The following was taken from "The Purple Cellar", Lydia Brownback's blog. http://www.purplecellar.com/2010/05/friendship-part-2.html
There may be one more entry, but I thought these two were so good, they couldn't wait. Friendships between women seem to be more complicated and certainly more dramatic then friendships between men. Perhaps it's because of our emotional make-up, how we define friendship, or my favorite excuse, menopause--just kidding, but suffice it to say, you usually don't see the soap opera-ish developments in friendships amongst men that you do between women. I have seen a lot of shipwreck in church bodies due to drama in friendships because proper guidelines for friendship were not followed. Unfortunately, it not only affects the "friends" but everyone around them as well, and can be devastating! Lydia offers some very time tried advice--hey, it's Biblical advice--for women when developing friendships.
"What is a friend? A friend is more than a simple association. It is someone we choose to trust. Trust is implicit in friendship because when we choose a friend, we are placing ourselves in a position to be influenced. That’s why we are wise to base our closest friendships on more than common-ground defaults. We naturally bond with someone who “gets” where we are in life or with someone we work with or who has a similar schedule. But although commonality makes for friendship, it isn't enough. That's because the choices we make in friendships are always a direct reflection of our relationship with God. Here are two general principles for spiritually healthy friendships:
1) A friend is not meant to take the place of God. If we find ourselves overly dependent on our friend’s advice or presence or voice on the phone, or we find ourselves jealous of her involvement with others, it’s time to consider the possibility that the proportion of the friendship is off.
2) A friendship is never just about what we get out of it. God didn’t give the gift of friendship so we could gratify ourselves. Sometimes we grow dissatisfied with our friends because we are seeking to get something rather than to give.
Friendship—godly friendship—is something we’re considering this week (scroll down for the first post). The sort of friendship in view here isn’t “friendship,” the kind with quote marks that alludes to “romance.” We’re talking about platonic friendship. Here are some friendships don’ts (next time we’ll look at some friendship dos):
1. Don’t get too close to someone who claims to be a Christian yet is consumed with the pleasures of the world. Sometimes we can be an influence for good; often we cannot, but discerning which is which can be terribly hard. One way to know: Am I drawn to God after spending time with my friend, or pulled away? Paul also wrote this: “I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother—or sister—who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person (1 Cor. 5:9–11).
2. Don’t give away your heart to an unbeliever. Proverbs 24:21 says, “Fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise.” This doesn’t mean we don't reach out with our lives and actively love unbelievers--just the opposite, in fact. What we are talking about here is linking ourselves emotionally to them so that they hold influence over us. “Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals'" (1 Cor. 15:33).
3. Don’t get close to someone just because she admires you. This is a very tempting thing to do. The best way to detect whether this motive underlies a particular friendship is simple: we are drawn to a particular friend primarily because we know we are admired.
4. Don’t think that just because you’re popular, you have a lot of friends. It’s easy to collect a lot of people, but some are going to fall away when our brains or looks or talents no longer benefit them in some way. True friends love in the face of weakness, disappointment, and seasons of low-benefit friendship payoff. Do we love our friends the way we want them to love us? Or do we drop them when they fail or do something stupid or something that gets you irritated?
True friendship is never conditional, apart from the condition of holiness.
What is a friend? That's what we've been thinking about over the past week. A friend is more than a simple association. It's someone we choose to trust. Trust is implicit in friendship, because when we choose a friend, we place ourselves in a position to be influenced.
We’ve looked at how to choose godly friendships primarily by contrast—a shortlist of friendship don’ts. Now let’s spin that around. Are we in the do category or the don’t?
In other words, how can we be a wise choice for someone else? Here are five suggestions.
1. Do guard your words. “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Prov. 11:13). This gets to the heart of gossip, doesn’t it? Gossip includes not only what we say but what we listen to. Someone who gossips about one friend to another reveals an unfaithful spirit toward those friendships. The result, Proverbs tells us, is relational brokenness: “A whisperer separates the best of friends” (16:28). No matter how strong a foundation a relationship has, gossip will bring it down. No matter how close your friendship--the shared memories, secrets, hopes, and disappointments--Proverbs teaches that gossip has the power to wipe all that out.
2. Don’t be clingy. “Seldom set foot in your neighbor's house, lest he become weary of you and hate you,” advises Proverbs 25:17. Clinginess shows primarily in a possessive spirit. Do we find ourselves jealous of the time a friend spends with others, or when she reveals confidences to a different friend?
3. Don’t get mixed up in other’s friendships. Know when to stay out. “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears” (Prov. 26:17).
4. Do hold your friend accountable for godly behavior. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27:6).
5. Do recognize that even the best of good friends will let you down. Don’t drop a friend when she fails you; real love is offered with no contingencies. The only way to love like this is to remember we have an ultimate friend in Jesus. He is the only one who will never fail us.