do not take my problems to them. They do not know my secrets or my heart for that matter. I really have no opinion of them.

landing before wall

The next illustration is people going up and down the escalator. This consists of about 95% percent of the people I know or have known. These are friends that have not become like family. People who have been in my life whether it be a reason or season. Aquaintances from my past and present. Someone I use to go out with or crush on and are on good terms with. People I went to school, church or worked with. We had lost touch but reconnected whether it be online or offline. People I have helped through the years. Ladies in my bible study. People from church. The Anti-bullying community, colleagues past and present. Other adults who survived this peer abuse. Friends from all over the world. They are on social media with me. Notice the escalator goes up and down. That is because roles in these people can change at some point. Some have changed. Some have reconnected. Whatever the case, this is where they are. Also, my survivor support system is on there. However, they are at the tip off getting off of the escalator. That is because they are support in all of this. They are more than riding up and down the escalator.

landing before getting on escalatorlanding when getting off of escalator

As you see, they are on the escalator without really getting off. Its good to have people like this in your life. They are there when you need help. I may have shared confidences with them at some point. We have had serious discussions. They are aware of happenings in my life. We have worked and played together. Those I have worked on projects with. Or, those who are in my bible study class and we have become friends. People I pray with. They know my family and happenings there.  These are God ordained people. This means new friends. They have my cell number, email address and know where I live.  I have helped them out at some point. You more than get the idea….

Now, I am moving on past the elevator. Do you see in the photo above on the right side? It is the area after getting off of the escalator. Now, these are people who have been in my life for a very long time. I am talking since childhood from school. Or, family friends who have become like family. Also, family itself. These are friends who have been constants for so long that they are FAMILY! Of course, family too. They know my cell number, email address and where I live. They are on speed dial. These are people I can call in the middle of the night in a crisis. Those I call when mom goes to the hospital. Those I would trust to look after my mother. These are lifetime people. They may not live near me but are highly valued. Or, they do live near me. We have spent many holidays together.

After that landing, a cliff will drop off. People are off of the landing yet have not completely fallen. These are people who have been in my life and have been toxic for me. Those who abused or took advantage. Old boyfriends where things ended badly. The peer abusers and their crews. These are people I cannot allow back into my life. My own health comes first and their presence has stressed me or sickened me. Some people can let abusers run in and out all the time. I am not one of them and took a long time to learn this. They are blocked on social media. They do not know where to find me. However, they are forgiven. I hold no ill will or grudge. I love them and am commanded to do so. However, it does not mean I like them. We are not commanded to like everyone. Also, I highly doubt GOD wants us bringing people into our lives that we know are bad for us. Here is the illustration.

dropping off

So, who is next? Well……..there is one (well actually three) who are in all of these places. The only one that has been able to do every bit of this in my life. One dwells within me. One saved me from jumping off any cliffs and took my burdens to the cross. One created me in HIS image. This is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Alpha and Omega. The beginning and end. The one who has full control of my life. The one who picks my friends and colleagues in life. The one who brings me through anything I attempt or do. Nobody else is even getting close to where this person is in my life.  So, do not even try it.

the trinity

Whew! That was a mouthful! Are we done yet?

Yes, I am done! Yippee! I just wanted to help others out there to see how to keep (or as some would say micromanage) people in ones life. For me, this is the safest I can do. It helps me keep others in perspective. We cannot let others just run in and out and keeps us off balance. We need to maintain balance. I hope this helped someone out there. Have a good week! Enjoy the fall! Be YOU!



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