This is my final post in my series on friendships. I hope that you have discovered some realities about your friendships and I hope that you have been able to self-evaluate how you are with your friends. In any case, dealing with relationships of any nature is difficult and it takes a lot of work, If we are not willing to put in the work, we will find it difficult to actually nurture meaningful attachments in our lives whether it’s a romantic relationship or a a friendship. This final post discusses what I feel is the most difficult part of friendships. It has plagued me on more than one occasion and it is the thing I fear the most in friendships, discovering you are their Plan B. What does that mean? Well, I have experienced on more that one occasion where I have developed a friendship and I truly believe that the person and I are developing a tight bond. They are someone I can go to and talk through my issues, they are the person I want to talk to most, and I would rather spend time with them more than anybody else. I feel this way because I have found someone that I believe I have connected with and that I believe has connected with me. Then I noticed that I am not the person they go to when they want to hang out. I realize that they are not confiding in me like I am in them. The painful reality sets in that we were never close. In fact, they meant far more to me than I did to them. I was Plan B. I was the person they came to when no one else was around. I was the person they went and did things with when they didn’t have anything better to do. I was their backup (hence Plan “B”).
I’m not saying that every situation like this is done with malicious intent on the part of the other person, but whether its a person using you or someone who never saw you as anything more than an acquaintance, it still hurts just the same. I have mentioned a couple of times that there is a reason we don’t have many people we consider close. It’s because we are not capable of pouring that much of ourselves into a large number of people and the friendship still be meaningful- it is simply too emotionally draining. So the real question we must answer is “What do we do when discover we are plan B?” The answer to this question is not easy. The primary thing you need to understand is that it will likely happen to you at some time, simply because of maturity and the process of growing apart from someone. The second thing is you need to understand that not everyone in your life does this intentionally. Sometimes you see more to the relationship than they ever saw. While all of that is well and good, like I said before, it doesn’t hurt any less when it happens. I have been advised to just walk away and just leave them. I have been told that I care too much. That’s easier said than done because caring less and surrender are not in my nature. You may be saying, “Keith, it sounds you are saying- prepare to be hurt.” In fact that is exactly what I am saying. All of the people that I have experienced this with, I didn’t love any less than I did before. I had to come to grips that they didn’t feel the same about me. I never said that dealing with these friendship issues would always have a happy ending- the reality is sometimes you get hurt. Now, I will tell you that you shouldn’t intentionally be someone’s Plan B if they are using you. That in itself signifies they were never truly your friend. However, I take my lead from this through Christ. He was and is the epitome of being people’s Plan B. People go to church, pray to Him, and do the “Christian” thing when it is convenient to them. Many seek Christ during times of dire need and trouble. We have made Christ embody the idea of becoming our Plan B. Yet, He remains with us, by our side, picking us up when we are down.
When I first thought about this article, I began thinking how to tell you to avoid being someone’s plan B, but even as I write this, God is reminding me what His Son had to bear to save us, only to become Plan B for those He died for. I’m not sure what the answer is for you. I only know that God is calling me to be there for those people, even if that means I am Plan B. I know that I will love them unconditionally. I will be there and I will serve them however I can. I encourage you to do the same. You never know when you will be someone’s safety net and perhaps they will discover how much God has blessed their life, when He blessed them with you.
A final note, however: If you are one of those who have friends that are your plan B, remember this: You will never know how important someone is to you, until they are no longer a part of your life. Don’t let the ones who truly love you go- you need them more than you know.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach