Watch your friends; watch what you say and to whom; watch who you let into your circle – how many times have you heard these words?
For the longest time I thought the speaker was just plain paranoid. What’s with all this watching people around; and, how about the fact that everyone around is supposedly not good enough for you?
I fiercely defended people in my life. I knew sides of them my advisors didn’t, and as far as I was concerned, one had to walk in my shoes to tell me what to do.
They love to watch and comment from the side. When you’re giving birth, a parent is dying, or your relationship is falling apart they are physically absent–but in the middle of conflict, you’ll hear their opinion.
Now, this is what I’ll ask you to consider: how successful are these people in putting the gift of perception into their own lives?
Do they challenge themselves, grow or continually work to drop bad habits and acquire new ones?
You will know by the nature of drama that surrounds them. It will be the same old, same old, and that is what you’re allowing to influence you.
You look too good, and misfortune makes them feel better about themselves. Plain and simple. While not wanting something terrible to happen to you, they don’t mind you slipping a little, missing a step or just plain falling. Just a bit–so they can catch up and not totally feel like losers.
They are the ones who aren’t interested in conflict-resolution, but in stirring the pot and flaming existing fires in your life. That’s who you’ve recruited as supporter.
They’ll agree with everything you say, and then turn right around and promise each other that should one meet a similar problem, to stop each other from making such big and foolish mistakes. It happens.
They are cowards that won’t tell you to your face that you’re wrong, but will seem to be the least judgmental of the bunch, constantly in agreement.
You are an example to these people, and while you feel the love, the false cheer ends as soon as you hang up, or walk away. You’ve heard what they say about others. You are not excluded.
These descriptions are not new to you, but if you’re thinking, “Nah, I’m good,” I want you to look at this list again. Jesus was betrayed by one of his best-friends, someone who walked, talked and ate with Him. This isn’t a coincidence. It’s a reality check.
Whenever you think you’re good, in a safe place or have acquired people you can very well lean on, that is the moment to quietly sit and let the truth come out.
Do these people advocate prayers or vices? If you’re situation is serious, would you want someone to pray with and for you, or to pay for your next drink?
Do your friends stand for reconciliation or war? How are their relationships with others? Are they conflict-prone, and seemingly always right? Do you want the one willing to face up to his/her imperfections, or the excuse-ridden buddy who will help you keep the ridges going?
Do your friends share your core values? How do they treat themselves and others? Is there a track record with building from the ground up, and similarities past superficial elements? Or do your people bail for the next best plan, the juicy story, and the better experience?
Sometimes loyalty keeps us tied to dead-end people and relationships, long after we outgrow what kept us together.
If this is what you’re facing, you are looking at a bit of lag time hanging on people with opinions that don’t quite suit your growing needs. It may be time to prune.