The author of The 4 Hour Work Week (www.fourhourworkweek.com) says, “You are the average of the 5 people who spend the most time with.” How are your friends influencing you?
The people you spend your time with can be a sensitive subject. But if you want to live a life that is free, joyful and prosperous, making an evaluation of the people in your world is crucial. Friends sometimes hold each other back, not always clear to the eye and consciously, but it could be affecting you in ways you haven’t realized.
The 4 Hour Work Week talks about cutting the fat in your life. Life fat includes anything that is preventing you from having the healthiest pulse and blood flow. These are all the unnecessary things we allow or sometimes even welcome that make us feel stressed. Just because you have a lot of meetings to go to or people to hang out with doesn’t mean it’s where you really want to be or really want to go. And do those people care if you get there?
God designed us to be relational beings just like Him. Therefore we were designed to be connected to other people in order to be our best. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
The Bible also offers balance, and says that: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20. If you want to actually see your dreams come to life, then enjoy the journey getting there with true friends who will be there in the good days and the bad…
Here are 3 Ways to Decide if Your Friends Are Keepers:
1. Are they Positive or Time Consuming Friends?
The best way to determine the quality of your friendships is to pinpoint the way they make you feel. Sometimes, you may not be able to put a finger on exactly why they make you feel a certain way. We probably have all experienced or have even been that girl who makes a cutting comment, but quickly masks it with a smile or a light-hearted laugh at the end of the sentence. It can leave us feeling confused or unvalidated when our feelings are hurt. So next time you are with a friend or your regular group of friends, assess how you feel when you leave. Do you feel uplifted and positive? Or do you leave feeling angry, hurt and second guessing yourself? “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear….Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
2. Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Of course in a friendship, it is important to regularly ask yourself if you would have your friends treat you in the same way that you treat them. There will always be conflict when any two people come together in any sort of relationship, because we all respond and react differently to different situations based on our experiences and value systems. So, as the leader that you are, before you get offended, ask yourself if you could be in the wrong. Address your feelings with your friend and if they lash out at you or get defensive, your perceptions have been confirmed. There is a problem when you are the only one honoring the friendship and there is a constant pattern of your friend leaving you out, bailing on commitments, or tearing you down. It may be time to make new friends.
3. Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.
It wasn’t until last year when I truly learned the concept of honor. When I did, I totally went honor happy. From the detailed way I asked my friends to be my bridesmaids to the meaningful gifts and presentations for them at the rehearsal luncheon, to making sure I buy someone’s lunch when they have driven further to meet up. My eyes were opened to appreciate the things my family and friends do for me and I became keenly aware of making them feel honored for that. Honor isn’t just in gifts, it is being thoughtful about how your actions could affect your friend. Honor is following through with commitments, staying true to your word and acknowledging when your friend has helped or connected you in your social, professional or romance life. The verse says to OUT DO each other in honor. This implies we should always seek ways to make each other feel decent and appreciated. First, hold yourself accountable as a leader and ask yourself if you are doing these things. If you see that you are in a unbalanced friendship where you are always giving and the other is always taking, then it may be time to make new friends. 🙂
The Bible says to forgive one another as He forgives us, which means we gotta forgive when we don’t want to. (Forgiveness is ultimately for our own joy and freedom anyways). BUT, this does not mean that we should enable hurtful treatment from a person and continue to allow it. Sometimes we must forgive from a distance because as 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”