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The Great Friendship Challenge

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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October 22, 2013

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The Great Friendship Challenge That Presents Itself to Many in LIfe

For those of you who are frustrated with or have given up your search for good friends I am well acquainted with your dilemma and the great friendship challenge that can seem insurmountable at times. During Project Fellowship I took a great deal of initiative with people and it only confirmed what I already knew. It’s a cotton-candy world mostly filled with shallow, short-term friendships that are very much dependent on one’s initiative to keep them alive.

Here I wish to crystallize the great challenge many of us face. There are a few reasons for this. The first is I want people who have struggled in this particular area of their life to know that we are on the same page. The second it’s important to come to grips with the challenge and look at it differently. The third is we can use these depressing facts and experiences to ground ourselves to reality, change our perspective and not only come to terms with it but to effect greater change within the social framework of our world.

Friendship Bubbles That Burst

I sometimes felt a little bit foolish during the first phase of Project Fellowship. Like a child in a park frantically and futilely running around trying to stop bubbles from bursting. Is it not, however, in the nature of a bubble to burst? Despite all the good things we equate with friendship there are certain other things inherent within it that prove quite the challenge. I’m sure we can all think of friendships that were transient, limited, underwhelming, flawed, and only existed within a certain boundary.

The Vast Majority of People are Just Passing Through

The vast majority of people are just passing through our lives and they couldn’t care less if they were in your life or not. You give out your name card to so many people but like confetti at a wedding nearly everyone of them ends up in the rubbish bin. There is a chronic lack of initiative. Apathy, carelessness and indifference abound. Obstacles are everywhere.

The Law of Dispersion works against you relentlessly. Friendships that you were initially happy and excited about fizzle out. You can spend months with people regularly meeting up to play squash or some other activity but when you stop they behave like they don’t know you anymore. Even people who genuinely seem to be open to a friendship and encourage it again and again may be hopeless at taking the initiative with you.

Some people who lack any personal magnetism whatsoever will find it much harder to come up with the good group of friends they seek. They might have a strong bias in their life to friendlessness. They will also probably have a problem with comparative disinterest. That means they will often see people in their circle gravitate to others for closer friendships and seldom have people really show interest in them.

As if the challenge wasn’t great enough having good friends is not necessarily nirvana either. Some of your good friends may have attitudes, habits and issues that may trouble you and possibly make you decide to have nothing more to do with them. In the lives of others a shift may occur resulting in you seeing a lot less of them. Project Fellowship is my great counterweight to all this.

Who will shake my hand with the same warmth and enthusiasm that I shake theirs with? Who will seek me out because they desire my company as much as I desire theirs? Few. My greatest nemesis is oblivion in the hearts and minds of others. The truth is most people are incapable of being my good friend or yours and many friends become strangers.

Life’s High Jump and the Bar of Friendship

Are all these kind of things bothering you? Here is one of the keys of dealing with this problem.  You need to impersonalize it. This requires a kind of alchemy. Put out your hand and in your minds’ eye see all these kind of things I’ve mentioned crystalize into a long bar. Then put it on two imaginary upright poles. Yes, we are talking a kind of mental high jump. Coming to grasp with the way the world is enables us to truly see how high the bar is. It does help to know how high the bar is, right?

Before Project Fellowship I made an effort to befriend a number of people and was sorely disappointed at the outcome. Not realizing how high the bar truly was to achieve my goal I ended up decapitating myself when I tried to jump over where I thought it was. The amount of people I befriended and the scale I was doing it on just wasn’t enough to come up with the kind of friends I wanted. Grasping the great challenge and therefore the height of the bar is important. Now when I approach the bar I increase my effort, draw on my knowledge and social experience  and put a number of strategies at work to get me over it.

In all fairness, it took me years to stumble across this change in perspective. You may need to come across certain realizations and experiences before you’re able to make the shift. Two things that helped me achieve this were obstinate persistence and the 30 circle. They grounded me to reality and made me realize that these problems are understandable, normal and for the most part not to be taken personally. In other words, you can come to terms with it.

The Funny High Jumper

Wouldn’t it look funny if a high jumper ran up to the bar and whinged and whined about how high it was, that it was too windy and that other jumpers had an unfair advantage cause they had longer legs and were taller?

For those of you who have been well aware of the great challenge in your life and have successfully navigated it do you have any thoughts to share with us? If this is your first time to post at Project Fellowship please check out the terms of this site. Thanks.

* The 30 circle was the minimum amount of friends I had. If friends left my circle I had to replace them with new people.
 
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