5 Signs of A Rock Solid Friendship, Part I
The Art of Relationships Podcast - May 31, 2023
Mandy: Welcome to another art of relationships podcast. We are grateful for our listeners like you. Let's get right into it.
Chris: Well, it's good to be back with another podcast episode and thank you to Mandy Cato for that great introduction
Alisa: And thank you to our producer, Ashlee Kyser. She also happens to be our communication coordinator, and a brand new Biola University graduate. Congratulations to you.
Chris: Absolutely, way to go Ashlee. All right. Hey, Lisa, the fun thing that we get to do on a podcast like this is to be able to talk about things related to relationships, and one that always comes up is the area of intimacy, closeness, whether it's emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, or physical intimacy.
All of these ways that we connect with other people are so important. And they start obviously, from the day we're born, obviously, even before we're born, there's an intimacy there between baby and mom. But at least when you come out, you start, you know, growing in this world, healthy adults are made with the emotionally healthy, intimate, you know, social, intimate childhoods, right?
I mean, when you have the ability to be close to somebody, there's a lot there that is involved in that. And I think in all relationships, one of the things we have to be able to do is figure out.
Okay, if I'm struggling in my relationships, because I don't want to, I have a hard time being vulnerable, or I don't ever feel safe, or one of the things that we've uncovered and talked about a lot here, at least, is that idea of what does it mean to be intimate with somebody? What are the characteristics, for example of an emotionally intimate relationship? What do you think you're talking about that today?
Yeah, I love that. And I think one of the things that comes to mind when I think of that kind of emotional intimacy, the word that comes to mind, for me is friendship, friendship, a deep and abiding emotional connection, that, you know, that starts with a friendship, even if we're talking about marital emotional intimacy, that starts with a really deep abiding friendship.
That's, that's so true. Almost every research you look at whether it's John Gottman, who's you know, who will say that, or, you know, researchers or psychologist David Myers, anybody in this field says that, but you know, what's funny, too, is it starts earlier on even in the Bible, right? I mean, Jesus, of all things says, No longer do I call you servants. But I have called you friends. And that, to me, is amazing.
Well, it is to, it's so amazing, because it really does set the stage for all of psychology, all of communication, all of sociology, all of education. This notion that there's something deeper about our friendships that sometimes we don't recognize, definitely. And I think, especially when you get to that part about Jesus, and that verse from John, when he says, I'm not calling you servants anymore, I'm calling you friends. That is really amazing. Because when you think back to the Old Testament, there were really only two people that God ever referred to as his friends. You remember the think, as far listeners, do you remember who that is? Well, first of all, you refer to Abraham, as his friend.
And he also referred to Moses, yes, yeah, yes.
He appeared to Moses and said, he talked with him face to face as you would with a friend. And so when Jesus says this in the New Testament, and John, when he says, I don't call you servants, but I've called you friends. That's the first time we've read in Scripture, about friendship with God in Jesus's offering.
I mean, when you think about he, he's the creator of the universe, the omnipotent Creator of the universe, is using such a stunningly familiar and intimate, offering a friendship with him. You and I both looked at this one time, the difference between a friendship and even a sermon what Jesus was doing, radically altered the dynamics at that moment.
I mean, not only was he ultimately, you know, found to be the Savior, the King, the LORD, people at the time thought, well, who is this man? He's a great prophet. But that moment, I would imagine, freaked everybody out because I mean, a servant was always thought of all year to be walking with God or to be anything.
I mean, the servant term wasn't just about slavery. And it wasn't, it was just about, they use that towards servants. And so at least there's a big difference when he said, Servant, no longer friend. Now, what about that difference?
Yeah, by the way, that scriptural references John 15:12-16.
And so when you think about the difference between how God or how we would see a servant versus a friend, and think about how God sees us, he said, he just said, I no longer see you as a servant, I see you as a friend. So a servant would be unnoticed. Whereas a friend in John 14, seven we would say is known. A servant is invisible, versus a friend is enjoyed. And we think about Zephaniah 317 horses, God exalts over us with singing, he enjoys us, and then a servant is tolerated, versus a friend is really treasured. And then a servant is replaceable, versus a friend is be loved. And we think of First John three, one, without one on a servant would be fearful maybe. Whereas a friend is favored Ephesians 210, a servant is controlled, versus a friend is appreciated.
