Look around your social circle. Think of the 20 people that are most often at your parties, on your Facebook wall, or texting you. Got those 20 in your mind? Good?
Do any of those people sound like this:
- They are upset because you want to go to bed early and get your 9 hours sleep.
- They are upset because you don’t eat junk food with them or drink too much with them.
- They are upset because you protect your time with your family at night or weekends.
- They are upset because you don’t gossip with them.
- They secretly rejoice when you experience a failure.
- They begrudge your successes.
- They try to get you to say or do things that are contrary to your moral code.
Any of these ringing a bell?
They are dragging you down. Don’t let them take you one inch lower.
They are not your friends. They are not. Stop pretending. They are dragging you down. Find some real friends.
As Christians, we must love everyone, especially our enemies. We pray for them, but we don’t need to pour out our scarcest asset for them: time. Yes we are called to be the Good Samaritan, but your tangible friendships are limited by time. So invest wisely.
Saint Paul reminds us that vicious people (in the form of sin or bad influence) do in fact negatively impact our lives:
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Cor 15:33)
Also, Aristotle taught us that a “friend” is someone who “loves your soul.” He writes:
Those who wish good things to their friends for the sake of the latter (virtue or character) are friends most of all, because they do so because of their friends themselves, and not coincidentally” (N. Ethics, 1156b9–11).
If you’re going to a be a saint, you need some real friends to help you along away.
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PS: For men, I’d recommend the Troops of Saint George as one of the easiest way to meet fantastic and virtuous friends. My best friendships of the last two years were formed in TSG.