This article is dedicated to the countless women that have struggled with maintaining and having healthy friendships with other women. I write from my own struggles in this area as well as what I hope to leave you with some hope and encouragement.
So many women I know have deep scars from rejection and betrayal. It has left many in a state of distrust and brokenness. As women when we love, we love deeply, for most women we give our all in our relationships. But what happens to the women who feel the sting of rejection and betrayal? It can leave a woman fearful to have intimate relationships, especially, women who have been scarred numerous times. If a woman comes from a background of abuse she will feel the pain of rejection and betrayl even more.
We may have tried countless times to have intimate relationships with other women, but each relationship ended in some devastating way and we are now more guarded, more careful. Should we be that way as Christian women? The answer is not that simple. I can tell you that we are not supposed to fear and we are to be vulnerable to others, but I can also say this as a counselor and as someone who has been through my share of failed relationships with women that it takes time to trust again and opening yourself up to another immediately is not healthy or recommended. You could easily get hurt again if you take the plunge into a relationship that just started. Be gentle with yourself if you have been wounded and feel like you are not able to trust. I would even recommend that if you have been very wounded in relationships that before you step out and start forming relationships with others that you heal your relationship with God first and then yourself.
If you have just one valuable friend, then you are blessed. But even more so, Jesus wants and desires to be your best friend. You can tell Him anything and He will never judge you nor betray you in any way. Your personality trait may be more introvert and if that is the case don’t try and force yourself to have numerous friendships or force yourself to be in awkward social situations. You may prefer the company of one, and that is okay. Someone else may prefer the company of many and that is okay, but never try and be something you’re not! God will change you if He wills and can even change your personality if He wills, but if that does not happen, then embrace who God made you.
You may be in a time in your life that you have few if any friends and you feel like a loser and a failure, but you are none of those things. You are valuable, precious and have worth. God knows where you’re at and at the right time, He will bring others in your path who will love and accept you for who you are. Don’t push or rush ahead of God’s time. You may feel the sting of being lonely and that is not easy, but you are never alone, God is always there. If you are in a season where you have limited friendships, let God be your friend and when God prompts you to reach out to others, do so.
You may not feel accepted by other people and feel rejected but God does love you and He does accept you. Begin to reach out to others slowly as God leads you to. Maybe you can join a Bible study at a church or attend a women’s event. Just start being around other women, even if it is in a group. Start slow and allow God to heal your inside, your soul. Know you’re not alone, there are countless other women who have felt the pain of rejection and betrayal.
You might even wonder what the hallmarks of a healthy relationship looks like. I have complied a list of healthy traits to look for from my personal experience and what God has taught me during painful times of experiencing rejection and betrayal. Look for these the next time you are wanting to engage in friendship with someone. It is not important that exhibit all of the traits but should have more of the positive traits then not. It is hard to say to a woman who has been hurt and wounded, “Just make more friends, open yourself up, or you have to trust again.” Saying those things to a woman who has been hurt is like pouring salt on her wounds. She knows what she needs to do, but her heart that gives so freely and loves so much can’t seem to force herself to go through more pain and trauma.
Traits to look for in healthy friendships:
1. Do they follow Christ? Not just go to church but are they Disciples of Christ? Do they produce good “fruit?”
2. Are they emotionally, spiritually, mentally stable?
3. Are they financially responsible? Good stewards of their time and money?
4. Are they “emotional vampires?” Do they “suck” the life out of you or enhance your life?
5. Do they want all your time? Are they jealous of your relationships with others?
6. Do you place their friendship above your spouses (if married) and do you spend more time with them then your spouse?
7. Are they your best friend or is your husband if you’re married?
8. Do they run to you to gossip or to talk endlessly about problems instead of praying?
9. Do you feel energized after being with them or drained?
10. Are they respectful of your time? Do they expect you to spend ALL day with them verses a few hours?
11. Are they respectful with your spouse? No calling, texting, emailing, or touching without your permission.
12. Do you do more fun things together than talking about their problems?
13. Are they concerned about what you are going through and ask you what they can do to help you?
14. Do you pray together frequently and share God’s word?
15. Do they make you feel guilty? Do you feel pressure to have to see them?
16. Do you feel tempted to sin if you are around them?
17. Do they live unrepented, sinful lifestyles?
18. Do you discern that something is not right, you just can’t put your finger on what it is?
19. They don’t have any other friends but you, and they tell you that frequently.
20. Is the most important person in their life Jesus Christ and this is evident in their lives?
21. Are you compatible? Do you like the same things? Does the conversation flow or is it forced? Are you compatible spiritually? In other words do you believe and operate in the spiritual gifts but your friend does not believe in spiritual gifts?
22. Are they negative or faith-filled more? Are they victims of their circumstances or victors over their circumstances?
23. Do they have boundaries?
You are not alone and there are ways to heal and form healthy relationships. Take your time and let God bring those friendships into your path. Pray that God will bring the friendships He desires for you into your life. If you have been hurt in friendships, than sit back, relax and let God pick your friends. Tell God how you feel and let Him sort it out for you, and don’t worry about a thing!
If you need encouragement, prayer, or even would like to participate in online counseling for women, you can contact me@ www.christianhopecounseling.com or through Gospel Guidance@ www.gospelguidance.com/5311-sreck
I would love to hear from you! Share your story with me and send me an email@ Stephanie.christianhopecounseling.com