Spiritual Practice

Different Sides of Me

Tom Arthur

I have a friend who acts one way around me and another way around everyone else. This used to drive me crazy. Shouldn’t he be the same person with everyone? One time I confronted him: “Why do you pretend to be someone else around other people?”

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12b (NIV)

He was pretty upset and told me that I was putting him in a box. He wasn’t being someone else around other people. The way he was with them was part of who he was too.

Much later, I read C. S. Lewis’ book The Four Loves. One of the loves he explores is friendship. Lewis talks about how three friends are always better than two because “in each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out.” What I came to realize was that other people brought out different sides of my friend’s personality, sides of him that I rarely got to see when it was just the two of us. Over time, I came to enjoy these other sides of him.

Don’t Box Them In: Do your friends act one way around you and another way around other people? There’s a difference between being two-faced and showing the various sides of your personality. As you and other people bring out the best in your friends, look for ways to celebrate and embrace all of these traits.

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