By Dr. Randy Carlson

Friendships are enriching experiences, but they can also cause pain. Assessing the health of your friendships will enable you to improve the relationships you already have, and help you with your choice of friends in the future.

Proverbs 17:17 describes a true friend as “always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (NLT) Healthy friends:

  1. Love and influence each other – without controlling each other.
  2. They are honest with each other – without fear of rejection.
  3. Respect each other enough to speak the truth – and hold each other accountable.
  4. Don’t manipulate or play mind games to get their own way.
  5. Gain joy from their relationship.
  6. Have shared values.

In friendships that are not healthy, you’re not sure if you can trust the other person, so you hold back on what you say. You also feel you’ll be judged, or that you’ll easily offend the person.

Right now, specific people in your life should be coming to mind that fit both healthy and unhealthy categories. It’s also possible that you’re seeing, perhaps for the very first time, that you may be the unhealthy person in a friendship because of how you treat or think about the other person.

One Thing you can do today to further examine and improve your friendships is to make a list your five closest friends. Then ask yourself:

  • “Does this relationship exhibit the characteristics of a healthy friendship?”
  • “What would make the relationship better?”
  • “What could you say to your friend to truly express how you feel?”

Write down your answers for each friend – then pray, plan how you will respond to each person, and take action. The quality of your relationships will be better for it.


Taken from The Power of One Thing, © 2009 by Dr. Randy Carlson. All rights reserved.

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