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A Fervent Heart Can Amplify Friendship Disappointments

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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November 3, 2014

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A Strong Desire for Friendships is Likely to Result in More Friendship Disappointments

There is a hierarchy of sorts when it comes to the desire for friendship. At the top we have those people who have a high social identity, nature and needs and at the bottom those that don’t seem to particularly care for friendships. For those at the top who make friendships a priority and have a fervent heart they are likely to face more bumps and bigger bumps on the friendship road. Knowing that you are this kind of person can be liberating. Not knowing can be frustrating, confusing and troubling.

Different Kinds of People

To drive my point home here are five different kinds of people. Some of them are people I know well.

Person A
One day I was talking with someone and said, “No man is an island.” She strongly disagreed. She could be quite happy living a solitary life on a deserted island somewhere. Friendships were optional and something she could go without.

Person B
Someone whose post I read said that he was quite happy and content interacting with friends on-line. He didn’t really feel the need to meet up and one short exchange on-line was enough for him.

Person C
A married woman who is quite content just to hang out with the family and her mother and sisters. She only has one friend she hangs out with a few times a year. While she is quite happy to socialize with others it’s not really in her nature to seek out and befriend someone.

Person D
Obviously enjoys the company of others and socializes with whoever happens to be around. Seemingly no strong feelings for friendship. Not noted for taking the initiative and ends up hanging out with those that do take initiative with him. Seems as though he could quite happily take or leave any friendship and read a book instead.

Person E
When it comes to friendships she has a fervent heart. The friendships in her life are a priority as they are very important to her.

She hosts social events, is generous with friends and takes loads of initiative with them.

She is noted for her enthusiasm, warmth, thoughtfulness and how mindful she is of her friends.

Close friends becoming cold and distant and chronically passive friends she has shown a lot of initiative with are the kinds of things that trouble her and she still struggles a little to come to terms with it.

The Dilemma of Having a Fervent Heart

As you can probably tell Person E may find friendships with Persons A – D a little underwhelming at times. He might, for example, find that he has to take all or most of the initiative for the friendships to survive.

If you have a fervent heart and don’t know that you are different from others it can cause you pain. Your fervent heart and perspective amplifying the friendship disappointments that come your way. You might find yourself becoming uptight concerning the friendships you have.

Project Fellowship, which was a time of intensive socializing for me, helped me realize that I was wearing rose-colored glasses. My friendship endeavors had given me a visceral sense of the friendship landscape. When I took the glasses off it was a kind of relief not to mention liberating.

Knowing yourself helps explain a lot and keeps things in perspective. It also helps shine a light on the kind of people you should be befriending if you wish to thrive.

Now I take into account the way I am and the way others are. It has lowered my expectations and helps me deal much better with all the disappointments that come my way.

If there are truly different kinds of people then how can I expect people to deal with friendship matters the same way that I do?

What’s Really On Offer?

Like many other people I have struggled in the past with people’s lack of reciprocity and for feeling like I take most or nearly all of the initiative in many of the friendships I’ve had.

I now understand though that while someone may come across as somewhat nonchalant and passive comparatively speaking he may be in fact extending a friendship that’s running on all cylinders. He may be treating you no differently to the best friends he has in his life.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a feather flock together. Being around birds of a different feather can bring you discomfort and make you feel a little like the ugly duckling.

Looking back over my life I can see that the friendships that brought me the most joy were people who were similar to myself. I particularly thrive in the presence of other fervent hearted people.

Conclusion

This article is primarily a heads up for those who don’t yet realize that they are the fervent-hearted kind of person I’m talking about here. Awakening to this fact has many benefits. It will help explain a lot in terms of the friendships you have, put things in perspective, lower certain expectations that are causing you discomfort and hopefully make the friendship path a much more agreeable and pleasant one to travel down.

Do you have a fervent heart? How do you deal with the friendship disappointments that come your way?

 
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