Every time she mentioned his name, the tension was almost palpable. We both knew I was struggling to keep my opinions to myself. She already knew how I felt. Carol and I were good friends, but her affair was off limits. They were both married to other people and while they enjoyed pushing the envelope…all I could see was the inevitable destruction that would follow. It is hard to sit on the sidelines, watching someone you love play games that you know will only hurt them.
Disagreement in a friendship can be excruciating. Connection becomes strained as you try to dodge conversational landmines struggling to redefine “safe” parameters in the relationship. Lulls in conversation are reminders of the things you can no longer share. Eventually, the silence becomes an emotional distance threatening your friendship.
It’s International Women’s Friendship Month and every real relationship faces tests, but we don’t have to lose them over “outside” issues. It will require adjustments on everyone’s part, but we can agree to disagree!
To save my friendship with Carol, we both agreed that it was just a part of her life I could not share. If you’re navigating turbulence in your friendship, consider these strategies:
1. Avoid emotional manipulation: Giving a friend the cold shoulder because she doesn’t co-sign on your behavior is immature. Lay aside defensiveness because there is a chance that you are wrong! If you are wary of the motivation behind the counsel—address it!
If you know your friend is telling you the truth, but you’re not ready to accept it—say so! We can’t strong-arm others into agreement. Their approval might make us more comfortable with a poor choice—but it won’t make it right. We can’t expect others to deny their convictions for the sake of our comfort.
We must be honest and let loved ones know that we appreciate their concern, but we’re willing to deal with the consequences. Now, between us—the truth is when we act against what we believe to be right we’ve convinced ourselves that we are above the potential consequences. We’re only fooling ourselves because sin will eventually demand its wage.
2. Deal in grace and space: It can be hard wondering if a friend will eventually return to their senses. But here’s the deal—you’re not God. It isn’t your job to make others submit to the truth.
The temptation is to wonder if we even know who our friend really is. But obedience to our convictions isn’t the basis for the friendship. We may need to make readjustments, but love demands that we protect the friendship as much as possible. We don’t want to alienate ourselves and make it impossible for our friends to reach out to us when the day of reckoning arrives.
We can’t sacrifice our convictions by engaging in activities—or conversations—that go against our beliefs. But being clear about where we stand can save the relationship. Simply tell them, “I love you, but I can’t support your choice. Right now, I understand that this is an area of your life that we can’t share.”
It’s never easy to navigate relational challenges, but we lose so much more when we quit on our friendships!
Do Your Work! If you’re struggling in this area, I encourage you to share this article with your friend. Then schedule a time to discuss it. Work together to determine respectful boundaries that will preserve the friendship.
Define Your Wealth! Affirm, “I am a loyal friend. I lead and influence others by living a life of character, integrity and balance.”
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.