Devoted Blog

Wave Women – You Asked For It – FRIENDSHIP

May 12, 2016

Friendship Blog by Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown interviewed Cheryl Monaco & Lainie Williams at a recent Wave Women event & here is the gold that came from that interview.

What happens when my closest friend/s move away?  I feel lost and am trying to re-establish new friendships.

Have a cry, plan to visit them, keep in touch, pray some good girlfriends in, show yourself friendly – get in a Connect Group, serve on a team, and start a hobby.

Friends can let you down – Peter and John let Jesus down at Gethsemane. He asked them to stand watch and pray. They fell asleep. Jesus forgave them and still spent quality time with them after the resurrection.  You forgive and move on.

If you don’t get invited to a lot of social events, create your own. You can get discouraged looking at Facebook and seeing that you weren’t invited to something.  Make your own events or fun. If you don’t like large groups, you can do something fun with one or two people.

Why do I keep ending up in manipulative controlling friendships?  How do I get out of this cycle?

Friendships that are controlling and manipulative are not healthy – they are TOXIC because they must be in complete control and must have all the power in the friendship. The bad news is that you cannot change your friend. The good news is that you can change yourself which may lead you to behave differently with your friend, resulting in your friend deciding to change her behavior. Essentially what you do is calmly but firmly confront the toxic behavior. You do this by identifying the behavior(s) to your friend, letting her know they are no longer acceptable, and suggesting alternate behaviors that would work better.

You have to believe you deserve to be treated with courtesy, compassion, and respect in a relationship or you will not continue the relationship. When you first confront a toxic friend you can expect that she will actually escalate their controlling behaviors. You have to be able to handle whatever they do. You have to stay calm and firm and simply repeat your request. If your friend refuses to change, consider separating from the relationship for 30 days. You should then talk with them again, repeat your requests, and let them know that you will not stay in the friendship if they continue their toxic behavior. If they once again refuse to change, you need to end the friendship. If they promise to change but relapse, repeat the cycle one more time.

The bottom line:  you can attempt to seriously improve a toxic friendship only if you’re prepared to leave it. We often label those who stay in toxic relationships as “co-dependent” -they may well be. Co-dependency is, in my opinion, a result of low self-esteem that can make it very difficult to follow the plan I’ve suggested. Again, if you’re in a toxic relationship and having trouble, or are reluctant to effectively confront your friend’s behavior, seek therapeutic help.

I have a hard time making friends and feeling included.  Any tips?
Who has felt this before “I’m worried if I reach out, I’ll look stupid, or awkward and they’ll think I’m weird”.  Everyone feels like this. I feel like this all the time. It’s leftover playground trauma. Sometimes you will look stupid, sometimes you won’t. It’s no big deal. Life is no longer a popularity contest, it’s just a game of “are we compatible? Do we like each other?”  Maybe if you seem awkward, the other person will think, “yes! Someone who is as quirky as me!” and you have an instant comfort with each other. Most women want to make new friends and most women aren’t brave enough to do it. I guarantee that if you make the first move, she will be eternally grateful.  You want to be around people that “Celebrate you, not tolerate you”.   Be friendly, be bold, and be awkward. It’s ok.

When is it ok to end a friendship?
When a friendship is constantly ONE WAY!  They only contact you if they need something from you, help with something, are moving, need money, to complain about something and when you ask them for something they aren’t there for you.  They don’t reciprocate. “Friendships are voluntary relationships that have to be reciprocal”. “If one person wants more of a relationship than the other, it rarely works.”

How to tell if a friendship is TOXIC.
– abusive
– co-dependent
– draws you away from God
– you’re doing things that are illegal
– relationship is not in line with the Bible
– when a friendship has unhealthy boundaries
– when one person smothers the other
– overwhelming the other (with text messages, calls, or emails etc. Few of us like to be suffocated, so if the smotherer doesn’t relent, the overwhelmed friend ends up pulling back or cuts off correspondence entirely just to get some breathing room)
– When a friend can’t keep confidences and is constantly breaking trust

Proverbs 11:13 MSG
“A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.”


Be wary when a friendship can’t take tough love. If someone wants unconditional love and never any criticism, then I strongly advise them to get a friend of the four-legged variety and not a human one. Be able to take criticism.

Proverbs 27:17 NLT
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

I keep getting hurt in friendships – I feel like I do all the work with nothing in return. How do I get past the hurt I have of a past friendship gone wrong?
Give yourself time to heal, make yourself a priority, get adequate sleep, stick to your usual routine, and, hard as it is, avoid social media. Then, as in our first question above, show yourself friendly, join a Connect Group, go to social events at church, get involved at church and join a team & find yourself a hobby.

How do you be a great friend?  What does a great friendship look like?
I’ve challenged myself this year is to consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Also, don’t feel you need to agree with someone who is speaking negative things about their family, friends and co-workers. Try to think of a way they can switch from the negative to the positive.

Hebrews 10:24-25 MSG
“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”

As women, we were meant for more than just virtual friendships.  Electronic communication is a poor substitute for true face-to-face relationships. Although technology can make our lives more convenient, counterfeit connections are one-dimensional. We can have “friends” on Facebook, email pen pals, chat room buddies, and text messaging conversations—but none of it is real communication. The words are there, but the deeper meaning and intimacy are lost.

Jesus was all about connecting with people.  In John 4 we read the story of His connection with a Samaritan woman drawing water from a well. It’s clear that a big part of Jesus’ impact was the fact that He was taking time from His busy life to sit and talk with her. Jesus’ life was about people – up close and personal – genuine connection, not counterfeit connection. Technology is a great thing, but overusing it can rob us of real relationships.

 

We are to get together and put courage into one another. Cheer one another on, challenge each other to love and good deeds and get together!