Friendships That Grind Us

Friends are one of the greatest gifts life brings our way, and without friends we would have a very lonely existence. There are many reasons why we are given friends, but I believe one of the main reasons is to polish us. All of us six billion people here on earth are one big family whether we like it, or not. Our roots go back to the first two people on earth, Adam and Eve. Since we are family, we have the responsibility to encourage, motivate, and correct our friends. This process is known as grinding, and it hurts sometimes.

The Greek word for family means ‘to grind,’ and it’s through grinding that we become a polished gem, without any flaws or burrs. For some people this process may never happen because of hurts that hinder us from trusting others in our lives. We cut people off out of fear of being hurt any more. Let’s look at this in more detail:

When a friend says, or does  something we don’t like we have several options:

1) We can take it as an opportunity to learn from the experience.

2) We can examine ourselves to see if there was anything we did wrong to create the situation, and if we did, be willing to make amends.

3) If we feel the person has hurt us by what they have said and done, then that leaves us with a few options as well:

a) We can forgive them.

b) We can set boundaries with them.

c) We can choose to distance ourselves from them, or limit the time we spend with them.

d) We can cut them off.

I believe cutting a person off is a very drastic measure to take, but if we are continually being abused by another person there may be no other way to deal with the situation. Keep in mind that if we cut someone off, and  they contact us to say they have repented of their behavior, then we should be willing to accept them at a distance. By that I mean test them to see if they have sincerely repented of their behavior. If they have, then we have our friend back; if they haven’t then we may need to continue to keep them out of our lives. Remember although they have hurt us, they may genuinely care about us, but don’t know how to show it. By cutting them off, especially without an explanation, it may hurt them very deeply. Use care before you decide to take this step.

Boundaries are a helpful way of dealing with negative behavior from our friends. They enable us to set limits on what we deem as acceptable, or unacceptable behavior. When the boundaries are crossed we have to deal with it, nip it in the bud, before it festers inside us, and becomes a resentment. If a person continually over-steps our boundaries then we may have to look at more drastic measures which may include cutting them off.

The principles described here all contribute to the process of ‘grinding.’ An argument, or disagreement is a good opportunity to clear the air, and express that which is unpleasing to us from the other person. It’s a two way street; what we expect from our friends has to be tempered with what they expect from us. This is a two sided way of interaction with our friends, and the process is known as giving, and taking. If our relationships are only one sided then we have to address the situation with the other person, if they listen we have won our friend back, but if they don’t listen, then measures must be taken to protect ourselves. Disagreements, arguments, boundaries, and correction are all tools of grinding. If we use the tools correctly we will have greater peace and happiness. *Adapted from The Hurting Person’s Guide to a Happy Life, by Paul Moore.


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