When I was younger, I made some really questionable decisions about how I chose my friends. That’s why having a dependable and faithful friend turned out to be such a blessing to me.
Looking back, I now see how making good choices in friendships led to better decisions about everything in my life. Here are a few suggestions to help you tell the difference between real friends and fake friends.
1. Seek friendships that make you better. Make sure your friendships expand your work, bring you closer to God and encourage you to be the best person you can be. You know your areas of weakness, so be wary of friendships that may harm you in the end.
2. Don’t spend time with people who bring you down. People’s constant negativity can deplete you of your own happiness. If you find you’re emotionally or spiritually worn out after spending time with a certain person, limit your time with him or her.
3. Be wary of a friend who is constantly jealous of you. If a friend is jealous, they may not understand that when others win or have great things, it takes nothing away from them. This goes both ways, though. If you recently received something fantastic, be compassionate about sharing your good fortune. Don’t try to rub it in someone’s face if it’s something they desire. Use your gifts and blessings to help your friends and inspire them as well.
4. Watch for friends who become too territorial. Territorial friends are probably taking too much of you and not giving enough back. Friendship must be mutual. Naturally, in any relationship, one person will give more than the other at a given time. However, if you find a friend is monopolizing your time and isolating you from others, that’s not a healthy friendship. Talk to them about why they feel threatened by other friends in your life and let them know that you’re capable of being their friend as well as other people’s.
5. A friend who lies can’t really be trusted. They may tell you one thing and someone else another. If they tell a white lie to protect you from pain, that’s one thing. Dishonesty is a deal breaker. You need to trust your friends.
6. Avoid associating with people who gossip. If a friend gossips about another person behind their back, chances are good that they’ll gossip about you eventually.
Remember, no one is perfect, but a good friend should expand your world and exemplify the fruits of the spirit—at least a good portion of the time.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
For more on making and keeping good friends, pick up a copy of Nicole’s new book, Project Inspired: Tips and Tricks to Staying True to Who You Are, at your local bookstore or online here.