Written by cycleguy on July 25th, 2013


Friendships are touchy things.  Some last. Some don’t.  My best male friend, Doug, and I have been friends for over 40 years.  Others run through “friends” like water runs through a sieve.   Jay Kesler, the former president of Youth for Christ, once said, “One of my goals in life is to wind up with eight men who are willing to carry one of my handles.”   🙂

One of the most enduring friendships was the one between Jack Benny and George Burns.  George was asked about it and he said, “Jack and I had a wonderful friendship for nearly 55 years.  Jack never walked out on me when I sang a song, and I never walked out on him when he played the violin.  We laughed together, we played together, we worked together, we ate together.  I suppose that for many of those years we talked every single day.”   You don’t hear much like that any more do you?

Friendships have the ability to pull us up or tear us down.  Frankly, no matter how much we talk about acceptance, there are times we need to be a tad bit more discerning toward who we hang around with.  The Apostle Paul knew that: “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.”  I Cor.15:33   George Washington knew it: “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

There are some people we ought to avoid or stop associating with.  I plan to talk about those people Sunday morning:

  • The Chronic Critic
  • The Controller
  • The Tempter

I also plan on spending some time in Proverbs 6:16-19. But I don’t plan on doing that in a negative way, but in a positive light.  And if I may so bold, that is an assignment I’d like to ask you to work on.  Taking those characteristics listed, how would you put a positive spin on them when it comes to people with whom to associate?

I’d like to hear you thoughts.  I’d also like to know how you discern whether you will stay in a friendship with someone or cut it off. 



30 Comments so far ↓

  1. Daniel says:

    I haven’t had a close friend for quite some time now. For me, going out for coffee a few times a year with someone I know is a big deal. I have long since accepted that it’s me not them. I struggle around people and tend to withdraw. However, I have ended a few relationships when the person betrayed me somehow. That said, my most frequent reason for “walking away” from a friend is when they move away.

  2. Dan Black says:

    Great post. It’s a fact that we become like the people we associate with, either for the good or bad. When I was in High School I associated with the wrong type of people and it was leading me down a dark path. Luckily, I changed my ways and learned to spend time with those who are Godly and heading down the right path. I could write an entire book about what it took to switch my relationships around. Great post and thoughts, Bill!!!

  3. Caleb Suko says:

    Great quote by Jay Kesler! Honestly I don’t give it that much thought. I try to be a friend to all and it seems that there are always a few who will respond and a deeper relationship develops. That being said there are a few occasions in my life when a friend became a former friend. This was never my choice as I always tried to pursue the relationship. Usually this happened when someone turned away from Christ and the church, thus making it difficult for them to hang onto their friendship with me. I think part of being a good friend is also lovingly correcting when a friend is making big mistakes in their life. This will either result in a deeper relationship or the ending of the relationship.

    • cycleguy says:

      When someone turns away it is difficult to maintain that friendship. I think it is mostly out of guilt since there isn’t much in common and they tend to be afraid you might preach to them. Thanks Caleb.

  4. I have a couple of good friends who I know will be there no matter what. Otherwise I keep guys at a certain distance until I get to know them because I don’t want a lot of people to have influence in my life.

  5. It’s a tough one. I don’t know that I’ve ever “cut someone off,” per say, but there have definitely been relationships where I’ve put some distance or at least changed the way we spend time together.

  6. What a great topic. I’ve had lots of bad experiences in this area. Now I know I can’t be friends with deeply insecure women prone to jealousy who refuse to say, “I’m sorry.” I can spot these women quickly now and can’t be close friends with them. Fortunately, I have a number of wonderful, close friends now. I used to think that if someone was mistreating me, it was my fault. No longer.

    • jeff says:

      Can you please tell me how you spot the deeply insecure women prone to jealousy that will never be sorry. I think that is something us single guys need to know.

  7. floyd says:

    While all of us struggle in the flesh, for me, it’s about moral character, not perfection, but striving to be people of honor. When a person’s words don’t match their actions they won’t be on the inside of my life. It seems pretty basic; don’t lie, cheat, or steal, but it’s found in the little things. The people that are striving for the same goals in life, even if they don’t know Christ, I believe they’re on their way.

    Treating people the way of the golden rule goes a long way in being a good friend. Praying for you and yours for this weekend.

  8. Kari Scare says:

    Using what you’re talking about to evaluate one’s own friendship is important. Even more important is to determine to be the kind of friend that receives a “well done good & faithful servant.”

  9. Betty Draper says:

    I have a few friends shattered all over that I would go to for advice and listen deeply to what they have to say. It does not take long after meeting someone if they are an “all about me” person to show. Those are the one after trying for a while to reach beyond the surface level that I will usually shy away from. What is exciting is to meet someone like that, not seem them for years to find out something has changed…it no longer is about them but about Him. I always think, now we have something in common, this could be more then a surface relationship. I have learned to not expect my friends to meet my standard but want them accept them as part of me and I will do the same. Took me a while to get to this place. Good post brother, I had to read it three times to hear what my heart said about friends.

    • cycleguy says:

      Great point Betty. It is hard to be around someone, let alone in the same room, with someone who is “all about me.” It is maddening. That gets old quickly. Accepting others is a huge part of it also.

  10. David says:

    I carried one of the handles of my best friend’s casket when I was 18. I can’t say that I ever developed a new “best friend” since then. I think men in general don’t “friend-up” as readily as women. As an introvert, I’m somewhat of a loner, I do a lot of observing (like your friend, Zee).

    On the flip-side though, the friendships that have developed over the years are important to me, and though I’m not an overly “social” person, I definitely value those friendships. One benefit of being an observer that is slow to “friend-up” is I can’t think on any friendship that I’ve had to “cut-off” for undue “negative” influences because those friendships never developed in the first place.

    • cycleguy says:

      That had to be heart-breaking at 18. At any age for that matter. There was a book several years ago called “The Friendless American Male.” Talked about what you are expressing. Glad though you have developed some friendships over the years. And it doesn’t always hurt to be an observer. 🙂

  11. Ending a friendship in my experience is usually an organic thing. What I mean by that is it usually just happens in a natural manner. There is no “break-up talk.” Both parties just seem to know. Hope this makes sense. And I hope it goes well for you this Sunday. That is a good and somewhat difficult passage.

    • cycleguy says:

      I tend to agree with you Matt. Telling someone “I can’t be your friend anymore” seems out of whack for me. Distancing myself is more my style I think. Thanks. Also hope it goes well for you this Sunday.

  12. Jeff says:

    Of all the “Things to have in this world, “Friends” are in the TOP 3. The vast number of people I associate with can not be avoided. They are the people I work with.
    I determined who I do and don’t want to be associated with a very long time ago. Most of my friends go way back. I may not see them often but when I do it is fun. And we know if there is anything we can do for each other the wish is always granted. We will always have each others backs so to speak.

    • cycleguy says:

      No argument here jeff on “Friends” being Top 3. (Not that you would care). 😛 I think you are right in determining who you do and don’t want to associate with. Friends do have other friends’ backs.

  13. Tammy says:

    When I first looked, I thought #3 Temper was Tempter…lol. Shows where my head is. But that is what friends do…which is why it’s important to carefully choose who you are I relationship with.

  14. Good stuff. I’d always echo the advice to befriend people you want to be like, because chances are it will happen.

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