Friend or Acquaintance?

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends.  I have no notion of loving people by halves.

Jane Austen, 1775-1817

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

     1 JOHN 4:20-21

Definition of ACQUAINTANCE

1
a : the state of being acquainted

b : personal knowledge : familiarity

2
a : the persons with whom one is acquainted <should auldacquaintance be forgot — Robert Burns>

b : a person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend <a casual acquaintance>

Definition of FRIEND

1

a : one attached to another by affection or esteem

b : acquaintance

2

a : one that is not hostile

b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group

3
: one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4
: a favored companion
5
capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker
— friend·less  adjective
— friend·less·ness noun

— be friends with

: to have a friendship or friendly relationship with

     The hardest concept for me to work with is the idea of work friends.  If you are my friend, you are my friend period.  At least that is the way I always had looked at it.  Perhaps I need to consider the difference between friend and acquaintance.

     By way of review, I see that my reason for being hesitant to use the word acquaintance with regard to someone is that I would feel guilty not calling them a friend.  Hardly a good foundation.  Recently, my friend Barbara noticed out loud that I find ways to keep people from being close to me.  I actually invent reasons why I think they are not my friend, or don’t want to be.  I hated hearing it.  The ring of truth was in my ears so loudly that I could not ignore it. She was right.  I actually build a case against myself!  Why I am not worthy of that person’s friendship, why I am unworthy period.
     It was a tough moment of truth, and one that could only have been shared by a friend.  I have a handful of people with whom I can discuss anything. Anything, embarrassing or otherwise.  I do not worry about feeling guilty, I simply melt into their arms in tears, have breakfast with them as regularly as possible, make dates to spend time together.  When it all comes down to it, I have many more acquaintances than friends.  And because I love God, I see all those acquaintances and potential friends, even though I am not actively seeking relationship in that way.
     Which makes it easier to be pleasant to all with whom I work.  It makes it easier to keep a professional distance when need be.  I am particularly zealous about privacy.  If I take the time to ask you to keep something private, I mean it.  I have been a grievous offender of this in my early years, and truly appreciate those who can keep a confidence. In High School when someone told me not to tell anyone, i couldn’t wait to tell someone.  And I gained the reputation to go with it.  It backfired on me one too many times, and I began to develop a filter. I would tell myself to bury that information so deep in my heart that I would not readily remember it.  It has worked.  That particular thing makes it easier to tell the friends from the acquaintances. It helps me to love all that I meet, and reserve friendship like precious metals.
     Today, pray for your friends and your acquaintances. Love the God in each one.
Because of Him,
Linda
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