3 Things Taylor Swift’s Elle Essay Taught Me About Friendship

True to form, pop star Taylor Swift has set the tone for her upcoming 30th birthday with a personal and beautifully reflective cover story for Elle Magazine called “30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30.”

As I scrolled through each life lesson, many rang true in my own life as a woman in her late-twenties. I noticed that many of the lessons she highlighted revolve around her personal relationships or people’s perception of her.

I see the passing of time bring wisdom, and that wisdom, even separate from any “religion,” often supports many of the same values I find in my Christian faith. Here are 3 pieces of wisdom from Taylor’s article that I’ve found to be universally important and true to my own faith and life.

Forgiveness is an inevitable part of life.

Navigating friendships, disappointment, and bitterness are inevitable parts of the human experience whether you’re on the cover of a magazine or serving coffee at your local Starbucks.

I believe the need for community is universal. Every person with a story of triumph can site a community of people who were crucial to their success and well-being. We see this on award shows, in new stories, and in our personal lives. (See Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and Genesis 2:18)

Along with that valuable community comes learning the art of keeping it intact.

Taylor writes, “Even if it was unintentional, it’s so easy to just apologize and move on. Try not to say ‘I’m sorry, but…’ and make excuses for yourself. Learn how to make a sincere apology…” Because she realizes, relationships are worth it.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13 NLT)

Friendships don’t have to be the same forever.

Taylor writes, “Learning the difference between lifelong friendships and situationships… maybe they’ll just be your comrades for an important phase, but not forever.”

I’ve been searching for the word “situationship” my whole life.

Growing up and in college, I had friendships that I still think of fondly, but I haven’t communicated with them in years.

A long time ago, I chose to think positively about those short-term “situationships.” Like Taylor pointed out, “You may leave behind friendships along the way, but you’ll always keep the memories.”

Not only does that make me feel better, but it challenges me to carry this idea with me into my professional life.

I have a hard time with networking. Knowing that both myself and the person I’m talking to are in search of something mutually and clearly beneficial feels insincere. I think this is the perfect example of a “professional situationship.” There’s no need to read too much into the moments that seem calculated. Each person has something unique to offer and we may be just what each other needs in that particular situation. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Finding the right value system sets you up for success in life and relationships.

Taylor writes, “I learned not to let outside opinions establish the value I place on my own life choices… For an approval seeker like me, it was an important lesson for me to learn to have my OWN value system of what I actually want.”

Taylor Swift is right. If you don’t have a strong value system, your joy, success, and passions will be in constantly dependent on what other people think of you. Our world is tumultuous. As someone who does have a strong belief system, I’m grateful these fluctuations don’t have to determine who I am or who I can trust.

Not only does this make you stronger, but it takes the pressure off of your friendships! You can make your choices and love people well without your entire well-being and happiness hanging on the opinions of others.

You may have noticed my personal value system throughout this article. I’m a follower Jesus. I routinely fail at living out what I believe is right and good, but if I didn’t have this anchor in my life, I struggle to imagine how I would bounce back or become stronger when life doesn’t treat me kindly.

If you don’t have black and white answers about your life, I’d encourage you to take Taylor’s advice. Dig in. Ask the hard questions. Become stronger because not only do you know exactly who you are and what your purpose is, but because you have something sure and eternal to trust no matter what happens.

“Give your burdens to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” (Psalm 55:22 NLT)

“Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.” (2 Samuel 7:28 NLT)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

If you’re ready to take Taylor Swift’s advice and find your value system, check out this FREE video series called “Identity: Who you are changes everything.”

After going through this series, you’ll be able to know for sure who you are, why you’re here, and how your identity in Christ changes everything.

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