Our friends are in our lives for a time. Some will be there for a very long time, and others, for a short season. Sadly, some friendships can become toxic. So sometimes it is necessary to do some cleanup.
It is surprising to see Paul’s extreme attitude toward certain believers. “But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortionist. Don’t even eat with such a person.” (1 Cor. 5.11 WEB) Paul advised avoiding contact with a Christian who has devoted himself to sin. He goes even further a few verses later. “If any man doesn’t love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Come, Lord!” (1 Corinthians 16:22 WEB)
It may seem a bit extreme, even exaggerated, to separate yourself from other Christians. However, the stakes are colossal: we are talking about your salvation here! If our Christian friends do not follow what God asks of them, they risk influencing us and we could dangerously start distancing ourselves from God. This is what the apostle Paul wanted to avoid. Our Christian friends should elevate us in our faith, build us, and not influence us to lower our standards.
If this principle applies to our salvation, it also applies to our relationships. Your entourage speaks volumes about you. For example, if your buddies openly talk about their sexual adventures, no one will believe that you have decided to keep yourself for marriage. Your reputation is important because it will attract people who look like you. If you want to change your life and build a Christian family, you should consider the possibility that you may have to do some clean up in your contacts.
It may be time to change our entourage when we are the last one in the group to be single! Married couples, especially those with or expecting to have children, have a very different schedule than a single person. They may find time to spend with their single friends, but the long road trips between friends will be much less frequent. The subjects of conversation for couples will also be different from those of a single person. It is not bad (it is even advisable) to have good relationships with couples when we are single to know a little about the day-to-day of living together. But if all your friends are in a relationship, you may feel a bit isolated at times. Making new unmarried friends might be necessary.
It would also be wise for you to consider changing your group of friends if they all have a negative opinion of relationships. Whether they are frustrated, wounded from a past relationship, or whether their current relationship is floundering and they only have horror stories about living together as a couple, it might be wise to find other friends who have positive experiences. Otherwise, you will begin a relationship with negative thoughts, likely placing yourself in a defensive and suspicious position. Which is not fair to the person who just came into your life!
How to make a new group of friends? First, do not be sad! If you have to seek out new friendships because all your friends are married, don’t be depressed. Yes, these few people are married, but there are still thousands of singles in the world: you are not the last one! It is important to refuse sadness or disappointment, otherwise, you will have a depressing demeanor while seeking new friends. That is definitely not the right attitude to have to meet new people! One chapter ends, but the next one may be even better! Do not despair: your new group of friends is not there to replace your previous friends. Neither are they consolation prizes! There will be new horizons to be discovered, with their strengths and weaknesses.
Where to find new friends? Start serving at your church, where you will meet great people! You can also serve in other Christian events, depending on your interests. Invite someone that seems to share some of your interests for coffee or any other activity. Continue to feed this new friendship through other activities, encouraging messages and words. Repeat the process with other interesting people and create a small group. Building new friendships may be uncomfortable at first, but leave your pride aside and invest in these new relationships. You will find the discomfort will quickly disappear.
Since you are working on that, why not create a new circle of mixed friends. We have already spoken about the advantages of having friends of both sexes in our circle. (Please read this article by clicking here.)
Finally, have fun, encourage each other and build yourselves up. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16 WEB). That’s what friend are for, or?