Thoughts on Friendship // Christopher Green

Monday, October 30, 2017

Christopher is here today to tell us about him and his best friend of 16 years, Tyler. If you all haven't had a close friend like this for a while, listen up! There's a lot of good advice here. Also, don't forget to check out Christopher's blog here and give it a big thumbs up!

My best friend Tyler and I recently were sending a flurry of text messages to each other on our lunch break, which is somewhat of a tradition for us. During the course of our conversation it dawned on us that he and I have been friends for at least 16 years.

We've been through a lot together; the death of a grandfather for each of us, multiple moves to different provinces, crises of faith, and so many good times. Ah good times.

You may know Tyler and me personally, and are smiling as you think of when you've shared some of these good times too. Maybe you don't know us though, and maybe you haven't experienced many good times yourself. Maybe having your own friend for 16 years, and counting, sounds like a dream to you. Some of you may have not even been alive for 16 years yet. Whatever scenario you find yourself in, Tyler and I are going to offer some thoughts and suggestions from our experiences, so here we go!

To Have Friends, You Have to Be One.

When Tyler and I first met, we were 9 years old and sitting in a class room at AWANA. As I remember it, during a class at AWANA I was sitting with my then-friend Luke. Luke had to leave for the washroom. I noticed Tyler sitting on the opposite side of the table by himself. So I decided to go talk to him, and ask him to sit with me. When my friend Luke came back he was surprised to see another dude with us, fortunately it didn't bother him though. We all became fast friends, colouring in our AWANA hand books, giving eye lashes to a certain male character on every illustration. We were entertained by simple things I guess. When you're 9 you don't have many prerequisites for friendship, you just say something like, “Hey you're a kid, eh? Me too. Cool, let's be friends!”

Ironically I probably haven't seen Luke in at least 12 years, and that's an entirely different story, but Tyler and I have stayed strong friends, and grow in that friendship daily. The lesson here is, if you want a friend, go be one. In a realistic social context, find someone who looks like they could use a friend, and ask them to do something with you. And let's face it, everyone needs a friend, God designed us for community.

Stay In Touch. Distance is only a problem if you make it one.

2007 was a huge year in both Tyler's life and mine. I started my first blog, and attended a new church, and Tyler moved away from Ontario to Newfoundland. This was a real test to our friendship. I found myself praying a lot at that time, and learning about prayer. Praying God would keep Tyler in Ontario, and eventually praying that God would help us through this and keep us close. God came through on that.

We've discovered it's a small world, to borrow a cliché. Distance isn't so huge when you make an effort.

Tyler and I would write emails, call each other on the phone, and eventually write texts and do video calls to each other regularly. This kept the lines of communication open, and honestly I think our friendship has grown more in the time he's been away, than it had when he was still here in Ontario. There are many free and easy ways to stay in touch, use them, and use them regularly. If your friendships matters to you, put that effort in, it's worth it.

Inside Jokes Carry Memories Forward.

Ah inside jokes. Tyler, where would we be without inside jokes? So dude many dude good dude times dude!

Most of this section so far probably sounds like nonsense to the average reader, but it was using an inside joke that mostly only Tyler and I understand. Remember those jokes between you and your buddies, they can do more for bonding than you know, dude.

Common interests help.

Having common interests can really help your friendships as well. Tyler and I both used to create comics. A big part of why I started making my comics, was from watching Tyler make his, and reading his completed works. In fact we created some together. We never made any millions of dollars on them, but it was something fun that we both shared an interest in. This really helped us have something to do when we were together.

But You Don't Have to Have Common Interests.

Now that our friendship has matured, even our differences in interests are a subject for our connection. Tyler dove headfirst into animation and I got into sound design. Two different disciplines, that are just similar enough, that we can relate over the subjects. They are also different enough that it never gets boring, and we each have a respect for each others craft. Speaking of differences...

Different Opinions Are What Keeps You Together, not What Divides You.

Think about it, the whole reason you have friends is to get something different than just you sitting by yourself.

Audio people, what happens when you have two exact copies of a sound at the same time? It just sounds the same, except louder and more distorted. Have you ever heard a “duet” where both people sing the exact same melody? It sounds pretty dull at best. But have you heard two singers harmonize? The beauty of that sound is unrivalled in music. It's the same with friends. You want those differences. If you don't, then you have to admit that you really don't want friends, you want clones, and then I think you and God need to have a discussion about your pride.

