A friend is doing something you don’t approve of. What do you do? What does it mean to be a true friend? It’s not like they’d listen to you if you chastised them. They actually might feel abandoned by you and get really defensive…maybe even hurting your friendship.
Here are four things that I try to do, but often fail at, when it comes to guiding other people:
- Prayer. Wisdom and perspective come through prayer. If you’re not clear what to do, don’t panic and spout off (classic thing for me). Wrestle with it in prayer.
- Timing. Choose the right time, bypass the not-so-good ones. If you can’t find a good time, try to create one by planning a hangout at the coffee shop or a drink after work. Even then be cautious. And…try to be sneaky with it. Don’t call up and say, “Hey can we hangout tomorrow after work? I have something really important to talk to you about.” They will inevitably respond, “What about?” Then you either have to lie or tell them to wait, which is awkward.
- Demeanor. Well first, if you enjoy confronting your friends about this stuff you have a problem and aren’t the right person to do this. This shouldn’t make you happy, and it should show on your face. Show your general concern that what they are doing is harmful. Be understanding at underlying issues, like “I just wanted to be happy.” And think: non-anxious presence.
- Questions. Lots of questions. Present the dilemma to them rather than giving your two cents. Chance are they know what they’re doing is wrong, but are untruthful to themselves. Questions allow self discovery.