And then a servant is obligated they have to do their job right versus a friend that is really valued, really valued at a servant is judged and evaluated. Were a friend we know in Romans five, eight, a friend is accepted.
Yeah, well, gosh, just thinking through that list the the profound transformative change that occurred when the King of the universe referred to us as his friends. But that means we're known like you said, enjoy, treasured, be loved, favored, appreciated value, except, and so let's tie this in to relationships.
If, if that is the way the king views us, if that is the way we are now seen, as believers, right? No, think about when you're, let's say dating someone and you're getting to know them. You feel known. You feel enjoyed, you feel treasured, and beloved, and favored, that they're looking out for you why you like them? Yeah, you feel appreciated, you feel laughed with and you feel together? Well, that's how all relationships probably progressed to the point of marriage is right, I continue to fill these things from this other person. And, and, and I guess, right there, we have the perfect recipe for what a friend is. It's all these things. So I guess the one question is least as as people move into serious relationships, and conflict happens, they begin to some of those began to erode a little bit.
Right? I mean, in in bad marriage relationships, we began to see people feeling I just feel unknown. I feel invisible. Now, I feel like they they, you know, they're controlling me, you know, or I feel judged all the time. Well, you can see those are just the opposite. Yeah, what a friend is. So we really ought to explore this idea, friendship, and emotional intimacy kind of together, because all of these things to feel favored and enjoy, are tapping into that deep need of being known.
That's right. And I think the risk that we run, Chris, is that the longer we're married, you know, at the beginning of our marriage, we're in that honeymoon phase, right?
There's a lot of idealism, a lot of relational relation, no capital that we bring. That's, that's good into the marriage as we're starting. But over time, life happens, right? You get busy, you're working, maybe you're doing school, you start having kids, you're doing all your kids activities, and really you you, you begin to neglect to pay attention to your marriage relationship, that friendship that you used to do so well.
Yeah. So I think we've got to stop that at some point and ask ourselves, what keeps me from seeing my spouse as my friend? Yeah. And I wonder lease, the, you know, just the time I went out and, you know, happened to buy a new car or whatever it was, without telling you that doesn't mean I should feel invisible or judged. Holy cow.
I mean, friends, ask permission from their spouse. I know you've never done that.
But you know, all of a sudden, you know, there's these moments in marriage really like I'm so mad. I know, they are so mean, you know, and you and you feel these things, and you're not gonna remember, you know, the first time you and I, you know, had, you know, conflict, you know, we, we didn't have a whole lot of time together.
So marriage was this awesome, you know, togetherness. But to be honest, those first conflicts kind of made you question a little bit like, you know, I see you crying and you're upset that I, you know, was working, and when I think you came home, and I didn't hug you as much as you were used to?
Well, you know, I remember thinking, gosh, I just didn't hook you it's okay. But it made you. I mean, you were kind of fearful.
Unnoticed and felt a little invisible, invisible. Yeah. Or like, I wasn't, like, I didn't favor you, like I used to. cause fear.
And, and, you know, whether it's real or not, it still kind of starts that moment where conflict can become, or start to erode that intimacy, you know, and again, then you we do dumb things, right?
There are times in which I'll say up, you know, an unkind word, you know, and you walk in, and I'm watching the Broncos in UCI, the Broncos stink this year. And I'm like, Lisa, that is so unkind of you inspiring words there. Just because we can't win a game doesn't mean we're bad. It just means the other team is really, really good.
I know. And you have to stop being so critical of the sports teams that are okay, but let's think about there are things that we say and do so I you know, I remember that quote, not only did Jesus say you know, love one another's, I have loved you, right?
No longer do I call you servants, but I've called you've got, you know, it says, In fact, it goes on the servant doesn't know what the Master does. But I have called, he says, I have called you friends for all that I've heard from my father, I've made no to you. So this was not just Jesus saying this. He of course, Jesus is God and his father, but he is taking his authority saying, all that I've heard from my father was this next statement?
In other words, wow, we are his friend, we can come to the Father through Jesus.
