A solid friendship is a true gift, one that shouldn’t be underestimated. People that have been entrusted with the title of “friend” are a great source of guidance and compassion from the Lord. A good friend is someone you can tell anything to, be unapologetically yourself around, and turn to in times of joy and pain.
Which makes it sting all the more when you start dating someone (maybe someone you met through online dating) and your friends don’t like your partner. Suddenly, you may find yourself feeling caught between two worlds: your friendship and your relationship.
There’s a heavy social emphasis on an intertwined circle of friends. Think about Galentine’s Day from Parks and Rec, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and countless other examples in media of clusters of friends who are more present than family. It’s become commonplace to give and take “hard truths” between friends in the name of love.
What do you share with them?
I had a friend who was so involved in her relationship, that when she was happy, we never heard from her. But when they fought for any reason, she resurfaced with nothing but complaints. Our only scope of reference for this man and their romantic relationship was in the moments there was a problem.
It’s easier to whine about people than rave about them, especially if you’re undergoing some relationship problems. No one wants to seem like the braggart, going on and on about their perfect relationship. It’s simpler instead to fit in with the crowd by agreeing with the universal complaints of relationships.
But if you want your friends to know the person you love, share the details that make you love them. Share the sweet moments, the silly moments, and even go so far as to invite all parties to a social event together so your friends can see the connection in real life.
Wondering about how that couple’s relationship turned out? They got married. I’m now blown away by how they bring out the best in their spouse and how strong their relationship is.
What do your friends want for you?
I genuinely believe friends who are loud about disliking your boyfriend or girlfriend don’t have ill intent. But relationships do have the power to change a person, for better or worse. Even when it’s better change in the long run, change of any kind can upset what has been a smooth sail.
When it comes up, if you feel confused or conflicted about the insights and advice you’re getting, ask your friends: What would you want for me?This is a simple way to change the direction of the discussion. This question can also provide more understanding to their perspective.
How does your heart feel when your friends talk?
Since the Holy Spirit can speak to us through others, pay close attention to how your heart responds to the feedback you get about your relationship from a person you trust.
If you’re listening to your friends’ concerns or thoughts about your situation and you find your heart is restless, stirring, or anxious, then they may be onto something.If you hear your own worst fears reflected in their dislike of the relationship, they’re most definitely onto something.
On the flip-side, maybe your heart has peace when addressing their concerns. The discontent could be coming from feeling unheard or misunderstood by them. This may be a sign that your friendship is changing with the phase of your new chapter and relationship.
Ask the Lord for clarity
Call on the Holy Spirit to help you determine how your heart is feeling, and what those feelings mean for your greater call.Whatever the answer, God will guide you down the path He’s made for you so long as you’re willing.
Sometimes you may not be able to carry everything—or everyone—with you that you hoped. Have faith that whether it’s your friends or your romantic relationship that you’re surrendering, God has more in store for you than you could even imagine.