5 Honest Questions And Answers On How To Cultivate Our Friendships

Styldbygrace_NationalBestFriendDay2018_CultivatingOurFriendships
These are my sisters, Monica and Olga. To me, they’re Mimi and Tata. Not pictured is our crazy/fun big brother, Fernando. Or as we like to call him, Chico. I love the unique friendships I have with each one of them. This post goes out to my #1s: Mimi, Tata, and Chico ❤

Friendships are difficult to nurture and cultivate. In all honesty, the area in my life that I’m constantly thinking about, trying to make better, and evaluating is the area of friendship.

Today, on #NationalBestFriendDay, I’m just going to share questions I’ve had myself (and even googled lol) about friendship and what I believe God’s truth tells us about them. Alrighty, here it goes…

1. Should I “break up” with a toxic friend?

I guess it depends what we consider toxic. Personally, I believe someone is toxic when they steer you in the wrong direction. When you feel like you have to compromise who you are around them. I also believe toxic friends are people considered “frienemies”. Also known as people who act nice but behind closed doors hurt their friends (gossip, slander, rival, covet, envy, etc) or use them for selfish ambition (See James 3:16).

I’ve come to the conclusion, that YES, I should break up with these people. If they lead me away from Jesus, if I feel comfortable doing the wrong stuff around them, if there’s clear indication that they’re envious or deceitful, then it’s time to “break up”.

When I think of what Jesus came to earth to give us–freedom, abundance, life–none of the above things equal that.

Which leads perfectly to…

2. How do I deal with comparison, competition, and jealousy amongst my friends?

Keeping the last question in mind, sometimes they’re just going through their own struggles in life. We live in a world that tells us we need to keep up, we need to be better, we need to have it all.

I’ve come to terms with the reality that only God knows people’s true intentions. So if I’m on the receiving end of comparison or competition or jealousy and this person is a good friend and is simply going through a personal struggle, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I will try to find out what’s going on in their life. I won’t make assumptions.

And if I’m the one feeling all these ugly emotions, I will work diligently to repent, give them up to God and ask Him to help me celebrate my friends. I will ask for His joy. I will ask Him to protect my heart and friendships. I learned this important lesson from our struggle with infertility and seeing loads of my friends become moms. Believing that God will work ALL things together for my good (see Romans 8:28), has helped me understand that who I am, what I have, and what I do, right at this moment, is enough.

3. Friends, best friends, close friends, what is the difference?! And why is it such a big deal?

I think we’re called to love everyone. No, we won’t have intimate relationships with everyone. And some relationships change with time. I truly want to avoid putting people in categories. I do it all the time and it’s just not healthy. If you’re my friend and I’m yours there’s no further validation needed. I will be there for you. I will love you. I will be there for the good and bad. We’re called to love our neighbor. Regardless of how close or not we are to them. (See John 13:34).

4. Why is this person pushing me away?

I’ve noticed that the people I push away or avoid are always the people that bring the most wisdom and value to my life. They are the ones that give me tough love. They are the people who give it to me how it is. They are the people who aren’t afraid to call me out and stretch me.

Why are we so weird? I heard this great line in a movie the other day. The lead character said, “when you see certain people, you just can’t pretend anymore. Because they know you. The real you. And maybe that’s why you avoided seeing them for so long”.

I’ve totally been there. And I’ve also been the neglected friend. Both sides suck. And can really damage a relationship. BUT, it’s never too late to make things right. As children of God, we are called to be reconcilers. Not grudge keepers. (See Ephesians 4:32. Also here’s a great passage to determine HOW to do reconcile the right way: Matthew 18: 15-17).

5. Why am I being rejected and left out?

When this thought pops into my head, I’ll be honest, I’ll let it linger and linger and linger. But every time I bring this to God he reminds me that those thoughts are lies. I am NOT rejected or left out. He has already picked me, made me worthy, accepted me, and I am loved by Him (See Ephesians 1:4-6).

In bringing this to God, I usually feel the Holy Spirit ask me why I so desperately need to be accepted and recognized by people? It’s good to feel loved and known by others. But it shouldn’t be something we depend on.

We won’t always be friends with the people we think we “should” be friends with. We won’t always be accepted by people. We won’t always “mesh” with the group of people we long to connect with. But we can rest assured that God knows who we need in our lives. And He is directing our steps towards the right people (See Proverbs 16:9).

Well, that’s all for now

That was a lot, actually. And if you got to this point, THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading all of it. And I hope you’re encouraged. And since today is #nationalbestfriendday, why don’t you send this to ALL your friends. Or simply let them know you care.

P.S. Go to my Instagram Story today and enjoy some free sharable templates I created. I’ll also add them to my highlights just in case you miss them. They’re meant for you and your friends to connect and have fun together. ENJOY 🙂

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