Now, you know, I remember CS Lewis talked about a really cool quote, you know, he says, friendship or companionship is responsible for nine tenths of what ever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives. You remember that? And then he gave on? Yeah. Then he talked about what does friendship means he doesn't expect too much. You know, it turns a blind eye to faults, it revives, you know, after very easily after quarrels. So he began to give a list and and Lewis said, that's the response. That's what happiness is, right? All of our happiness is due to good intimacy and friendships. Guy, girl, girl, girl, you know, whatever that friendship is, whether it's, you know, husband, wife, or any of that. So, Lisa, all research that we have found in the field of psychology also begins to show that there is a real importance to this idea of friendship, emotional intimacy, let's dive into it. I know that's a big introduction. But we're going to introduce a couple of concepts. There was one that they studied, what makes for the happiest relationships, right? And they said, okay, there were seven overall factors. When they did their research, when they looked at couples, this was what they said, created the best friendships that the happiest, or the best relationships.
Then they found out gosh, we can even narrowed this down to five and still predict on the basis of how you score on these five factors. We can predict a good friendship. What do you think? Should we go over though? Definitely. Alright. Least why don't you start as to the, what we call the five signs of relational friendship that predict the happiest relationships? What are those keys?
Remember, we're going back and using Jesus as our model in the friendship with God friendship with Jesus as our model for our healthy relationships. And so the very first one that they came up with that they discovered was good friends frequently laugh together, new friends laugh together, what does that mean? Well, we look at God's God's ideal God's model for us. And it says in Zephaniah 3:17, we talked about that God delights in us, right.
Oh good friends. I just really enjoy being together. I love that, that idea of laughing together because if I think about anything that people say they why they like, Why do you like somebody? Is because they laugh at my jokes or we? Yeah, they think I'm funny. And if you ask anybody, you know, I would I can imagine there are some friends that they never laugh You know, they, you know they have, but for the most part, and I remember us just we can laugh and still to this day. Yes that we find something funny on YouTube and you come running into the room showing me these reels and is from Instagram. You know, this little see this this little baby, you know, that does this amazing look, or you find these just incredibly funny things. And I hear you laughing in the room. You come back and you want to share it. Why? Well, because you want me to laugh with you. And when you do that makes it so fun to share it with you.
Do you remember when our our youngest, Caroline is 20 years old? Now? Do you remember when she was like about seven? I don't know, seven, eight years old. And one time she came to she said, Mommy, I know what you and daddy do in the room at night when you go to bed.
My eyes got like saucers I you know, it's like what is about to come out of this kid's mouth? And I just said, Oh, really honey. So like, what do you hear? She says, I just hear you and daddy laughing because he's tickling you. Like you know, I'm like wiping the sweat off my brow. Okay, dodged the bullet there. But I thought How delightful that our kids can hear us in the house. And what they hear is us laughing together.
Yeah, join each other. And so I think if you look at your relationship, there's a lot of things to evaluate. And so if this is a sign number one, that good friends frequently laugh together, think about the inside jokes that you have or the way they make you feel comfortable, right? When you feel comfortable joking, is you know about being vulnerable. And, and it's not teasing. It could involve at some point, teasing, but mostly, it's about just finding situations funny, maybe it's a movie you always laugh at so you rewatch it I you know, I could think of all of the videos and all the things that were just so funny to the both of us.
You know, we had some friends over one time. And like, that wasn't very funny. And we're like, That's the funniest show. And then we went to a movie one time, our friends found very funny. I think it was dumb and dumber. And I just kept thinking I'm walking out this like, this is horrible. I loved that movie. I think there's movies like that today, you know, where you to hopefully find it funny.
And I think Lisa, that I did too is you this idea of every time we have a conversation with somebody we transfer, like or dislike they say, right? So there's every conversation, I like you, or I don't like you or really it's neutral. I guess if you're you know, in a store doing a transaction, but even doing a transaction on the store, you can tell, oh, they're having a bad day.
They don't either.
But we can interpret that as they don't like me, they're just mean and angry, we take it personal. And we can take a person and that's called the transfer of fat. Yeah, it's so quickly how we transfer effect, you see a kid and you smile at them. When you take something away, or cover their hands up. They're like, they look at you to go Wait, you're smiling. That means you like me, that means this is a game versus if you know, cover up their hands or take a toy from them and look me and they're going to be very almost frightened, because like what are you doing?
And you know, can I say I think one of the best ways that you do a positive transfer of aspect of this friendship and that one of the nonverbal ways you communicate to me regularly that you delight in me that you enjoy me and that we're friends, is when I walk into a room. It's like I walk into the room and your face lights up when you see me. It's like you stop what you're doing. You pay attention you smile, you wink at me, you just give me the gift of your attention. And I love that that makes me look forward to coming home to you that makes me look forward to you coming home. Because it makes me feel like you know what? He really does like me, you know that old Sally Fields and the Oscars if you remember that when she won the Oscar and she's like, You like me? You really like me? And I think that's how it makes me feel. So imagine what you're like, what it's like to come home to you.
