• Gladys Olivia King

When Good Friends Make Bad Decisions

What do you do when you have to stand back and watch your good friend make a bad decision? When it seems like all of the sound advice and wise counsel they've been given goes in one ear and out of the other? What do you do when they even agree that your concerns are valid, but still do what they want to do (which happens to be the opposite of what you think is best)?

I think it's safe to say that we've all been here. We've been the friend with a friend who made a bad decision, and we've also been the friend who made the bad decision. Still think it doesn't apply to you? Let's swap out the word "bad" for "unwise", "irresponsible", or "rogue". lol You know, when everyone around you has given similar advice but the decision you come to is contrary to their judgment. Regardless of whether or not you think you were right, the reality is that the judgment you made was unfavorable in the eyes of your friends (or your family). And 9 times out of 10, they had to be very intentional about not letting their frustrations eclipse their love and pleasant feelings toward you while you did it.

At the end of the day, any true friend is going to be emotionally invested in the decisions of their friends. They want to see their friend win, they want to see their friend prosper, they want to see their friend healthy, and they want to see their friend safe. If anything in their purview appears to threaten that, they're going to have an opinion about it, and while there may be logical reservations, they'll have some emotional roots. I think this is why it's so hard to be indifferent when our friends make decisions that alarm us. If a client or stranger wants to go a different way--cool. But if our friend has a behavior, friendship/relationship, or makes a business/money decision that raises red flags for us, we become concerned about our friend's quality of life (and sometimes even their state of mind). And as friends, we won't accept anything less than the best for our girls, period! So, we don't just sit back--sometimes we pray they see what we see, give advice, insight, share concerns with mutual loved ones, or maybe even attempt an intervention if we perceive things to be that serious. But after all is said and done, and nothing about their business decisions, behavior, lifestyle, or relationships change--then what?

The truth is, deeming a decision "bad", "unwise", or "irresponsible" is totally subjective. And no matter how right we believe we are, at the end of the day, it's still our opinion, and our friend's life is not ours to live. Let me tell you what I know: as surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, grown folks are gonna do what they want to do, every time. They can hear you out and even understand where you're coming from, but it's not always enough to change their mind. And that's okay. We are not responsible for bearing the burden of others' life choices--no matter how close to us they are. Even parents reach a fork in the road where they have to release their children to live their own lives, even when that includes decisions they don't agree with. So whether it's your friend, sister, brother, cousin, etc., share wisdom and insight as you feel led, but don't EVER take on the burden of changing someone's mind.

So, then what I do I do, G?

I love my friend but I'm frustrated with my friend.

I love my friend but I'm not happy with my friend.

I love my friend but I'm worried about my friend.

When I realized I wanted to write about this friendship topic, I asked God the same thing--because I, myself, didn't know the answer! His response was so short and simple: pray My will.

When we pray God's will, it ties up every loose end. No need for fancy words, countless conversations, or travailing until things change. At that point, we have given our friend over to God, who can reach them at much greater depths than we can. At the same time, consider that sometimes what we think is best for our friend, isn't. We have to humble ourselves and remember that while God appreciates our service, He doesn't need our help. Even when we don't understand or approve of the paths our friends are on, we have to trust that God sees a much bigger picture, and He is strategic in what He allows.

Love your friend (just like parents still love their wild child; just like Christ still loves you), pray God's will, and invite the Holy Spirit to settle your mind and heart about the matter (He will do it).

Whew, I hope this brought you some perspective! I love y'all for real.

- G

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