Hello there. Friendships, I would say are the most foundational of relationships and that highlights their importance. Even the bible reckons that there is little a righteous can do with a faulty foundation. In an age where the essence of friendship is undermined, where some people see it as a dangerous ‘zone’ to be in, I dare say that, there would be fewer dysfunctional relationships, if time is spent in building healthy friendships. But we just want to jump the broom and get to the ‘next level’ without sitting the promotional exams of friendship. At times, I hear reasons why some relationships fail and I sincerely wonder how people start out relationships with a person they have no basic knowledge of. Having said this, it is good for us to know what to look out for in a friendship, to make us know that it’s most probably dangerous. So today, I would love to share 7 red flags to look out for in your friendship.
You are likely to be in a toxic friendship;
- IF YOU HAVE TO FORCE THINGS
If you have to force things to maintain a friendship, you are most likely not in a friendship anywhere but in your head. Because a friendship like any other relationship is meant to be mutual. So if you are always taking the first step, always doing the ‘trying not to lose’, if you know the friendship won’t move at any time without a shove from your end, my dear, you are in that friendship alone. It’s okay to make an overture, it’s okay to be proactive. But if you are literally dragging a person to be friends with you, you don’t even have a friendship, to start with, talk more of having a lethal one. Leave it be.
- IF YOU DON’T AGREE
Amos 3:3; “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” It is simple, we are the ones who try to make things unnecessarily complex. If you two have conflicting priorities, you can’t walk together and remain the same. I’m not saying that you can only be friends with people who have the exact same mind as you, of course not, that is not even possible. Neither am I saying you have to completely steer clear of people whose priorities are at logger heads with yours. My point is, you should only be as close to a person as much as your priorities are in sync. Cutting it straight, you as a person who takes his walk with God seriously cannot be best friends with someone who does not and expect it not to have an effect on your relationship with God, or a strain on the friendship. You cannot say you are in pursuit of excellence and entangle yourself with friends who love mediocrity. But of course, I can be best friends with someone who does not like chocolate, even if love it –off the record; How can anyone not love chocolate tho? Na G, I don’t think I can trust such a person. It all boils down to what is most important on the priority list being in alignment.
- IF THEY ARE NAY-SAYERS
This is pretty much straight forward, it’s pointless claiming to be friends with people who see no good in you. Friends who never have something good to say about what matters to you. The next point would put this in right perspective.
- IF THEY ARE YEAH-SAYERS
This sounds paradoxical, especially with regards to the previous point, but if a person you claim is your friend never sees a reason to demur to your opinion, if they have a ready ‘yes’ to everything you say, they are most likely not being real with you. Such friends are probably seeing your faults and shutting it in, because they do not want to hurt you. Mind you, this is in no way noble. It’s definitely not easy to tell a person you care about ‘No’, ‘You are wrong’ or ‘You have messed up’ and stand by it, especially when they are seeking support, but there are times when it is necessary. And a good friend would point out the truth regardless of circumstance. The Yorubas say a good friend would tell you, if you have a bad breath, and I very much agree.
- IF YOU DO NOT THINK THEY HAVE YOUR BACK
This is not new at all. They look out for each other, that’s what friends do and so if you think-with good reason- that your friend is going to stab your back when you are not looking, you should know that friendship is not healthy. Now I must lay emphasis on the fact that this should not breed suspicions in friendships as that is hazardous. But if you have reason to think of your friend as disloyal, make sure it’s salient enough, before you act out on it. Take for instance, I have a friend who splays the ugly privileged info (s)he has about someone, every time, I should not be shocked if the same person displays my discrete things carelessly.
- IF THEY IMPOSE THEIR OPINOIN ON YOU
These set of people would not let you have a mind of your own. You dare not object to anything they say, else you become a Judas Iscariot. If you think a person they hate is not hate-worthy, they start hating you. You do not need this kind of baggage in your life biko, even couples do not have brains that are in sync, because God wants individuals to own a unique mind, so someone trying to make you see everything like (s)he does, is only trying to rob you of your individuality, now that is cruelty. Oh, that escalated quite quickly… Such is the harm of lethal friendships.
- IF THEY FERRET IMPORTANT INFORMATION OUT OF YOU, AND ARE ALWAYS AT THE RECEIVING END OF IT
It is fine for friends to ask questions, it is even okay for a friend to ferret an information out of you, given the degree of closeness. However, a good friend would respect his/her friend’s decision on what they choose to (not) talk about. But the set of people I’m talking of would not only question you on things they know you are not comfortable talking about, but even after you have given them a dismissive answer like ‘It is well’, ‘We trust God’ –we all know how to whip up those religious lines when we want to hold the cards to our chests, don’t we?’- These guys would still press on with more questions. They would literally put you in a sieve and would not stop shaking it until you let fall the exact thing they itch to know. It gets worse when this kind of person knows how to change the subject when it’s their turn to answer questions. THIS IS A WAVING CRIMSON FLAG! UNCLE, AUNTY, LIZZEN TO ME; Are you hearing? Take off ya shoes, is that done? Good. Hold it in ya hands, checked? Now, RUN!
Your life is not Facebook, you owe no one news feed.
There we have it. These points have not been canonized anywhere, they are however my honest thoughts. Ponder on these points. Now, I’m sure someone is coming to your mind as the perfect example of a lethal friend. Halt those thoughts. Turn the attention around. Yes, let the searchlights face you. The question now is, are you a lethal friend to someone? Make it your priority to be a good friend.
These days, good friends are hard to find,
Because everyone is trying to find a good friend,
And no one is willing to be one.
Now, if this makes you know for sure that you are in a lethal friendship, honestly you do not need such toxicity in your life. You know what to do, make use of that scissors.
Let’s end with this scripture from Romans 12:10 from the much loved Message version. “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle” And what does it mean for one to play second fiddle?
Goodness to the rescue. According to the Oxford advanced learner Dictionary, 9th edition –even I am rolling my eyes. Lol- okay, play second fiddle (to somebody/something) to be treated as less important than sb/sth; to have less important position than sb/sth.
Basically God is telling us to let our friendships come from a place of sacrificial love, love unfeigned.
Have fun building healthy friendships.