You swore you’d be BFFs forever, but then they put photos of your ugly toenail fungus all over Instagram. That stuff hurts, man!
We are meant to be totally, utterly, deeply relational—it’s one of the ways we are made in the image of God. Which is why it hurts so much when a friend betrays us. But before you go and accuse your friend of foot-shaming, a good question to ask is: Am I blaming the wrong person?
Sometimes we feel hurt because we have expectations of our friends that haven’t been met. We all have different types of friendships: the ‘deep and meaningful friend’, the ‘party friend’, or the ‘chill out’ friend. It’s not fair to blame your friend for not being there for you when you needed to talk, if they’re more of a party friend. It’s important to think this through before you decide you are never, ever, ever getting back together, in the wise words of TayTay.
But if you know your friend has let you down in some real way
—they’ve lied to you, or betrayed your trust—it’s okay to tell them you feel angry and hurt. It’s actually better to express how you feel, than pretend everything is okay. The Bible says you ‘can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!’ (Jeremiah 6:14, TLB).
Once you’ve been honest about how you feel, you’ll be in a better place to forgive. When any type of relationship breaks down, God always wants us to forgive wherever we can. Forgiving another person releases them from their debt to you.
It says, ‘It’s okay, I’m going to let you off.’
That may feel unfair. And it kinda is. But think about the ultimate act of forgiveness, when Jesus was on the cross and said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’ The sacrifice Jesus made was deeply unfair. He took on all our hurts and mistakes—even though he’d done nothing wrong—and forgave us so we could have an unbroken relationship with God.
In some ways, all of our relationships are mini examples of God’s relationship with us. God asks us to forgive each other, so we can be whole and healed. Bitterness will only infect the wound further and leave us isolated.
Forgiveness doesn’t always mean letting that person back into your life. Some friendships aren’t good for us—and forgiveness may mean letting go and moving on.
But at the end of the day, God’s best desire for us is reconciliation—re-uniting and bringing us back together. God reconciled with us through Jesus. And (unless it will harm us) he wants us to reconcile with each other. ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love,’ says Ephesians 4:2. Bear with your friends. After all, they bear with you.
What kind of friend are you?
Take our wildly unscientific quiz to find out what kind of friend you are.
When you’re on the dance floor, which describes you best:
a) Everyone surrounding you, chanting your name, while you give a hip-hop masterclass.
b) Doing a cheeky robot—you’re an undiscovered talent.
c) You’re on the spray bottle, dousing the sweaty party animals.
d) You’re persuaded to join in, and have fun with your friends goofing around.
Your friend tells you running a marathon is on their bucket list, you:
a) Are seriously concerned, and ask them what’s wrong.
b) Make a pact to train together.
c) Organise a cheerleading team for the big day.
d) Are really interested, and ask what is motivating them.
There’s a pretty wild game of Twister going on when you walk in to youth group. Do you:
a) Yell ‘Incoming!’ and dive into the middle of it.
b) Ask cautiously if you can join in.
c) Enjoy watching from the sideline.
d) Get chatting to your youth group leader about life, the universe and everything.
Your friend is crying, your first instinct is to:
a) Tell a joke to lighten the mood.
b) Hug it out.
c) Ask what you can do to help.
d) Put an arm around them and tell them they can talk if they want to.
If you were a super hero, you’d be:
a) Wonder Woman—stylin’ and fierce.
b) Iron Man—no actual super powers, but a lot of enthusiasm.
c) You’d rather be a sidekick—all the fun, without the responsibility.
d) Batman—mysterious and moody.
An ideal friend is someone who:
a) You can always laugh with and knows just the right song for the occasion.
b) Will always have your back and believe in you.
c) Will give you space to talk and just be.
d) You could call anytime for a deep and meaningful.
Your BFF tells you about the hottie they’re crushing on, you:
a) Immediately go and tell said hottie—hey, your friend’s a catch and time’s awasting.
b) Make an awesome-as plan to get them together.
c) Make a pinky promise to keep their secret forever.
d) Ask for every detail of every moment they’ve ever shared. So romantical.
Your now-former BFF told the hottie you’re crushing on about it, you:
a) Bide your time. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Bwahahahaha!
b) Are devastated at first. But guess what? Hottie McHotface likes you back!
c) Cut them out of your life. You cannot stand disloyalty.
d) Talk to your friend about it, and realise they were just trying to help.
Two words: Par Tay. You are funloving, outgoing and love bringing people together. You’re at your best in a crowd. You’re so busy having fun that you can sometimes be thoughtless to your friends, but you always have good intentions.
You are a super-supportive friend who prefers to be part of a small group of kindred spirits. You are quietly confident, but you don’t need to be the centre of attention. You thrive when your friends encourage and believe in you.
You are the wind beneath the wings of your friends. You prefer to be in the background, helping whenever you can. You’re shy but fiercely loyal, which is why you’re such an awesome listener.
You’re the one your friends call in the middle of the night in a crisis—they know they can confide in you, and you’ll listen as well as offer some solid advice. You are genuinely interested in others and think of your friends before yourself.