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Cycles of broken friendship

All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.

Battlestar Galactica

Friendships have been a real struggle for barlow_girl and me, and my previous history is littered with broken and abandoned remnants as well. We've had the standard Goldilocks-style difficulties: too much, not enough, and so on. Beyond that, though, friendships just seem to wear out and wear us out. Having responsibilities within the church is sometimes part of the dynamic—leadership and friendship often have incompatibilities in how people relate to us, and even when we try to steer around it, we wind up in an uncomfortable bog. At worst, we're held responsible for others' expectations (of the church and even the world rather than of us as people) but aren't allowed to have any expectations of others whatsoever. It sucks.

We want friends who get us, who show up because they want to, who extend us grace, and who we can count on. And we're blessed to have parts of that in a few places. We also know lots of people appreciate us, but whatever they happen to want almost always trumps that—we're often not considered as people when push comes to shove. I've seen leaders get burnt by friendships and respond by not serving anyone, withdrawing to tiny islands of self-involvement, and that's a steaming pile of gospel-denying crap. But I understand the temptation.

We love our friends, but we're tired of cycle of things breaking, over and over. I'm so thankful for what we do have, but I'm scared of putting any weight on it at all anymore.


Hey, I’m just a random reader.
Hope you don’t mind, I love your writing!
All the best <3
I hear you.
Comes with the territory, I'm sure. Good to know we aren't alone.
No, it just FEELS that way.

I'm sorry it's like this for you guys :(
The two of you are some of the best people I know.
Aw, thank you! We should just move into your Green Lake house and you can decorate it with notes of how cool we are. ;)
For 2400.00 a month, it's yours!
I totally hear this.
While my husband and I aren't actually Leadership in a church we still have these confusing friendship dynamics that we don't feel good about but don't know how to change.
For us it's hard to figure out this married with friends thing.

Anyway. I have nothing helpful to add but understanding :)
I agree- I think the marriage part by necessity makes friendships more difficult. That, and having grown-up responsibilities and time commitments and whatnot. It's hard :/ I don't have any solutions, either, just empathy.
The empathy is much appreciated, and the lack of solutions is actually comforting—we'd feel pretty dumb if there was a magic bullet and we just didn't know about it! We know we're pretty blessed; it's just frustrating to hit what feels like the same cycle over and over again.
So, I'm reading Dumbing Us Down, by John Gatto, and he talks about how people have become accustomed to living in "networks" instead of community. I wonder how much of the conflict you run into is partly based on people living by network rules instead of real community.
That's really interesting—I wonder if we're approaching some things with network rules as well. May need to add that book to the reading list!
It was really eye-opening for me! Largely in terms of how I experienced high school and how that effected so many other things. Things make sense now that I never could understand before.

Also, I understand now why people act like such idiots--with the materialism and the gossip-mindedness, the obsession with celebrity and talking on the phone while driving--I get it now, and it's really even sadder than I knew.
I've felt that too recently. Being in therapy helps so much, and also the book Safe People has really been good to help me know that it's okay to have needs and to not have relationships with people who won't respect them. It's counter-intuitive to me so I'm trying to relearn that in therapy. It's a struggle.
Making good choices about intimacy is so important. The fact that there's risk in relationship is true for all people. Working for the church (or even as any part of it, I think), however, I'm pushed into relationships that are sometimes different than what I'd otherwise choose, and so is Amy. So, while we don't have to (and shouldn't) let everyone "in" indiscriminately, there's a level at which we have to be generally open and accessible to others, and even from that distance we can be wounded.

Also, we're held responsible in smaller and larger ways for a whole bunch of stuff by almost everyone we know—whether it's just our jobs or people's larger attitudes toward authority, the church, God, etc. But if we hold anyone else responsible for anything (in relation to us, to the church, or whatever), it often gets dicey fast. So we almost never get to just hang out, and it's really hard to find a two-way street in relationships. In so many cases, people get what they want (or don't) and go on about their lives.

Lots of that won't change on this side of heaven, so the choices we can make about intimacy and relationships are so crucial. I totally agree.

I tend to

I tend to know that I am not the all important one in everyone's lives. I try to do the come in when I think I'm needed and fade away. If someone doesn't contact me, I am not offended as well, hey, I'm not needed at the time. Once in a while I will need someone, and I call...but that's rare. I'm not in ministry though, so I am not approached like you would be. Just remember there are people out there who do understand that people need time off from friendship. I hope you can get breaks when you need it...
If we all lived in the same town I'd hang out with you . . . and bring up things like . . . you missing organs.

I'd do it in love, though.

If that happened, our relationship might be hindered by my need to ignore you.
Oh, that would be problematic.

I had hoped having not brought it up for so long I'd built up a system of merits allowing for mentioning of the missing organs.

I was wrong.
Maybe your merits would have been stored by my gall bladder, which results in your being SOL.
So THAT's what the gall bladder is for.

My mistake.

I'll make no mention of it again.