Christian women often get the idea that they must be friends with everyone. But that’s not a good idea. In fact, it can be a formula for drama. Let’s look at how to choose wisely –five friends every woman needs.
The Bible warns “A man [or woman] with many friends may be harmed…”(Proverbs 18:24). Scripture also tells us “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Since you and I have the ability to choose our friends, let’s heed the Bible’s instructions in Proverbs 12:26 to choose our friends wisely.
As I was writing my book, Drama Free, it occurred to me that there are five types of friends that every woman needs. Use this suggested list as an inventory in your own life to see if you have a healthy, or unhealthy, mix of company.
- The fun friend. Let’s admit it. We all need someone who is fun to be with, who makes us laugh, who encourages us to set our work aside and live a little. You and I can’t spend every waking moment with this friend because if we did, we’d never get anything done. But if you have a friend who can balance the fun with responsibility and maturity, and encourage you to let go of work now and then and enjoy life, you have found a treasure. Who encourages you to not take yourself so seriously?
- The firm friend. I’m not talking about the woman who has very little body fat. I’m talking about the friend who will firmly tell you what you need to hear. While your fun friend may encourage you to laugh it off or live for the moment, your firm friend will often remind you of what’s best for you, even if it isn’t fun or even comfortable. She does this because of her love for you and her ability to see beyond the moment to what really matters. And if she’s able to be firm with a generous dose of grace and love, hold onto her. She is a rare gift. Who tells you what you need to hear instead of just what you want to hear?
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- The forward-moving friend. Do you have someone to challenge you to be more healthy, read more books, think more deeply, hone your skills? We all need to keep moving forward personally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Who challenges you to move beyond where you are right now?
- The faithful friend. Every woman needs a friend who will be there through thick and thin. Not only is the faithful friend always there, but she’s loyal – meaning she would never talk behind your back or re-evaluate the friendship if she thinks she’s giving more than you are. A faithful friend doesn’t keep track of how many times she has called you vs. how many times you take the initiative to call her. She will pick up with you wherever the two of you left off. The opposite of the faithful friend is the gossip or critic. Proverbs 16:28 says “a gossip separates close friends.” Your faithful friend is the one who will never be whispering to others about you. Who can you always depend on, regardless of season or schedule?
- The “faith-filled” friend. Do you tend to be a worrier? Do you stress out when a situation seems out of control? If you are around others who do the same you will fuel each other’s fire of fear and doubt. That’s why every woman needs a faith-filled friend who doesn’t worry, but trusts in the Lord and helps fill up others with her faith. This world is filled with drainers who empty us through cynicism, complaining, and gossip. But a faith-filled friend will build you up with her attitude and perspective. She is also quick to forgive and is the opposite of the angry or bitter woman who holds onto offenses and drags others down by the issues in her life. Surround yourself with others who can sharpen your faith and fill your tank. Who strengthens your faith when it’s faltering and fills your tank when you’re running on empty?
The older I get the more I find that true friends are few and far between. If you have at least one friend in each category you are rich beyond measure. And if there’s a friend on that list that you don’t yet have, you know what to look for…and the kind of friend to be as well.
Which of these friends do you need in your life? And which do you want to focus on being?
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author who helps women and couples strengthen their relationships with God and others. She is the author of 17 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When Couples Walk Together, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, When You’re Running on Empty, and Drama Free, upon which this article is based. For resources to help strengthen your marriage, relationships, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.