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I have been having a lot of discussions with my daughter about what real friends are. She is thirteen, and being homeschooled for the first year, so as you can imagine, she is experiencing a shift in friends.
These conversations got me to thinking – why am I not taking my own advice? Our friends are some of the biggest influencers in our lives, so why, as an adult, am I not following the same standards that I advise my teenager to?
The Bible often celebrates the importance and blessing that good friends can be in our lives.
Proverbs 17:17a – A friend loves at all times.
I have a lot of friends, but I have a very small inner circle. As Craig Groeschel says, these are the people you do life with. The ones you call when you need a support system, the ones you talk to every day, and the ones you take advice from. Choose them carefully.
Not everyone who says they are your close friend really is. Close friends make an effort to stay engaged with you. They know what is going on in your life, and you know what is going on in theirs. People that are willing to invest this effort into a friendship are very few and far between.
When people show you their true character, listen.
If you have a friend who constantly stands you up, or is always busy when you ask to make plans, that is a good indication that this is not going to be an inner-circle friend. They are making it clear that you are not important in their lives.
Now, if you continue to pursue a person like this, that is on you. When they have shown you a plain pattern of behavior, it is illogical to continue trying to make plans and expect a different outcome. A genuine friendship will make you feel blessed and fulfilled, not frustrated and angry.
Its a two way street.
I know we ALL have those friends that you only hear from when they want something. Or when something exciting is going on in your life and they want to attach themselves for the attention. If a friendship isn’t give and take – it isn’t a friendship.
I have a couple of friends like this. It doesn’t mean they are terrible people, but they do make pretty terrible friends. While I do loosely keep in touch with them, they are definitely not people I would allow into my inner circle.
Guard your heart.
I would like to emphasize this – it is ok to have standards!
Just because someone is a nice person, it doesn’t mean you are obligated to be friends with them. Since your friends ARE your greatest influencers in life, it stands to reason that you should be pretty choosy.
Is your inner circle feeding into your life? Are they building you up spiritually? Are they a solid support system? Good friendships are not ALWAYS butterflies and unicorns. I have two close friends who are not afraid to speak the truth to me when I need to hear it. Sometimes things are tense for a while, but at the end of the day I am so grateful for people who care enough about me that they hold me accountable, even when I don’t want to hear it.
I have friends that I have known for YEARS who not only do not feed into my life in a positive way, they drain me. Whether its because they only call when they want something, or because they are speaking negativity into my life, these are people who are no longer in my inner circle. That doesn’t mean I dramatically cut them out of my life, I have just backed away slowly and started putting more effort into my positive friendships.
Everything has a season.
People grow and change, and sometimes that means growing apart. In the past couple of years there have been several long-time, very close friends that I have just grown apart from. And thats ok.
I challenge you to take a look at your inner circle. Are they lifting you up and pushing you in the right direction? Or are they dragging you down?
There is nothing wrong with healthy boundaries, as a matter of fact, they are necessary in a functional relationship. While it is important to show grace because no one is perfect, that doesn’t mean you have to stay in a relationship with bad friends.
I am very grateful for my inner circle. We don’t always see eye to eye, but at the end of the day, there is no question who I would call first if I needed support.
Do you have healthy friendships?
This is day 7 in the series 31 Days Of Learning To Be Positive. Click here to check out the entire series.