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Friendship: The Great Steward Principle

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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January 21, 2015

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The Great Steward Tends to the Friendship Slots in His Life Like a Gardener Attends to His Garden

We are all stewards of the friendship slots in our lives. These slots are teflon-coated. They’re not meant to be filled with super glue. Exercising discernment and assessing friendships is an important factor in coming up with the kind of friendships we desire. If you have been struggling friendship-wise it could be because you have been a poor steward.

One of the things that can get in the way of good stewardship is a docile mind.

People with a docile mindset allow just about anyone to drift into their lives and permanently lodge in their friendship slots. They also experience a great deal of inertia. They may feel as though they don’t fit into a group and nobody values their friendship… yet they stay in that situation. They’re just not hardwired with a ‘let go’ switch

Sad to say, by allowing their friendship slots to be filled up in this random and potentially unfulfilling way they may be inhibiting good friends from entering their lives.

Developing friendships is an important part of Project Fellowship. In fact, I encourage people to take their friendship efforts up to a whole new level. To place themselves smack dab in a stream of humanity and start befriending like crazy.

It will come as no surprise though that a lot of people … and I do mean a lot … are not going to shake your hand with the same warmth, enthusiasm and desire for friendship that you shake their hand with. Now that is perfectly okay. It’s natural to have a lot of circumstantial friends and shallow friendships. However, when it gets to an alarmingly high percentage and your hardpressed to name one good friend it’s time to be mindful of your stewardship.

During Project Fellowship, how many people had no real interest in having a meaningful friendship with me? There were many. How many friendships were completely dependent on my initiative to survive? A lot.

The great steward principle helped me navigate through these friendships and draw to myself the kind of friends I desired.

Just before I started Project Fellowship a friend of mine knowing how distraught I felt about my friendships said to me that maybe I should just make the most of it. She wasn’t aware that I had already tried that. Well, she was almost right. She should have said, “Draw to yourself the best friends possible THEN make the most of the situation.” That distinction makes a huge difference.

Friendship Great Steward Principle Assessing

Gold represents potential good friends. The 11 circles immediately around this person represent all the friendship slots he has. At the moment he doesn’t have one good friend. If he frees up a slot there is a chance that one of the gold circles will come into his life. This is what happened to me during Project Fellowship. However, I freed up many slots to usher good friends into my life.

So, what does the steward principle entail especially for those who are lonely and depressed on the friendship trail?

* Listen and Take Action.
Listen to what your heart and mind are telling you concerning your current friendship situation and tap into your feelings. Are you often feeling lonely in your life? Do you often feel a light sense of depression in regards to your friendships or lack thereof? Don’t wallow in the mud. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do about this situation?” Tell yourself you’re either going to make the situation better with the current friends you have or find new friends. Perhaps both cause hanging around friends that give you the blues is not an option.

* Learn to assess friendships and let go of underwhelming ones. I’m talking about people who are unresponsive, disinterested and apathetic towards you. Don’t be overly clingy with people.

* Seek new social opportunities and friendships.

* Note those friendships that ring true and pursue them. They are out there. I do believe in chemistry just as much as I believe in the importance of developing friendships. For this reason if I started afresh in a new city I wouldn’t restrict myself to visiting one or two social groups. I’d be on the alert for treasure troves. That’s a group of people I get along very well with. I’d also be on the lookout for those people I have an amazing rapport with.

Consider for a moment what it’s going to cost you. How are you going to feel 10 years from now if you continue to have friendships that cause you despair?

The great steward principle acts like a huge siv in your life. It helps keep out ill-suited friendships and helps ensure that at least some of your slots are inhabited by close friends, good friends.

How good a steward are you?

Friendship: The Great Steward Principle

This guy is in a pretty good situation. Two good friends. Five friends at a social group he attends that he gets along well with and enjoys their company. There are 8 remaining friends who he’s around now and then but they’re mostly acquaintances. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who think he’s in an enviable position.

Do you have anything to add to “Friendship: The Great Steward Principle?”

 
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