Have you ever heard the expression, ‘If you hang around with bank robbers, you’ll end up driving the get away car’?
I have a confession to make. I used to hang with bank robbers.
Okay, maybe not literally. I did hang around girlfriends with seriously skewed value systems, though. It is naive to think that everyone who seems kind and looks like they have it all together is a good person to befriend.
So, I guess I was naive.
If you hang around with girlfriends who don’t have a value system to match your own, you’re asking for trouble. If your friends are women careening towards the deaths of their own marriages, the ruination of their finances or the total neglect of their health, you’re unlikely to avoid that same fate. On the flip side, if you hang around women who have good marriages, good values and who display good judgment, you are more likely to develop those abilities, too.
Who you share your intimate details with matters. Your small-talk matters. The advice you listen to matters.
You Can Keep ‘Em!
You may now be wondering why you should have tight girlfriends at all if they’re just going to get you thrown in jail for robbing a bank.
Sure, you can avoid negative influences by avoiding close friendships altogether, but that’s not how you were designed. Humans, and female humans in particular, are drawn to community and relationship.
This is bad news for someone who thinks they’re going to stay away from negative influences by avoiding relationships.
This is, literally, the same as saying you’re going to avoid eating anything unhealthy by choosing not to eat at all. At some point, in the not too distant future, you’re going to be ready to gnaw off your arm. And, no doubt, you will find yourself at a drive-through window before you even get past your wrist.
Relationship works the same way. You were created for it. Sure, you might be married but God didn’t want you to only be in relationship with your hubby. In fact, there is a passage in the Bible instructing us to be in relationship with other women in order to enhance our relationships with our husbands.
You were create with an appetite for a variety of relationships and, if you try to deny yourself, you will wind up with whoever was close-by when you got desperate.
You’ll be at the drive-through window of friendships.
Deciding who to marry is too important to just take whoever is nearby at the right moment. So is choosing friends. If I’m right that you can’t simply not choose any, then we better figure out the function of friends in our lives so we can decide if a potential bestie has the goods to do the job.
The Function of Friends
As I mentioned, there is scripture to back up our need for relationships with other women who can influence us positively in our lives as wives, mothers and citizens, in general. Titus 2:3-5.
Make no mistake. We will be influenced. Friends have a function that won’t be denied: to influence us in the direction of… of what?
Ah. That is up to us to decide. Where do we want to go in our marriage? With our parenting? Our education? Our faith? The function of friendship is to help you get where you’re going and to add joy to the journey.
The trick is to pick friends who are going where you want to be.