We talk a lot about conditional friends on here

by cappytan 44 Replies latest jw friends

  • cappytan

    So, when people post about being shunned by their friends, I've heard several posters say things like, "Their friendship is conditional. Real friendships aren't conditional."

    I'm sorry, but that just isn't really true.

    If you and I were friends, there are conditions. For instance: don't sleep with my wife, don't insult my kids, don't abuse my hospitality.

    "But Cappy, anyone who would do those things isn't being a real friend!"

    Sorry, but until someone does those things, you would continue to view them as a friend.

    I know of one woman who was extremely close with another. They were so close, they frequently said things that showed they considered each other family. Both women did things together every day. They even went on vacation with each other's families. They were friends for YEARS. One year, one of the women, ended up sleeping with her friends husband and proceeded to have an ongoing affair with that husband for several months. Needless to say, when it was found out, that friendship ended.

    But, how was the innocent woman to know that this woman wasn't a true friend until this occurred? She couldn't.

    So, in my opinion, the notion of friendship being unconditional is just a utopian fantasy. There are always conditions. Some of mine are listed above. JW's just have a slightly longer list.

  • millie210
    Perhaps friendship is more fluid than fixed?
  • Driving Force
    Driving Force
    The conditions for remaining friends is respect, respect prevents me from doing something that would harm a friend physically or emotionally. JWs have rules which go far beyond respect.
  • cappytan
    The conditions for remaining friends is respect, respect prevents me from doing something that would harm a friend physically or emotionally. JWs have rules which go far beyond respect.

    I agree about their rules going beyond respect.

    However, the fact remains that friendships are conditional, whether they be JW or not. To assert otherwise is to ignore human nature.

  • Londo111

    I believe most people speak of these things in the conventional, relative meaning, rather than in the absolute literal.

    BTW…having gone through divorce and so forth, THEN a year later having gone through being shunned by everyone I knew including family, I’m not sure a friend sleeping with my wife would automatically be a dealbreaker for either my friendship or marriage. Of course, I’ve never had that specific experience, so I can’t say for sure. But being shunning made me reevaluate things. Apart from physical violence or sexual assault, isolating someone is one of the most worst things you can do to a person.

  • sir82

    We've had this debate on this board many years ago.

    I agree with you - all friendships are conditional.

    But prepare to be flamed anyway.

  • Splash

    Friends normally decide for themselves what constitutes violating a friendship.
    With JW's that decision is made for them, and even when those conditions are NOT met, the friendship can end 'just to be safe'.

    When someone is having a difficult experience, normally their friends help out, not rat them out.
    They're a suspicious bunch, them there JW's.

    I think most JW's don't have real friends, only a facade of friendship that from day 1 is mutually understood to be with limits and conditions.

  • OneEyedJoe

    Yeah, I tend to agree. There's conditions to everything. The point, though, is that when those conditions include privately held beliefs/morals or things done in private that don't impact the other party in any way, that's someone attempting to enforce an undue level of control over your life. It's just easier to call it unconditional love than to go into all the ins and outs.

    One other difference is that many people (though they may not get there immediately) can still find it within themselves to wish another person well even after ending a friendship due to being wronged. Even if they no longer wish to pursue the relationship, they can forgive and forget. That, to me, is the only version of unconditional love that can really be said to exist. And much of the time it's wholly absent in JWs. I've heard the most vitriolic slander spoken about people merely because they no longer attend meetings. They haven't even wronged anyone in any way, they simply don't believe it. Yet they are spoken against and many JWs will miss no opportunity to make their life more difficult.

    I get it that when people don't see someone twice a week, their friendship is probably going to drop off and not be as close. People lose touch. That's fine. When people are suggesting that simply because you're not around you're lying, cheating on your spouse, stealing or (honestly, I've heard all of these said about apostates by their family members, and the only justification given was their apostasy) plotting to purchase a bunch of guns and shoot up a kingdom hall - that's the sort of stuff that crosses the line. The fact that most JWs are mentally prepared to treat you like you don't exist merely for failure to believe the insane claims of 7 men in NY demonstrates that not only do they not show unconditional love, but that they don't really love to begin with.

  • OrphanCrow
    cappytan: However, the fact remains that friendships are conditional, whether they be JW or not. To assert otherwise is to ignore human nature.

    I agree, Cappy. Unconditional friendship is a myth.

    Adopting the concept of "unconditional" friendships is an act that devalues "self".

    My friendships (and family relationships) are conditional. The only relationships I have that are unconditional are with my children and grandchildren.

    With that said, just because a friendship/relationship doesn't last forever, doesn't mean that the relationship was not successful.

  • Chris Hannover
    Chris Hannover

    If you care about other people, all your love & friendship will be conditional. My friendship is based on me observing, identifying, & appreciating the other person based on their personality, not about how I wish to see them.

    Unconditional friendship requires you not acknowledge the other person's personality and behavior at all. Since you're refusing to see them for who they are, on what is your "friendship" based? Your friendship cannot be based the person in front of you. You have ignored that person entirely and replaced them with your own wishful thinking about people in general.

    Unconditional friendship is no more than narcissism. What you want to believe is more important than the actual person.

    If someone calls me a friend based on their generic opinions of all people, while completely ignoring me as I am, they can keep it. That kind of friendship sounds terribly empty & one-sided. If they're indifferent to my personality and refuse to distinguish me from any other random person, how can you call me friend? I would just be another blank space for them to project their own beliefs upon.

    When I noticed that all my JW friends never took other's personality & individuality into consideration in the relationship, I realized I never had any true JW friends.

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