Cull Your Friends?

friends2Here’s the theory.  Christmas is approaching. Cards are expensive – and friends can be too. But the good news is, you don’t have to put up with it. You don’t have to put up with Them.


The ones who have been sick for a boringly long time.

The ones who ask for more than they give.

The ones whose situation has changed; lost their job and can’t afford to buy a round. Had kids and can’t get a babysitter. Marriage break-up and need a friendly ear.

The ones who are stuck in the past whilst you’ve moved on.

The ones who challenge you on issues you don’t want to hear.

Cancel at short notice. Phone at inconvenient times. Keep droning on about their dog or their roses or their new man or their problems.


Seriously.  Why not chop down those friendships that aren’t pulling their weight?  Like gardening, except with relationships. Prune Your Pals. Cut Back On Deadwood Mates.

Emotional hoovers, sucking up your precious energy juice. Stopping you from being all that you can be.  Remnants from the past, when you’re trying to break free.

Life’s too short for these sorts of people, right? Time and energy and money, all of which could be put towards better use. Shoes. Sparkly Friends. A new box set. Sure, they’ll hurt – for a bit. But they’ll cope. If they don’t, it’s not your problem.  And anyway, what’s more important?  Living your best life now? Or limping along with life’s losers?

This is the kind of nonsense I’ve been reading in magazines recently. It gets dressed up under words like ‘Empowerment’ and ‘Tough Love’ – but there’s nothing empowering or loving about it.

My first issue (and I may be alone), is this: I don’t have a million mates to cull – and the ones I’ve got, I kind of like.

I like spending time with them.  I like that they share their lives and struggles with me. It’s not always convenient, but it’s a privilege.  And time and again, they do the same thing for me.  Picking me up when I’m down.  Walking with me through years of the same struggles.  I like that they challenge me, (not at the time, admittedly.  But later.  When I’ve prayed their words through and they sort of make sense).

Plus the ‘loser’ list sounds awfully familiar.  Less like Other People and more like – er, me. (Note to friends: don’t cull me!! I can change! Maybe…)

And finally this: I think I like the sound of the losers.  They sound like they might be human.It’s the people writing those articles that scare me.



9 thoughts on “Cull Your Friends?

  1. Love!
    Thanks, Emma.
    The losers also sound like the kind of people Jesus would have gone round to for dinner. Cannot wait.

  2. What about when those friends are people who are tearing you down, telling you things about yourself which condemn and go against the gospel, who control your actions and define your worth, who cancel at short notice- repetitively and deliberately to keep you in your place, who gossip about you, spreading both false things and things with which your trusted them, who lie to you, who physically hurt you?

    I’ve “culled” those friendships, because they were destroying me, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done… but they asked for more than they gave, they canclled at short notice, they were emotional hoovers and remnants from the past, and I don’t know whether I was right to distance myself or not?

  3. I think I would be on everyone’s ‘cull’ list. Thanking God for true friends – mainly Christians, but not exclusively – who have stood by me.

  4. Hi Emma, thanks for this. It made me think greatly about some of the negative relationships in my life. I can really understand where Jess is coming from. Sometimes relationships are just to unhealthy for us to remain in. What I’m learning (& I hope that this may help Jess too). Is that actually every decision I make needs to be boldly surrendered to God before I act. If I act independently of God, then I am doing things in my own strength. I’m a people addict, people pleaser, people fixer, who’s burnt herself out on trying to meet everyone else’s expectations. At the cost of a real relationship with God. I’m learning now, that God must be the centre of everything in my life. That includes my friendships & family relationships. So to give an example. When a text comes in, I can’t trust myself. I’m lonely and depressed. I long for deep relationship with individuals. So I read the text. I stop myself replying. And I ask three key questions:
    1. What do I want from this person?
    2. What do I think that person wants from me?
    3. What does God want me to do?
    The first two questions are very revealing. You start to discover what your triggers and drivers are. And what you believe other people want, need or expect of you. Powerful and often painful emotions are revealed as we discover what are real feelings are. God wants these feelings felt & expressed to Him. And yes, it will be hard, facing up to the truth of what is really lurking in your heart. But if it’s in your heart, then it is better to know about it, confess it, repent and experience the grace of Jesus, working these issues out in you, through the power of His Holy Spirit. Just today, God has revealed to me the hate, resentment, bitterness, lack of trust, how unsafe I feel in my heart, with regards to certain family relationships. And I’ve been willing to be honest, maybe for the first time with God, that these things are sin in me. I need His grace at work in me and his forgiveness for harbouring these attitudes. I feel horrible about them, I feel unclean, vulnerable, broken, but that’s the point. Because it’s when we face Christ, with our ugly hearts, it is then, that He can loving replace them with the new heart he has for us.
    What I have often being looking for is a quick fix to fill the empty void inside me. Only now am I beginning to realise that God doesn’t want me to fill my empty void by putting someone else in His place. He is the only one who can meet the critical needs that each of us has. We are all broken people, but we have a God who mends hearts & longs to be the one that we love, with all of our hearts, soul, mind and strength.
    I hope that helps some people, who may be struggling with what to do with difficult friendships.

  5. Hi Jess

    Excellent point. Of course there are times when we need to end certain relationships: especially if they’re physically or emotional abusive. It sounds like this was a prayerful and painful decision for you – and the very opposite of the articles I’m criticising, which see friendship as something disposable and all about what you can get out of them. At the opposite extreme however (and as you’ve experienced), there are people who were never friends and are positively harmful. These relationships can’t and shouldn’t be nurtured. Faithful Hope’s response is very wise; even when we cut off from these folks they can damage us, which is where we need the Spirit to heal and restore. Praying this will be your experience too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *