7 Ways to Keep Your Friendships Non-Toxic

  1. Stay Positive

Flip negative statements by highlighting the positive aspect of the situation. Acknowledge a not-so-pleasant current situation and think through a positive solution with your friend. If there is no immediate solution, listen and have compassion. Offer to pray. Overall, let your friend associate you with realistic optimism.  

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  1. Give the Temperament a Chance

We may have that friend who is often too passionate or too soft-spoken or too boring and other form of “too” something that we do not like. Oftentimes, this is a result of the person’s temperament, which they may not be able to control in the short-term. Do not dismiss someone on the basis of their temperament alone. Take this as an opportunity to work on a virtue you do not posses e.g. patience and fortitude. Try to see their temperament as part of human diversity. If you become good friends, perhaps you may be able to help your new friend improve her temperament.

  1. Avoid Criticism and Gossip

Gossip builds a lack of trust between friends. Deep down, we know that someone who gossips with us, will likely gossip about us. No friendship can be built on this foundation unless it is immediately repaired. This means that this behavior is avoided at all costs going forward. Anytime gossip is brought up, find excuses for the behavior of the person you are gossiping about.

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  1. Practice Empathy

Be happy when your friend is happy. Be sad when she is sad. Imagine yourself in your friend’s shoes and this will help your empathy. Pray for your friend without saying that you are doing so always. This is the best form of empathy there is.

5. Listen to Give Support

Actively listen to your friend when she is speaking. Wait patiently for her to be finished with her thoughts. Ask questions to clarify. React appropriately to indicate that you are listening. Follow up with questions of support. For instance ask what her plan is in the circumstances or ask whether she has considered some other options.  Do not impose suggestions or be forceful. Let your friend make her own (informed) decision with your support.

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6. Honesty and Fraternal Correction

Friends ought to be honest with each other. This way they can rely on each other for the truth of all circumstances. They can also correct one another where there are faults. This correction should be done in a natural and gentle way. Do the correction with love. Lead with her strengths before mentioning the bad habit that needs attention. Once you have made the correction, listen to give any necessary support or empathy. If possible, do something fun together after correcting.

Remember to keep corrections few and far between. Correct your friend only after you have thought about it and after you have made a decision to correct a similar defect in your character.

7. Be there in Hard times

Stay with your friend in good and bad times. Good friends ought to be there for each other even in adversity (Proverbs 17:17). Purify the intention of your friendship. Ensure you are friends with this person for the sake of friendship with that person. Make sure you are not using that person for what they could give to you. Treat your friend as an end in themselves.

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