If you're married if you have roommates, right actually imagine what it's like to come home to you when your roommates come in when your spouse comes in when your kids walk in the door, do you make an effort to really pay attention to smile to give positive engagement? Or do you, you know, start listing out the problems of the day that things you're unhappy with being negative. And so one of the ways that you can convey that friendship aspect of I delight in you is to be the kind of spouse the kind of friend the kind of roommate you would want to come home to.
That's really good. I love that.
Okay. And so, Chris, you want to? Yeah, I think the just with that, to at least think about friendship. Like, some people would say, my dog, my pet is my best friend. Okay, well, that's great. You know, it, or they're, they're like a friend. Yeah. But imagine walking in when your dog hasn't seen you would have? Did they get excited? Or your babies or kids? You know, I, you know, we walk in and kids like, oh, good to see you, you get excited, right? That right? There is that way in which we do that? Least I think we could spend a lot of time on how do you develop, you know, more deeper, you know, enjoyment and laughing together.
And, and so let's ask the opposite. Now, we have five different things that we're going to go over. And we'll probably do this in two podcasts because I want to really ask, you know, and dive in a little bit more to this one. What would be the opposite? Like, you know, that is?
What if all of a sudden your friendship, are there any bad signs related to number one, so we said, Sign number one, in a lot of research finds that good friends frequently laugh together, that a good marriage is going to be about enjoying each other than that company. So when you start to not feel that way, you had a friend one time, I remember that asked you a very important question. And I loved your answer. She said, My husband comes home. You know, we've been married. I don't I think at this time, it was four years. But I no longer if if he comes home first. Or if I come home, neither one of us anymore, get happy or excited to see the other person. And I loved your advice. I think you I remember you saying listen, what did you use to do? So what you were just talking about early? What did you used to do when you're first married? When they first came home? He said, Well, I would meet him at the door and hug him and say hi, I missed you said, Okay, we'll do that.
And I love that because there's a social psych principle that says, if you we behave because we feel something so it goes like this. I feel love, right? I have an attitude. And then I act lovingly towards you, right? So I go, Oh, I feel love for this person, I'm going to go and act like I love them. But mazing social psych research finds the opposite is also just as true, if not more so that we B our behavior leads us to a feeling. So think about that. That's kind of backwards. But it's one of the most documented social psych findings out there. In other words, what you told this woman to do was okay, behaved first, what did you use to do go to the door hug and kiss and say hi. And then the love that you use to fill the laughing? The seeing that they will follow? And she's like, but that doesn't feel right. That feels inauthentic. Yeah. But I loved that, that you did this, because here's what it would do. And here's I think what she found and is Lisa, she found that it was difficult the first day, right?
He comes in or she comes in and they you know, she goes up and hugs and greets and says hi she's like, but I didn't feel right. And he's looking at her like, what are you doing? You don't ever do this, but she stuck with it. And I encouraged her stick with it. Do it every day, for a month, everyday for a month you go and you greet him out the door, stop whatever you're doing, be excited. You know, maybe I don't know, maybe it was even just do it for a week. Try it see what happens. And what what she found is that the The longer she did this, the more often she did this, that he began to respond after a couple of days. And he began to get excited. And he began to to she she felt it that that it came back to her he began to reciprocate it so that that feeling for her was like oh my gosh, I'm starting to enjoy getting excited and seeing him he's getting excited seeing me and suddenly their whole ritual of greeting each other.
At the end of the day began to change, her heart changed, his heart changed. And the feelings came along after she put the behaviors in place. And it's even like the the principle of gratitude. what research has showed is that it's not that happy people are more grateful is that grateful people are happier, you do the actions, and then the feelings begin to follow.
