An Unorthodox Way To Be A Good Friend: When It's Just As Important to Receive As It Is To Give
Being a good friend requires more than giving, it also requires receiving. It may seem obvious that we need to give in friendship, but what if you are on the receiving side? Giving falls flat when it is not received.
There are countless verses in the Bible that speak to giving and generosity (Matthew 10:42, Luke 6:38, Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:16 etc) , however, there is another side to the coin that is often neglected. When I speak of receiving, I am not talking about being selfish, entitled, or ungracious, this is receiving gone wrong and should be avoided. I am talking about Christ-like receiving. Yes, Jesus himself, God with us, received from others too. He allowed John to baptize Him because, “It should be done,” to fulfill God’s plan (Matthew 3:15). He received Mary’s oil offering calling it a “beautiful thing,” (Mark 14:6). Being God, Jesus didn’t need anything from the people who gave to Him, however, He was always purposeful in what he allowed so there must be some wisdom in Him receiving from others.
On one hand, the giver is blessed by the receiving. There is satisfaction and a joy that occurs when a gift is received, especially by someone for whom you have so much gratitude and love towards. On the other hand, the receiver gains the experience of love, appreciation, and needs met. Words only go so far but when we allow ourselves to receive we open ourselves up to experience the truth and depth of someone’s care for us. Let us not deprive one another from these blessings.
I personally know how hard it is to put down the role of giving when you find yourself being defined by helping people. But it is just that, it is a role, it is not all of who you are. You need more than to give to other people, you need to be filled up. The fact of the matter is that if you don’t have both giving and receiving in a friendship is not a friendship. It is a caregiving relationship or at best a mentorship. A true friendship is one where there is mutuality, reciprocity, and a sense of safety to be your full and limited human self. A true friendship is what we all deserve.
Dr. Aundrea is a clinical psychologist and owner of Take Heart Counseling (www.takeheartcounseling.org). Her mission is to help people navigate life changes and relationship challenges so they can thrive. She offers psychotherapy, psychological education through public speaking and social media (@TheWestCoastPsychologist), and pastoral and organizational consultation. Prior to full-time private practice, Dr. Aundrea served as Associate Director of Clinical Training and Assistant Professor at George Fox University. She taught the first year clinical foundations course and coordinated/managed the practicum assignments for the students. Before moving to Oregon, Dr. Aundrea served as an adjunct professor and staff psychologist at Biola University, where she taught both undergraduate and graduate level courses and supervised first-year and advanced practicum students at the university’s counseling center.
Dr. Aundrea completed her internship and residency at The Guidance Center in Long Beach, California, providing individual and family therapy to children, adolescents and their family members. She earned her Doctor of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology in 2016, from Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University and has been licensed since 2017.