We all know that toxins are never a good thing to ingest in any way shape or form. We are warned what to avoid and how to prevent poisoning ourselves.
Wouldn’t it be nice if people had such warnings? I’m sure you can all relate to the problem of toxic friendships — aka, friends who not only do not lead you closer to God or to your potential as good, successful adults, but who actually lead you AWAY from all things good.
I have had my share of these. To illustrate, I’ll give you a little anecdote.
I graduated from college in 2010. I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville, and after spending 4 years there, fancied that I was at my spiritual high point. I thought I was SO spiritually solid that I was invincible. But after about 6 months in the “real world,” I was proved dead wrong.
I spent a large amount of time with the “friends” that I had made post-graduation, and most of them were not Christian, let alone Catholic. I learned more than I ever wanted to about all things sexual, and over time the fact that I am not (and never have been) sexually active became more and more a topic of discussion. It became apparent that when they said they were going to set me up with someone what they really meant was they wanted me to finally “get some.” As if I had been missing out or somehow my life was less than it should be without sex. (I’m not against sex, for the record. I am just against sex outside the context of marriage. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s the long and short of it.) And while I never actually did get set up with anyone and they were not successful in their endeavors, I did find that I was much more desensitized to conversations, images, and ideas that just a year before would have shocked me and made me blush. Now they were commonplace to me. Those people….they were not friends. They should not have been allowed to be as close to me as I let them. They were not good people to have surrounded myself with for so long.
But then I moved to Texas, which, although I did spend a good amount of time with others, also afforded me a lot more time alone than I had before. During this time I was able to focus completely on me; through a great deal of introspection I realized that, if I was someone else and I met me, I wouldn’t like me. I was able to spend an entire year working to refocus my mindsets, and to get back to the point where I was again disgusted and appalled by anything unGodly. And that became my goal for the year: to again become someone I was PROUD to be, someone who I would want to be friends with.
I can now say that at this moment I firmly believe am spiritually better off than I have ever been before. I have more or less detached from those friends, and have strengthened my friendships with other good, wholesome young adults — not all are Catholic, but all have only my best interests at heart. I have strengthened my relationship with God first and foremost, and through Him I have been able to avoid the triggers I was previously unable to.
Looking back I see more clearly just how much effect our friends have on us. It is vitally important to choose your friends wisely, and to align yourselves only to those who endeavor to lead you closer to God and to assist you to be the best person you can be.
And also, when you find a friend who’s truly from God, make sure to tell them. When you mean it, you can’t say “I Love You” too much. It’s impossible. ❤
And I guess that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