making new friends

is being a vicar a lonely life?

some have said to me that you never open up as much as you would with a friend who knows you prior to vicarhood - certainly not with those in your congregation and if you do you wonder if it's going to come back to bite you. either that or your only new friends are other clergy.

it's a worry.


Tom Allen said...

Yes it can be but your awareness will be a good start - the clergy who have problems are the ones who are best friends with their congregation!

The work patterns of being a Vicar is fundamentally anti-social (working evening and weekends when people are socialising)

Good clergy friends are the ones who don't talk shop all the time, but share other interests with you

Always maintain outside interests/hobbies involving people who are not at all interested in Christianity or you being a Vicar

"Being friends" with the Vicar is a real purpose for some people of offering lay leadership - but you become aware of motives

But it does have its perks as well - very flexible weekday time off (a day off each week AND some time off each day)

IF it is true that women have different patterns of friendship than men, (fewer but more intense friendships)then the issues of vulnerability and integrity in clergy friendships may be more acute for women?

jody said...

Hi Tom

thanks - I think this is something that I just consider as 'counting the cost' (sorry for the cliche, but you know what I mean), not something that would put me off this road, but something I need to reflect on.

it's important to me that I have some sense of what this is really like - I'm quite a social animal you see.

but I already feel that when I tell people that I'm exploring ordination or I've done some theological training then they treat me differently anyway - it's a bit of an 'inbetween' life at the moment.

the men/women thing is there too of course. like you say, not sure if we do have different patterns, but certainly there is a reserve in men and women being friends (one of the reasons that my most hated film is 'when harry met sally' is that it perpetuates this myth that we all have to jump into bed with each other *sigh*) and with there still being more men in full-time ministry than women, that might also have implications on the depth of future friendships.

I'm convinced there is blessing in this life tho :-)

:-) Jody