Healthy Friendships: Not HER Jesus
What do you do when a friend looks to you as their Jesus? As their Savior? As the person who can make everything better for them? As the person they run to first for advice in every area of their life? If you have started to feel uncomfortable or have even been experiencing grief in a friendship and don't know why, you probably need to establish some boundaries in that particular friendship.
Practical Ways to Not Be Her Jesus
1. Write a letter to yourself about your feelings.
When dealing with a friend who takes ALL your energy, you might not even be aware of WHAT feelings you are feeling. Taking time to be still, think and consider what you are feeling about the friendship can help you uncover and pinpoint why you are feeling what you are feeling about this particular friendship. Then you can know how to begin establishing boundaries in the friendship.
2. Learn the art of listening to her
You don't have to offer advice to your friend every time they ask. Women have a need to "feel" needed and desire to help their friends. But think it through. For some women, your advice can become the crutch they look towards receiving in the future. Learn to listen to their issues and not feel compelled to fix their problems.
3. Point her to scripture
Pointing your friend to the Bible to answer their problems is a healthy way to remove your opinions from the conversation instead of advice and get her thinking toward looking to Jesus to bring her burdens to.
4. Learn to ask her questions
A friend who is looking to you to answer their questions continually will most likely do what she wants to do and not listen to your advice. Learning to ask her questions like, "What do you think you should do?" or "How do you feel about that?" or questions like this can bring the conversation back to how the friend is feeling and help her to answer her own questions. This removes you from being her Jesus.
5. Allow space in the relationship
A friend who takes more than she gives can be so exhausting. Some questions to ask yourself to determine if you need to allow yourself some boundaries of space are:
- Does this friend call/text me too much (what is too much?)
- Does this friend expect me to pick up the phone every time she calls me? Does she react in a way that makes me feel guilty for not calling her back?
- Does this friend expect me to drop everything to come to her rescue?
Putting space in the relationship can be learning to say, "I am not taking calls during this time" or "I am only going to be able to talk at night." Learning to know what your boundaries are and become confident in sharing them can help you begin to relieve you from the burden of being her Jesus.
Last, there are friendships that can become so one sided that you may have to back off completely. I don't know what that looks like for you. It doesn't mean you aren't friendly, but it does mean that you may need to remove yourself from the day in and day out relationship. It may mean spending less time with that friend.
I know this is hard to talk about. It's hard to write about. But we want to be a healthy friend and create healthy friendships. The quicker we know what to do and how to do it, the better we can learn to establish healthy friendships.