Yeah. No, I love that. That's exactly right. I remember, you know, she was telling you this, you know, the first day was awkward. The second day was bad because she felt inauthentic, right, third or fourth day, she's like, well, you know, I just felt, I don't know, it's not as bad as I thought. By the fifth and sixth day, she said she heard the door, heard the car, heard the door slam. And all of a sudden, she felt her heart like, Oh, he's home. And all of a sudden, she's like, Oh, I'm kind of excited that he's home. And I was like, Wait a minute. That's it. So she goes up to the door hugs and greets him. And I think Lisa, you said with after a week, she found herself excited again, when he got home, which demonstrates that whole notion that your behaviors start to influence your feeling, and no longer did it feel inauthentic. And then he like you said he changed, she changed.
And it really did kind of allow them to recapture and then all of a sudden now their nights were going better. You know, they're having more fun together like they used to laughing and having fun. Yeah, that, in fact, just even that that's a great point that that initial reconnection at the end of the day, how you'd spend that first, let's say one minute or two minutes together, greeting saying hello, kissing hugging? It really does set the tone for the rest of the night, doesn't it? It does. And even going down to friendships like you mentioned roommates. Well, yeah. Okay, you know, you may not be pleasant, or you may not feel good, or you may not. But if they're coming over to suppose you're, you know, going out to coffee. I mean, you could that first night, Hey, how's it going? How are you doing? What's happening? You know, and you do something? It's natural, right? But sometimes even let's say in a dating relationship, we start to see that fading, or there's other things that come up, or someone's stressed out taking each other for granted. Yeah, I remember one time, there was a girl that I stopped dating right after this incident, almost.
We're in the dorm room, having fun messing around and I you know, we're laughing We laugh mean, you were having fun messing around. Andwe explained that we were studying it but my messing around, I met I would take a piece of paper. And she's studying at her desk, I'm studying over there at you know, this other place, I think even her roommate was in the room. And all I did was throw a piece of paper at her.
And, you know, just for fun, you know, like, lightening things up because there was a stressful I think it was finals week that's asking for it. I know. Well, she was just like, I mean, I thought she'd got Hey, stop it, you know, in teasing, and I probably would have stopped.
But she was like, Chris, stop out. I don't I'm, I'm stressed out. I'm studying. I'm like, Oh, I didn't learn my lesson. You know, five minutes later, I throw another one. And that was the last time because she really kind of got I don't know about mad. Yeah. Okay, mad, and N and I remember thinking, Okay, this is I get it. I you know, well, okay, I own my self. And I probably shouldn't have to he's told me something fun.
You're being playful.
And she didn't respond in a in a light manner. I think that's right. And so it was more than just that moment, there was a playfulness that wasn't there. And playfulness is part of laughing together. You have fun you play together, right?
You do playful things. And sometimes people aren't as playful but that's what that's what this one's about. So yeah, sure. Move to the second one. Okay, and then we'll probably you know, cover the last three on the next podcast least I think that I did. Good. Friend frequent left together. You know what also good friends do they found is they calmly, calmly Yes. Talk about things. Yeah, they have calm conversations they have. There's a control there there is, you know, a lack of that anger that I saw in in this girl, that instead she could have calmly said Hey, Chris, I'm really busy. And I'm stressed Did you mind not teasing and I would have went Oh, yeah, no problem. I'm sorry. I was just teasing probably could have then come up, come around her and supported her and been empathetic and she blew it.
Yep, she blew it. I broke up and married someone. Four years later that was most awesome and beautiful and has now
Ever once been angrier you've all I mean at me you've never said unkind words or, or mean stop it. I mean that like, whoa, never never. Okay, what that means is the word calm, good friends can calmly talk about things, whether it's discussing issues or whether it's, you know, talking about life or events of the day or disappointments or frustration. You do it in a way that's called not angry. So let's talk about that. What does calm What's the opposite, right? It means you're agitated. Yeah. Okay, great.
Everybody's agitated. I get agitated. You've been agitated at me. But what that means is people good friends, when they calmly discuss the issue, say, Listen, something's really bothering me. You know, the fact, Chris, that you always leave the cabinet doors open, or the fact that you always, you know, or whenever you do this, well, you do it in such a way that it says, Chris, hey, I really get stressed out when the house is looking at maths and people are coming over. And do you mind if you can help me with this one?
That's calm. Yeah. versus saying, why don't you ever do anything around here? You usually.
The Art of Relationships podcast, hosted by Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace, is centered on helping you build healthy relationships and marriages. In this podcast, Dr. Chris Grace and Alisa Grace weigh in on how to navigate the complexities of relationships in our culture with biblical wisdom and scholarly research. Listen to get practical insights on relationships, dating, and marriage.