Fair Weather Friends


steiner

Brandon Steiner is a sports marketing executive and founder of the New York City based Steiner Sports Marketing. Steiner’s work pairs athletes with businesses in an effort to increase profile, awareness and ultimately sales for the business in question. Opening a car dealership in upstate New York? Why not call Steiner and see which of the New York Yankees can make an appearance?

Steiner also runs one of the largest sports memorabilia sites on the web, and a number or retail outlets around New York City, selling authentic signed merchandise from all of the major sports franchises in the North Eastern United States. In 2009 Steiner entered into an agreement with the New York Yankees to sell off pieces of the original Yankee Stadium through an on-line promotion and auction.

Brandon Steiner publishes a daily blog on business leadership and marketing. Today’s installment was particularly compelling to me because of some things that have been happening in my personal life. You can read Brandon’s blog here and if you are a fan of innovative business strategies, with a sports related theme and New Yorker’s flair, take a minute to subscribe, you won’t regret it.

Throughout our lives we develop two types of friendships. There are the friendships we develop because of our influence these are the people we attract because we influence them in some way. They want to be in our shadow, gain from our wisdom and grow in their own walk toward personal fulfillment. When we can no longer provide that for them these people will slowly slip away. Influence seekers will move in and out of our lives as seasons change. Some people disparage this type of fair weather friend as somehow lacking in character and only being interested in what’s in the friendship for them. Personally I think that assessment is a bit unfair. We all do it, some of us are just better at it than others so that it doesn’t seem like we are only there to take what we can from the friendship and move on. But make no mistake if we’re being honest we all have people in our lives who are only there for what they can offer us.

friend fingers

The second type of friendships are the people who become more like family. These are the people who stay in our lives even when we can offer them nothing in return. Although almost all friendships start out as the first type, but eventually influence gives way to mutual support. The lines get blurred and it becomes difficult to see who is influencing and supporting whom. I know a lot of people who are stuck in type one friendships, constantly giving of themselves and never getting anything back. They’ve all read Dale Carnegie and think that the best way to “make friends and influence people” is to give, give, give but this does not make for lasting friendship. Zig Ziglar said that the best way to get what you want is to help enough other people get what they want, and that works on type one friendships just fine but the key to type two friendships is vulnerability.

Our families know everything about us. Influence and support is shared in a way that goes beyond mere one way and two way communication. Communication in a health family is holistic. When our friendships reach a level of communication and shared support that resembles this holistic form of community something special happens. We move from being friends that are concerned about the weather and become something more, something beautiful. We become family but not quite, it’s if we become one complete whole. We become one body.

The implications of body imagery as it pertains to friendship and community are many and profound.  Shared influence and shared support run deep into the core of our being. Could that have been what the apostle Paul was talking about when he likened the church to The Body of Christ?

Body imagery in the church usually tends toward discussions of specific roles working together to form a unified whole but could it be more than that? Could it be a description community on a whole new plain of existence, so deeply connected that it is difficult to see where one person’s influence and support ends and another begins?

Food for thought.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.[1 Corinthians 12:12-14]

 

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