Tyler and I have never had an argument. Never. Not in 16 years. And Lord willing we won't ever have one, ha ha! I think this is largely because we hold the same core principles and beliefs, and for anything past that which is different, we respect it with a curiosity. I have never found his preferences bad, just different, and interesting. I think this goes a long way. When you are invested in knowing the person, and you know you are safe within the common core principles, you are eager to learn about their differences from your opinions and preferences. Knowing they have these differences makes for a more interesting friendship and gives you assurance they will be able to give you a second perspective on something you ask them about, instead of them just parroting your views. Now, Tyler and I do agree on most things, so we echo each others views in many things, but it's that margin of difference that makes all the difference, pun fully intended.

Does my opinion on a specific issue matter?

When an argument or difference arises, there is something else we've learned. If it matters to me, and is important to me, does it need to matter to someone else? I think often we want our preferences validated by hearing them come out of other people's mouths.

Ultimately not everything that matters to me needs to matter to other people, and that's a-OK. To be clear, I'm not talking about absolute truths about God, I'm talking about when I overstate my opinions on processed cheese, or fringe political matters, or my disliking raisins. I can dislike raisins, I can have a preference, that's how it works. But so can everyone else. In a strong friendship, like Tyler's and mine, I can be OK with him not having the same preferences as me, and I don't have to try and validate my preferences by trying to make him have the same preferences. We can both be comfortable with each others preferences on side issues, without having to make each other agree.

Put the Other Person first.

Always put the health of the friendship first even above your own personal interests. But don't demand the other person do the same for you. It's something given, and good friends will do that mutually.

Realize that you won't always be overly excited to see your friend, and that's not the goal either. Don't Fake a Smile.

Good friendships are realized when your friend can walk into the room and you feel like nothing has changed, because they are just a natural part of your environment. Sometimes we get a sense about certain people in our lives whenever they come into a room. We can either feel anxiety before they even speak, or overwhelming excitement. I would suggest that, as Tyler and I have found, neither are the marker of good friendships.

Being excited to see that person sounds ideal, but what is even better is being able to fit with that person so well you feel like they just fit in your space without disturbing the flow (just enhancing it). Tyler and I certainly are excited when we get to hang out, but it's a more of a calm, mature, excitement, which shows itself in different ways. Most of all, we've become a part of each others space in such a natural way, that nothing feels like it changes in our environment when either of us enters into it. Despite being hard to describe, this phenomenon is a rare, but a very good thing in a friendship.

Say It Enough.

Tell your friend how much you appreciate him and your friendship together. It doesn't matter if you are two men, talk about it and make sure they know you care about him. Tyler has done this on many occasions. Never assume “they know what they mean to me”. Let them know! These reminders never get old, and they often come just in time when you need to know that someone has your back.

Tyler, you saw this coming.

Tyler, thank you so much for being my friend for so many years. You're a cool guy, with a calm collected composure, who upholds the value of prayer and Scripture, and holds me to account in grace, Christ-like love, and listens to me with patience and interest. If only you were handsome as I am, then we'd be exactly alike! Just kidding ha ha. Thanks for being my friend for 16 years and beyond! Here's to the rest of our lives, and eternity too! God bless you my friend!

How many of you have a buddy like this?

Christopher is a young man who lives and breathes because Jesus saved his soul and God the Father allows him to walk on the world He created. He is part of a solid Christian family who has been called by God as one unit with various streams into the media industry for His glory, through their family-run studio, GreenStreams Studio. He produces the audio comedy The Jimmy, Sam & Tommy Show and the Christian mystery audio drama, Shadows & Daylight. He is also the Project Manager for The Ceiling Fan Podcast, which is produced by KMap Studios, and the Multimedia Producer for The Standard Newspaper and a sound designer with Verses in Vox which is run by Porchlight Family Media.

If you'd like to find out more about Christopher check out this page.

Thank you Christopher for sharing about you and Tyler's friendship! And let us know in the comments if you've ever had a friend like this. :)

This post was originally posted on Christopher's blog. Check out this post on Christopher's blog here.

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