5 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Friendships
One thing I hear on a regular basis is “I don’t need friends.” Granted, I hear it from 14-year-olds who hate the world, but it still bothers me when I do. Some way, society has shaped us into believing that we don’t need people but the truth is, we do.
Now, I’m not saying that everybody needs to have a rolodex full of names and numbers to call, but I do truly believe that there is no way to make it in this world without having a support system. Those people are friends, whether you want to call them that or not.
I have had the same friends for years, literally more than half of my life. But, I also have gained new friends in the very recent past that I believe have my best interest at heart and are in my life for the right reasons. I also have recently ended friendships that, if you’d asked me 2 years ago, I would have said that we would be BFFs, literally best friends forever.
What I have come to realize, however, is that things change. Some friendships are seasonal, and all friendships need a reboot every once in a while. When it’s time for a friendship inventory, these are the questions I like to ask myself about my friends, and ask my friends about me.
Is this relationship beneficial? It’s important to think of friendships as investments. If you are getting out what you put in, you’re probably in a good space. But if you’re not, I would say that at least a conversation needs to be had.
Can I go to my friend with more than one thing? This is an interesting spot for me, because I’m a bit of a compartmentalizer. I like having separate areas for separate things, but I need to be able to talk to my friends about more than just work, or church, or one area of my life. If I can’t bring you my highs and my lows, I have to go back and reevaluate.
Is my purpose connected to their purpose? This is a biggie. Marriages are not the only relationships that are meant to be equally yolked. Friendships need to also be on the same page so that both parties are able to help each other and evolve.
Am I happy for my friend when they win? Is my friend happy for me when I win? This is the question that solidified for me where a few of my friendships were suffering. I had to take a step back and think about whether my friend was willing to cheer for me, even when they’re not at the top of their game. It’s not a matter of competition, but if I stop myself from telling you of my successes because I’m unsure of your response, I have to slow it down some.
Is this still a sacrifice I am willing to make? This is probably the heaviest of the questions, but also the most important. Friendships take sacrifices, and if we are no longer willing to give time, energy and effort to our relationship, what are we holding on to?
This all probably feels a little scary, because who really wants to question whether your best friend since kindergarten is still your best friend. But, when it comes to thinking about purpose and future, you have to be able to trust that whoever is in your camp is not going to burn down your tent when you’re not looking.