5 Ways to Know if a Friendship is Healthy or Toxic:
1. A healthy friend supports your successes even when they don’t feel successful. A toxic friend makes you feel guilty for the good God is doing in your life.
2. A life-giving friend knows real love can mean hard love. They tell you the stuff that’s hard to hear when it’s in your best interest. A toxic friend says all the right things without loving you enough to tell you the truth.
3. A good friend brings something to the table. A toxic friend is a mooch.
4. A life-giving friend celebrates the fact that you have other friends in your life. A toxic friend is possessive and jealous.
5. A toxic friend influences you to do things against your better judgment. A life-giving friend is a light in your life and stands by you when you choose what’s right even when it’s not popular.
Proverbs 17:17 says that a friend loves at all times—when it’s uncomfortable, when they don’t see the same success in their life, when you’re at rock bottom, and every moment in between.
If your friends leave you feeling deceived, like you have to be someone you’re not, fit in, criticize your joy to make them feel better about themselves, or lead you further away from God’s heart instead of closer to Him, slowly distance yourself from the friendship. You don’t have to cut them out of your life all at once, but you don’t have to keep giving them all your time.
Cutting off toxic friendships isn’t about exiling people from your life, but you can be intentional about who you spend your time with.
Why? Because you become like those you spend your time with. You can choose either bad influences or good influences. And sometimes good influences take time to find but they are worth the wait.
1 Corinthians 15:33 offers more wisdom on this, “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.”
I truly believe a little loneliness is better than a friendship that sucks the life out of you.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be kind or that you shouldn’t show patience and forgiveness toward those who don’t treat you well. But you can be wise about where you invest your time, energy, and heart.
Remember: there’s a difference between acquaintances and friends. When you remove yourself from toxic circles, you can still be friendly, you can still treat them with kindness, and even catch up every now and then. But they certainly don’t need to be your go to.
When you declutter, you’re spending less time with those who don’t love you well, don’t’ influence you for the better, and/or tear you down, and you make room for something better.
When you make room in your life, God will give you the life-giving friendships your soul needs. And when He does, hold em close but give them room to live, too.