Worth More Than a Secret

By Liv Dooley

Are secrets really the best thing about our friendships? That’s what the world would make us think…but I’m not so sure. It’s true, we want our friendships to be trustworthy. We want to know that when we tell our friends something confidential, they’ll keep it to themselves. We want to enjoy the secret handshakes, secret jokes, and secret memories. But what happens when the friendship is a secret?

It’s not a mystery that I had a few issues and a whole lot of drama among my friendships when I was growing up. I haven’t kept that from you. Have a question? Just ask, and I will spill all the tea. However, I always thought that those issues would just go away and it would get easier to find friends when I got older. It didn’t. It doesn’t.

We have to work at our friendships to make them work.

We have to celebrate our friends in order for our friendships to be something worth celebrating. We have to commit to the growth if we want our friendships to grow with us, and that means we have to be open about where we are and what we need.

When I was a teenager, I had a couple of friendships that were secretive. The girls (and even a guy or two) never had a problem speaking to me, when we were by ourselves. They celebrated me, encouraged me, and helped me-when we were by ourselves. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that when we saw each other in public, they hid the fact that we were really friends. They acted as if they were ashamed of me or confused about why I was talking to them. They went out of their way to prove that we weren’t really that close, and it left me confused and hurt.

Little sis, can I tell you that you are worth more than a secret friendship? You are cool enough, special enough, smart enough, creative enough, pretty enough, and fun enough to have friendships that honor and celebrate you openly-in front of other people, on social media, and in your schools and extracurriculars! You are enough.

I hope you find your tribe because when you do, it will be worth it.

How will you know you’ve found a good friend? You’ll know when they show you that they are willing to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly in front of others and that they are committed to help you become the person God designed you to be-in spite of all that.

What will a good friendship look like? It will be reciprocal (that’s a big, fancy word to say that they’ll return your invitations to open up and grow together). They’ll reach out just as much as you do. They’ll invite you to hang out, attend special events, and make visits, too. They’ll encourage you as often as you encourage them. They will show you that they are in your corner like you should show them you are in theirs.

What will a good friendship feel like? It will feel uncomfortable sometimes because they’ll challenge you to grow. However, it will feel more rewarding and fun that it does dramatic and dreadful. It will help you make good memories that honor Jesus and lead you to look back on your memories with joy instead of regret.

What’s not a good friendship? A good friendship is not always going to support everything you do, be at everything you invite them to, like every post you share, talk to you whenever you need them, or know everything you need. Why? Because a good friendship is one that incorporates boundaries. A good friend is one whom you enjoy confiding in and spending time with because you have lives outside of each other, and the times are special when you get together. A good friend is one who will pray for you when you’re wrong or feeling down, celebrate you when you’ve done something amazing, and enjoy making simple memories with you without always doing it for the ‘Gram.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to answer your questions about friendships so drop ’em below, email me, text ’em over, or just ask. Friendship has not always been easy, but (I think that’s another myth we fall into) I’ve learned how to develop them, and I want the same for you. Let’s grow together!

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