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Why talking to a friend may be the worst thing you can do...

Here is why talking to a friend about a problem with another person doesn't work...

If my vision of what is taking place is distorted then her vision is also going to be distorted. If I call her up and share the low lights, the things that upset me, the things that hurt me, how I feel about them and see them, and don't share the other person's perspective or take their side or account into consideration then she is going to give me a biased report back. And, it is going to be exactly what I want to hear. (This is even further compounded when a person strategically leaves out any information that makes their self look bad.)

How do I know that? How can I say that? Because I am feeding her the information that I want her to have. And, she already knows my past, my struggles, my weaknesses and fears; which are also what I am now talking to her about and reminding her of. So, her judgment is going to be based off of that and her desire to protect me. It honestly got to the point where I no longer even needed to call her because I knew exactly what she was going to say.

Also, if I am continually talking to my friend over and over and over about the problems I have with another person, then I am poisoning her mind against that person. I am conditioning her to only associate that person with the negative and the hurt. So, each time she is going to have an even harder time seeing the situation as an isolated case and she is going to automatically connect it with past transgressions that have already been worked through. I am setting her up to be against this person and to struggle even more to be open to their perspective. That is also going to make it extremely difficult to ever expect the two of them to get along and hang out, which is only going to make it even harder on me in the long run.

Plus, just talking to talk is never a good thing. Whether you realize it or not, you are loading your friend down with your burdens and that is a lot of pressure to carry. They may even get to the point where they don't want to hear you. Or, they may start to get angry if you don't take their advice. The turmoil could eventually spill over into your relationship and wreak havoc. When I started seeing the toll my need to talk was taking on my best friend, I realized that I needed to find a better, healthier way.

That is why I no longer talk to others about someone that has hurt me. I go straight to that person. If that person is too closed off and the issue is too big to let go and the relationship is important to me then I will try to talk to one of their confidants. Mathrew 18:15-17 says,

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.   But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.   If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

There are several reasons that I choose their friend or a mutual friend instead of my friend. I don't want the person I am in dispute with to feel attacked so it will be much easier for them to talk with someone they are comfortable with rather than feeling ganged up on by me and one of my friends. Also, the main goal is that I want us to come to a place of healing and understanding. I know my friend is automatically going to side and agree with me. It's easy to have two or more agree against someone when those two or three are already on your team to begin with. I know that their friend loves and cares for them as I do. I know that person sees this person in their best light. I know that person doesn't want to hurt or judge their own friend. Plus, I don't want someone to feed me full of more reasons to be upset and not trust. I want to work through. I want to gain understanding and find mutual ground and restore peace. So, I try to find a person that I believe is healthy and reasonable and able to step outside of their self or their perspective and see from all angles. I want a person who will be able to help us reach an understanding.

Preferably, and in a perfect world, all friends would be left out and a mutual, independent person would be sought out by both parties together.

Exodus 20:16 - “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Proverbs 11:19 - With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.

Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Proverbs 16:28 - A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

1 Timothy 5:13 - Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Proverbs 20:19 - Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

James 1:26-27 - If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Matthew 7:12 - “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

James 1:19 - Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

Proverbs 17:9 - Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.


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