[Friendship Gone Wrong] A Tale of Two Friends
Sarah and Kelsey are best friends. A year ago, Kelsey walked into Sarah’s dorm room to borrow a textbook from her roommate and noticed Sarah watching her favorite movie. Forty minutes later, after discussing plots lines and rehearsing favorite scenes from the movie, they became fast friends.
Over time, they did everything together—Bible study, accountability partners, and finally, the Facebook profile picture with the label “Besties” made it official. Sarah and Kelsey began to see their other friends less and less. The ease at which friendship came to them was convenient and fun. They began talking every day, sharing deep emotions and feelings and praying for one another. Eventually, a day didn’t feel complete until Sarah had talked to Kelsey. When Kelsey had a hard day, she immediately texted Sarah for consolation. She knew Sarah would pray for her anyway. It was hard for them to imagine what life was like before they were best friends.
As the school year came to a close, Sarah and Kelsey made the obvious decision to be roommates the following year. This would save them a lot of texts and phone calls for sure! And how much fun it would be to live together! Though they had a 2-bedroom apartment, they found they were often up late talking or watching movies. So the decision was made to just share a room. Sarah had a queen bed in her room, so Kelsey just slept with her there. They often fell asleep talking. Conversation was as innocent as what professor to take for calculus or where to eat lunch the next day. Slowly, falling asleep talking became falling asleep holding hands. Holding hands became cuddling.
Sometimes their physical affection made others uncomfortable; they had even been called a "frouple"—friends that act like a couple. But Sarah and Kelsey loved it. Their friendship felt safe and provided them with stability and security in a relationally unstable world.
Then one summer, everything changed. Sarah went on a mission trip with her church and met another friend, Amy. Kelsey could tell by the Instagram updates that Sarah really enjoyed her new friend. She was anxious to have her roommate back. But when Sarah got home, things were clearly different. She wanted to invite Amy into their activities and often invited her to spend the night at their place.
The intense jealousy Kelsey felt was overpowering. She felt betrayed, hurt, and angry. She was losing her best friend and she didn't know how to stop it. The gut-wrenching hurt was more profound than anything she had experienced before. She would do anything to get Sarah back.
This is the story of a friendship gone wrong. Somewhere along the way, Kelsey began to look to Sarah for things only God should give: worth, purpose, belonging, and security. This is the story of a friendship infected with idolatry. And it happens far too often.
Not every unhealthy friendship has the same symptoms, but jealousy, possessiveness, exclusivity, fear of new friendships, and an overall deep need for a BFF are all branches of the same tree. Join me as I shed some light on this issue by answering the following questions:
- What is idolatry? What does the Bible say about it?
- What does idolatry look like in a friendship?
- What are the signs of an unhealthy friendship?
- What is the true purpose of friendship?
- What do healthy friendships look like?
- What can you do if you are in an unhealthy friendship?
- What are the cultural trends in friendship and how does it affect us?
I pray that through it all, you will catch the vision of an all-satisfying God who has more satisfaction and joy to offer us than we would dare think. And of friendship FOR Jesus; Christian camaraderie that is about getting more of God in our friendships not more of each other.