When we feel tension in our friendships, it usually stems from small unchecked habits practiced week-by-week versus one big explosive point of conflict. Small, seemingly harmless things creep in and negatively impact the heart of our friendships. Unless we intentionally acknowledge what kind of friendship habits we practice (healthy or unhealthy), these three things are going to quietly kill your friendships:
Habit 1: You Never Stopped Looking for New Friends
Are you pursuing too many friends at one time? I know this seems contradictory to growing community but, when it comes to deep friendships—less is more.Unfortunately, we often are tricked into feeling like having just a few friends is “not enough.” So, we decide to go look for more friends to add to our contact list (just in case everyone else is busy) and find ourselves lonelier than when we started.
There are different seasons when we need to make new friends: moving to a new city, starting a new job, or meeting new roommates. Usually though, we do have a collection of friends that we already try to squeeze in time with alongside our busy schedules. So, the more we continue to seek new friends, the less time we spend developing our current friendships. Ask yourself if you are developing your current friendships or cycling through surface-level ones because your friends never feel like “enough?” Once you find your people, be okay with giving them your time and energy to go deep.
If you are still unsure, let the facts speak for themselves in this post “Quantity versus Quality: Is there a limit to how many friends one girl can have?
Habit 2: You Forget to Communicate Your Expectations
When seasons change, it is important to talk about your friendship expectations together otherwise we fill in the blanks ourselves.
I often hear women complain that they struggle to stay connected to a friend who just got married, had a baby, or recently moved across town (some change in their season). They are worried that their friend’s priorities have shifted, and they feel sad about “losing the way the friendship use to be.”
But guess what? On the other side, the friend in a new transition is also feeling lonely. As much as she loves spending time with her husband or new baby, she feels isolated when her friends choose to not include her because they assume she doesn’t have time for them.
Friendships do change in different seasons, but we can’t assume we know why our friend has been behaving differently.
Talking openly about what may change in the friendship during a new season of life leaves little room for the enemy to fill in the blanks with lies about our friendship. Communicate what you expect in your friendship and find that there is so much more grace and understanding when you understand both sides.
Habit 3: You Neglect to Tame Your Sarcastic Tongue
I’m not sure where you stand on the debate of sarcasm, but in my personal experience nothing ever good comes out of a sarcastic comment pointed at a friend. Sarcasm may make the group laugh or it may be your personality, but it is a quiet friendship killer when it is taken too far. I have witnessed sarcasm hurt a friend, been a victim of a sarcastic comment and most likely used sarcasm to cover up a hurtful opinion of someone else.
Your words have weight. People are more affected by our negative comments than our positive ones. “Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones.” People cling to the bad comments because it leaves a bad taste in their mouths that are hard to forget. If we spend our quality time masking our comments with a sarcastic tone, our friends will slowly disengage with us.
Kind words are sweet to the soul and health to the body (see Proverbs 16:24). Let’s be aware of how we use our words without friends to build them up!
Intentional or not, these habits are hurting your friendships. Take an assessment on some of your friendships to see if you recognize any of these signs and then make small corrections to bring more LIFE to your and your friends.