87 – Engage Opponents unto Friendship

Whenever someone gives you negativity and “slap back”—for any reason, misunderstanding, picking an old scab, et cetera—just keep being positive. Change the subject they aimed for by celebrating the positive with childlike enthusiasm. Let’s say you comment on someone’s car because it’s old and you like old cars. The guy takes it personally and vomits shame backtalk at you—but he admits his car is old in the process. Zero in on the fact that he did tell you the car was old or look for anything else positive in what he said.

Love fuels the power to overcome any challenge for greater friendship. If someone is mean to you, even for no reason at all, engage communication. Don’t cower and hide in that little emotional cocoon of anger and fear. That urge to avoid someone you have a conflict is a sure sign that God wants you to talk to them because the devil fears what will happen when you do—that’s the devil’s fear you feel, not your own; let him keep it.

Bring up little, small things like weather or the latest gossip of the office or the ongoing drama of the hotel. Maintain friendly gestures and stay on normal “talking” terms. Deliver messages and help as good chivalry and teamwork invite.

So often, things that “offend” us are a mere misunderstanding in tone—especially in written correspondence. You can’t solve a conflict through the mail, whether snail mail, email, or messaging. To solve a problem you need a sit-down with a face-to-face. So, don’t even try to “resolve conflict” through text-only means. In the world of text-only, presume the best and stay positive. That will strengthen your skills for real life’s social turbulence. Assume the best there also.

Many friendships begin with a good, solid rumble. A few spilled drinks, some misunderstandings, even a fist or two—keep on with the love. Think “lemonade”. A bumpy first impression is a great recipe for a long term friendship; never undermine, overlook, belittle, or forgive the guy who offends you off the cuff. You should praise God for being part of the path on which some of the best friendships begin.