Springboards & Friendship

Did you know that there are three different types of diving boards? There’s the diving block, the platform and the spring board.

We’re familiar with the diving block because of the Olympics. They’re sloped with the purpose of providing competitive swimmers to push off of at the beginning of their race.

The platform is typically the highest diving board. It’s material is rigid and doesn’t flex well.

And then there’s the springboard. It’s what we grew up diving off of at the neighborhood pool. It’s more flexible than the other two types. It’s purpose is to enhance a diver’s take-off so that they can dive higher, longer and/or more beautifully.

Over the weekend, I got back from vacation with some of my best friends. This was our third trip together, but some of us in the group have been vacationing together for even longer than that. We’re a hodgepodge of people who knew each other in high school, then turned college friends, people who were in small groups together in college and then some fun additions post-college. We’ve seen each other’s messy sides, and have continued not just to keep being friends, but to vacation together and deepen the friendships.

Fortunately we didn’t have a diving board in our house’s backyard pool. I can only imagine the shenanigans and possible injuries that could have ensured. But, what if I allowed my annual Friendcation, and more specifically my friendship with these people to propel me into deeper friendships with others in my life.

Could I use my community experience with those friends as springboard into deeper local friendships?

I tend to have a filter that I use with people. There’s like different versions of me that you can see, but it takes a long time for me to let someone completely in. Living in Indianapolis with so many college friends has enabled me to live life according to that pattern.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way?

What if I let myself be fully known even if they’re not someone who has known me since I was in college?

What if I trusted someone even if they haven’t seen me at my worst?

Even more, I could be believing something that’s not true about friendship and letting it hold me back from deeper local friendships and from going deep with people quicker.

Is it possible that I’ve been afraid that opening myself up to new people would take something away from the longstanding relationships I already have?

It is possible. In fact, it’s probably true for me. In many ways, I have let myself live in a scarcity mindset when it comes to friendship. Yes, I cannot be best friends with everyone, but friendship isn’t something that’s limited. Being friends with someone who I met post-college doesn’t take away from a friendship with someone who I’ve known for almost a decade.

A scarcity mindset operates on the assumption that something is limited. Money, resources, time or even relationships. When operating under this assumption, you ration what exists. It’s important to realize natural limitations on things, but relationships aren’t necessarily something that’s limited.

You don’t just get one best friend in your life, and never have the opportunity to make another deep relationships. Obviously we only have so many hours in a day, so there are so natural boundaries, but I am not given just one good group of friends. I’m not cheating on them by having other good friends.

Just like the springboard’s purpose is to propel divers higher into the air, being known and loved by this group of friends can springboard me into other special friendships.

I usually start the week after vacation in a slump. It’s not uncommon for me to cry saying good-bye to these friends, cry on Sunday morning after church and cry on my way to work on Monday morning. Coming off the community high has never been something that I do well, and this is no exception. I’ve realized that it has very little to do with the life I’m coming back to or my local friends, I just love being on vacation, I love the tradition and I love those people.

But this year was a little bit different. I still came back from vacation bummed that the week was over. I still missed my friends. The difference was, I started asking myself a new question: Could I use my community experience with those friends as springboard into deeper local friendships?

I tend to have a filter that I use with people. There’s like different versions of me that you can see, but it takes a long time for me to let someone completely in. Living in Indianapolis with so many college friends has enabled me to live life according to that pattern.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way?

What if I let myself be fully known even if they’re not someone who has known me since I was in college?

What if I trusted someone even if they haven’t seen me at my worst?

Even more, I could be believing something that’s not true about friendship and letting it hold me back from deeper local friendships and from going deep with people quicker.

Is it possible that I’ve been afraid that opening myself up to new people would take something away from the longstanding relationships I already have?

It is possible. In fact, it’s probably true for me. In many ways, I have let myself live in a scarcity mindset when it comes to friendship. Yes, I cannot be best friends with everyone, but friendship isn’t something that’s limited. Being friends with someone who I met post-college doesn’t take away from a friendship with someone who I’ve known for almost a decade.

A scarcity mindset operates on the assumption that something is limited. Money, resources, time or even relationships. When operating under this assumption, you ration what exists. It’s important to realize natural limitations on things, but relationships aren’t necessarily something that’s limited.

You don’t just get one best friend in your life, and never have the opportunity to make another deep relationships. Obviously we only have so many hours in a day, so there are so natural boundaries, but I am not given just one good group of friends. I’m not cheating on them by having other good friends.

One of the greatest gift I’ve ever received is to be known and loved by my group of friends. They’re my people. I’d walk through the fire for each and every one of them. But, they don’t have to be the only deep relationships in my life. I can and should let the comfort I have with them springboard me into other special friendships.

It starts with them, but it doesn’t have to end with them.

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