No, I am not going to talk about the musical, “Anything Goes.” But whenever someone says the word “friendship,” I often think of this song because in high school I played in the pit orchestra for that musical, and it was a funny song that I enjoyed when playing in orchestra. But anyways, I am not here to talk about musicals, but about actual friendship.
I have been so blessed by God to have the friends that I do, and it has taken me a long time to realize just how much. I have always had a very difficult time making friends. When put into a situation where I don’t know anyone very well, I am not the type of person to go up and talk to the people I don’t know. I usually end up waiting for someone else to do that first. It may even be worse if there is one person I know better, because I am less forced to talk to new people, and end up just standing near that person I kind of know and don’t try to talk to anyone else.
It also took me forever to feel comfortable opening up to anyone. Growing up in elementary, junior high, and high school, I had friends that I was close to, but I always had secrets that I didn’t feel I could share with them. I was just never a very open person growing up. I would try to fill time with friends up with fun and laughter, but I was scared to take the step of being completely honest with any person, which is unfortunate, because I think being open and honest can create friendships that are life changing.
It took me until I was just about to turn 18 to get the courage up to be completely honest with anybody, and the blessing that that friendship has been to me cannot be expressed in words. After I saw what a blessing it could be when you were open and vulnerable with a friend, I was looking forward to the next time an opportunity like that would come.
Unfortunately, the next time that I had the opportunity to open up to a friend, it didn’t go as I had planned. There were misunderstandings when I tried to talk about something I was struggling with, and I ended up very hurt by things that were said. That friendship has since gotten better, but that experience made me so scared. Any time I felt a push to share something personal with someone, I was so scared that it could ruin our friendship, and so for a while, I got very closed off again, only talking personally to a very small group of people.
As time went on, I did slowly start to get some confidence to be more open. It took a long time, but slowly, I would feel comfortable enough with someone to open up a little more with them. But I was still not honest enough with people that I wanted to be. I remember about a year ago being so frustrated that I had secrets that I was hiding from so many people. Of course I didn’t want to everyone I knew about every secret that I had, but I hated the feeling of hiding at all. I wanted to feel like if a conversation about something I may struggle with came up, I could tell the truth. But I couldn’t. There were many times when certain subjects would come up, that I would lie, and I hated that.
But then, about a month and a half ago, I started to feel the push to be more open with some of my friends, specifically about my struggles with homosexuality. I felt the best way would be to write about it, so I did. I had started this blog a month or so prior, so what better place than this to post it? From there, I was able to share it with certain people I was feeling pushed to. From there, God used that bravery and openness I was showing to help me open up even more to many people.
The thing that amazed me though, is the overwhelmingly supportive messages I got, showing me what great friends I have. There were many people who agreed with what I had to say, and so of course they would be supportive, even hadn’t have been good friends. But one great thing about that, is that it has drawn me closer to each of those people. Being able to take down my walls with those people has led to very encouraging conversation and a closer friendship. The thing that surprised me though, was the amount of positive response I got from those who do not share my beliefs. It would be very easy for people with opposing beliefs to say something negative about the things I opened up about, none of them did. Even if they did say that they don’t agree with everything I said, they all responded in a loving way, showing that we did have a true friendship.
There is another friend who I was good friends with in junior high, who I have recently gotten closer with again. For some reason, we drifted away during high school, and didn’t see each other much until fairly recently. We started to get closer again, but this time, we were both honest with each other about some hard things, and because of that, has been one of my biggest encouragements in this time of my life, and such a blessing.
I was so bad at being honest with anybody while growing up, and words cannot explain how much fuller, richer, and more encouraging my friendships are now that I feel I can be honest.