Safe Friendships

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Hey there my friend! I hope you are well! This summer I am editing a devotional book I wrote a few years ago. One of the topics I covered was friendships. I asked the following question on Facebook and my friends offered some great wisdom. I decided to include it here so you can enjoy and learn from their experiences as well. 

Question: In my search for meaningful, God-sent friendships, I am learning the importance of identifying safe people. Discerning safe and unsafe friendships can be challenging but possible. How did you identify the safe people who became your close friends?

"That’s a hard one. I’m praying God sends you the perfect friends and you have a perfect peace about them!!!" - A • what a great prayer! I appreciate it. 

"Time, authenticity and vulnerability. I try not to make “fast friends” as a practice, but I must say that there were two relationships that were “fast”, at least in my eyes, that helped me grow immensely in my spiritual walk; so time is relative. 

God knows exactly who we need when we need them. He also knows the season we are in and who’s necessary for His purpose, not ours. A book that really helped me in the area is “Relational Intelligence” by Dharius Daniels. 

It changed the way I look at relationships and helped lessen frustration and disappointment. I pray God would direct you to who He wants to be your friend 💜. As you can see I’m passionate about this topic 😊 - A • What a great book recommendation. I appreciate the thought "God knows who we need when we need them." 

"Ouvi Brené Brown ontem falando sobre isso e vulnerabilidade, ela compara esse processo com “a marble jar that you build trust slowly” (o livro é Daring Greatly). Mas eu ainda não aprendi totalmente essa lição de confiança"  - M • This was in portuglês :) Trust is built slowly for sure. 

"That’s a good question! For me, I think some of it has to do with the conversations/questions asked. That’s a good gage of if the person wants to know your heart or just your business. Also paying attention to red flags early on. And then recognizing when people are willing to rejoice when you rejoice and mourn when you mourn." - W • I enjoyed her encouragement to observe and pay attention to the fruit displayed by friends. 

"I think it’s of the utmost importance to have done your OWN work in order to be able to identify what healthy looks, sounds and feels like. It wasn’t until I started some work on myself that I was able to discern this and then identify why I was drawn to or perpetuating unhealthy situations. 

It also helps me know how to be the friend I desire to have to others. And I can more easily recognize and more deeply value friends that give grace and space to grow and be and live. ❤️ Took me a long time to get this. (And of course I didn’t mean “you” specifically. Just in general we have to do our work first.) - A • Sometimes we don't know what we want in a friend. I appreciate the reminder to work on ourselves and display the qualities we want to see in others. 

"After having a number of heartbreaks by unsuspected un-safe friends - I have decided to put my trust in no one! BUT - God never called us to TRUST other people - He just called us to LOVE. 

Love people, trust God. So, actually, I have decided to have open friendships with many people knowing that they might disappoint me, betray me, even turn on me. I can love them anyway. 

And along the way, I have made some wonderful, kind, amazing, and trustworthy friends. And I know full well that all of them will disappoint me in some ways - as I will them - and others in BIG ways, but I can still love them. ❤ - M • "God didn't call us to trust people, He called us to love them." Wow.  

"The safest friends are as involved with me as I am with them." - w • Interacting with safe friends is always good.

"I don’t think there is a substitute for time invested and good old life. But that said, God does show us when we come into divine alignments. You and Zeke are ones to forge out into new territory. You especially! Establishing new roots is your gifting I’m sure. I am praying for all of you." - S • Time plus life is a great formula. Knowing God will show us when we come into alignments is very encouraging too. I was encouruaged by this friend.

"Each of us disappoints on occasion, for all have sinned and fallen short . . . - P • I told this friend that I do my share of disappointing from time to time. What he said is very true. 

"It’s hard. As you know I’ve been through the betrayal and collapse of trusted relationships. It can either grow you or shrink you. Let God use it to grow you. Honestly, you just have to realize that anyone can disappoint you. Trust your instincts and remember that your closest friendship in Christ will never disappoint." - L • This friend has a strong testimony and walk with God in this area. I am encouraged to let God work all things for my good and for my growth. 

"I might ask, what does "safe" look like for me given my past, my present circumstances, and my future? It might also be a mix of personal boundaries, and sometimes personality/values. For me, "safe" often means that someone believes the best about me, respects when I have to say no or disagree, and asks questions instead of giving directives. I'm learning, however, that as I become the best version (I.e., yielded- and- trusting God version) of myself, heal from my wounds, etc., that I can show up in a more "free" way with all types of people...even if I only share my real stuff with a select few." - m • I never asked this question before but I plan to ask it often. What does "safe" look like for me given my past, my present circumstances, and my future? I want to show up free so I can be a blessing to whoever God sends my way.

"I do not like sarcasm; sarcasm is insincere speech. I don’t like being around people who can only speak sarcastically. Additionally, friends should be positive and build you up, and only be firm and corrective in private. If your “friends” make fun of you or talk down to/about you, then you should not give them your time, attention or emotions." - C • Sarcasm is a topic I would like to visit in the future. I don't think it belongs in friendships. I agree about friends being positive and building one another to be simply the best.

"I’ve found that my safe friends pick up pompoms just as quickly as I will. It’s not a personality thing, not everyone cheers loudly, but if they don’t know how to cheer (pray, encourage, celebrate, mourn)…by cheer I clearly mean show up in the relationship in some capacity and in some season. And to answer the how I learned…burned fingers from touching the stove." - a • Pain is a teacher. I'm glad we learn and we heal. i love the visual of quickly picking up that pompom to cheer for a friend.

How about you, how do you identify safe or unsafe friends?