Choosing friends might seem very simplistic. We meet someone, we have a rapport with them, and we become friends, right? That is a simple version of how it most likely happens to the majority of people. If God created our universe to attract to us what we are, then more often than not we choose those who are like us, or are like those who have raised us. These are lesson relationships and if we want to survive them it takes figuring out the lesson and then the friendship either grows or ends. Relationship issues can be overcome but it takes two to tango and both need the awareness as to what they are working toward. This is a scenario where a lesson blessing happens and honestly I feel it can be pretty rare.
Hang on just a second because I’m going to quote Oprah! She said, “People show us who they are when we meet them. BELIEVE THEM!” This means that people’s cards are more on the table facing up than we realize, if we are careful and discerning. When something does not feel right or does not settle right then RUN! Trust the intuition that God gave to you! If someone immediately gossips about everyone around, don’t be so nieve to think they will never tell others about YOU! People just don’t gift special character to one person and not others. A gossip is a gossip. If it does not happen when you are friends, it will happen if you tick them off and then you will see!
If someone lets you down ONCE, if they do not have a real good reason, then they will do it over and over again. This type of person disrespects you and your time. BACK AWAY! Now, I know we do want to reflect Godly light into this world and respect all life as much as we humanly can. Yet, this does not mean we need to allow ourselves to be disrespected in the process. People learn how to treat us by what we allow them to do to us. If that same person let you down a few times, then the best thing to do is forgive them and then step back. If you want to really shock them be completely honest as to why you are stepping back. You might teach them a lesson on your way out of their life.
These are some guidelines I like to use when allowing friendships into my life:
- There is a cycle of giving and receiving. You are not the only giver and the other is taking from you. If that is happening that person is taking ADVANTAGE of you. Make sure there is a mutual sense of giving in any relationship and it will last a lifetime.
- There is a respect for your time, your thoughts and ideas, your individuality, your vocation, your life. Living around someone who disrespects you is just abuse and if you allow it then you are a co-dependent to the abuse. Respect yourself, respect others, and you will attract those who will respect you. Life goes along a lot easier when this happens!
- The person listens to you when you need them and you listen to them and have mutual conversation. Someone who dumps on you and then turns away when they are done releasing is NOT a friend! They are using you as a recycling bin and dumping their garbage right into you like you are their waste basket. Good friends are those who SHARE one another’s sorrows, listen to each other, respond with compassion, and love one another as God would have us love.
- You share mutual morality and ethics. If you are around someone who is brash, tells nasty jokes, makes fun of the unfortunate, has loose morals, then turn away. If you stay around these those who do not share your values and morals you will eventually find yourself compromising them yourself. In fact, keeping them around is already a compromise. Pray for them, and lovingly let them go.
- Choose those who share common interests and speak on your level of understanding. Sometimes we are in others lives to teach them or the other way around, but a mutual friendship needs a mutual bond that can be shared. When there is understanding then misunderstandings are less likely to happen. Also, neither will feel like the other is behaving in a belittling way.
- Choose those who foster joy and you can laugh with regularly, even when you feel like crying! The last thing any of us need is someone in our lives who never smiles, can’t laugh, and has no balance of hard issues and light issues. Life is all about balance! Good friends are sad together and laugh with one another. There will always be a feeling of blessing when you are with someone you can trust, be real with, and laugh with.
These are just some wise ideas in order to create good friendship bonds. Another might be sharing the same faith, religious beliefs, and maybe enjoy the same sense of community. Also, I should add, that the people you choose should treat other people in your life with respect, especially family. If they can not respect your family then problems will arise for everyone concerned.
Ask God for wise discernment and for signs as to whether someone is a good choice for you or not. He will help reveal their heart to you if you ask. He is good at that and speaks to you from the inside out; so listen!
Loving you from here,
Dr. Jenine Marie Howry