{3 min. read}

Sometimes to protect your relationships you have to say “no” to other ones.

Last year, I took a step back from two godly communities I really cared for. As I tried to manage all these different communities, I found myself growing bitter when the new communities took time away from my close relationships. The decision to stop attending these groups was not easy and came with a lot of prayer and counsel.

But to protect my current friendships, I knew I had to say “no” to truly great people so I could say “yes” to the relationships God had already given me to steward.

I treat friendship very seriously! When I commit to being a part of your community I expect to be present, thoughtful and fully invested.

I’ll be there when I say I’ll be there.

I’ll follow up when I ask for your number.

And I’ll create a safe space for us to get to know one another.

I’ll protect my “yes” by honestly evaluating what I can give to the friendship.

I don’t like to have one foot in and one foot out. But that’s how I was treating these other women and it wasn’t fair to them.

protect friendship

There are seasons when we find ourselves with capacity for more new friendships. God has given me some really sweet friendships these last few years that were unexpected and worth reevaluating my time to fit them into my regular friendship routines. But when we find ourselves in seasons with more limits; instead of overwhelming our schedules, we can politely decline new invitations to tend to the relationships we currently are cultivating.

So if you feel…

  • stretched thin
  • burnt out
  • relationally fatigued
  • bitter towards new friendships

…you have permission to evaluate your different responsibilities and ask God which ones are good and which ones are great.

As you assess, ask yourself:

  • Are these women reciprocating a relationship with me?
  • Do I have the time in my schedule to fully invest in growing these friendships?
  • Do I enjoy spending my time with these people?
  • Are these relationships mutually life-giving?
  • If I wasn’t giving my time to this community, how would I be spending my time in its place?

Once you’ve made a decision, be intentional about your “yes’s” and your “no’s.” For me, when I decided to stop attending the different groups, I made sure I didn’t spend that extra time watching Netflix. Instead, I would spend time in God’s Word or get together with a girl from our small group. Where would you like to see your friendships grow? Making new friends is a great choice! Loving on the friends you have, also a great choice! Having the capacity for both, a blessing!

Needing some ideas for how to make space in your calendar for life-giving friendships? I wrote out my process for creating friendship habits in this article: “Creating Friendship Habits for Every Season” for a more step-by-step approach.

If you are someone who has received a “no,” remember that “rejection is God’s protection.” If someone didn’t have time or energy to be a good friend to you, it’s better to have an honest and clear answer versus an unreliable friendship.