When Friendship is Tough

I’m guest posting over at inCourage today and would love to have you pop over for a visit. But first, what do you do when friendships get tough?

One of the wisest pieces of advice on friendship I ever got was from one of my daughters. She was in middle school at the time. You know that awkward place where insecurities run rampant, hormones rage, and your best friend one day becomes your worst enemy the next?  So lovely.

She got in the car one day with tears filling her eyes. She waited until we pulled out of the school parking lot to let all her hurt leak down her cheeks.

“Rough day?”  I asked.

“Awful.”  She replied.

I turned down the radio, waited until we were at a red light, and reached for her hand, “Wanna talk about it?”

“Nope,” she whispered as she turned her face away from me toward the window. The rest of the night she sulked around the house. And no matter how many times I tried to get her to talk, this normally very vocal child wouldn’t open up.

The next morning, I was surprised when she bounded down the stairs with a smile on her face.

“Well hey!  You sure look happy this morning,” I said as I lifted up quick thank you prayers to God for whatever had brought back the sunshine to my girl’s life.

“Mom,” she said with great authority, “I’ve decided something about friends. They all have good stuff and bad stuff. Things you like and things that really annoy you. So, you just have to decide if you can handle their package deal.”

How wise. How true.

Friends are a package deal. And sadly, not all friendships will stand the test of time.  Some friendships are for a season.

But other times, we have to be willing to deal with the messy stuff to fight for our friendships.

Recently, I had something hard happen with a friend I dearly love and greatly respect. A misunderstanding. Hurt feelings. Frustration.

Part of me wanted to distance myself because it was hard to sift through the hurt. But as I prayed through it, I had to remind myself this person is a package deal. Part of what makes them a great friend that I love being around is their tenacity and passion to accomplish tasks with excellence. But because they are so task oriented, they are less relationally sensitive.

And if I’m honest with myself, I can see that I’m a package deal too. With good stuff. And annoying stuff.

They have issues. I have issues.

We’re both messy people, willing to work on our not so fun stuff, who are fully aware we’re going to hit some muddy little potholes along our friendship path.

But we’ve decided the package deal is worth it. Ephesians 4:2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”

How might this help you look at a friendship differently today?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below. For a couple of hours this morning, I’ll be responding to as many of the comments as I can possibly get to. I can’t wait to chat with you!

Now, time to announce some winners!

The winner of the She Speaks $100 scholarship is Linda Robins. And just as a little side note, the She Speaks conference is 2/3 of the way full already! So, don’t delay getting your registration in if you’ve been thinking about coming.

The winners of the Made to Crave for Young Women books are: Carissa Huffman, Leauna Brown, LeAnn Eshelman, Renee Toutman, Angela VanderSmitte, and Michelle Benton.

To claim your prize, email Lindsay@Proverbs31.org.  Congrats!


  1. says

    I write in erasable marker on my mirrors throughout the house – love notes, scriptures. Eph 4:1-3 has been on my entry mirror for about 4 months now because it epitomizes my calling. “walk worthy of the calling you have received.”. Wow! I am called to be a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter. Each calling requires unique qualities and equipping the only Christ can give. To walk in patience with everyone is not a suggestion, it’s a requirement. Thanks for the reminder. (And thanks for Made To Crave. It’s been such a blessing to me.)

  2. says

    thank you for summing this business of friendship so eloquently. In belonging to a group of core group ladies they had prayer cards that each one of us took each week to pray for the things written on the card that that person needed prayer for. Mine simply said befriend me,. I no longer am in that circle although I am glad that I got the chance to help them out as was asked when they needed someone to do that,. then things went awry or maybe they were awry from the start. Did god have a hand in this? Possibly. any way, this article helped me today in a big way. am happy now about what took place in a life even tho I will not or rather can’t go back in their circle. God doth have a humor even in bad times. I thank you for this article today. Love your articles that come to me via e mail each day.

  3. Dawn says

    Hey Lisa- I am amazed at the maturity and positive outlook and approach to friendship your daughter has shown this week. It touched & really spoke to me. A package deal to love one another- bearing with one another even when we are sometimes unpleasant with each other. The verse you used was the same one in my husband and my devotion we do together just a few days ago. It is so hard to deal with family, friends, church family at times but this is an outstanding attitude verse we should all try to live by because like you said we are all messy and unpleasant at times. Thanks for so an awesome devotion.

  4. Cindi Caldwell says

    You don’t know how much this truly hit the spot for me today! I have been battling for months now with a situation with a friend of mine. I love your daughter’s revelation of friends! I have been praying and I know that God placed this blog for me to see at just the right time!

  5. Tasha says

    Today is the first day since March 7th that I have logged on and a post beyond March 7th has shown up when I come to your home page. I have tried my laptop and desk top. Not sure what that is about. Glad I can access your blog again.

  6. Andrea says

    This post was an absolute God-send. Almost like a God wink. It seems that there are times that God rams me with ideas or particular topics that are of great help to my inner turmoil at the time regarding those topics. I am so thankful for such a post to read at this time… I recently had a situation with a friend that really turned poorly and we are working our way back to even ground, but I really like how you summed up that it truly is a “package deal”. I suppose that is where true love for our friends comes in. If we all were so easy to love, then it would not be hard. I think it’s part of God’s refining process.

    Thank you.

  7. says

    Thanks for this one for sure. I’ve spent the majority of my life nearly friendless, mostly by choice. I prefer to blend into the wall paper rather than take a chance that my heart will get smashed to bits by someone. But, thanks to God, I have brought a few amazing women into my very tight circle. It has been very emotionally difficult for me to do this, but now that I’m in so deep I have no choice but to keep going, I realize how important those friendships are to me. I’ve been blessed with women that will love me no matter what, but will call me out when I’m out of line – or when I”m getting off track. They expect the same love and respect from me, and I’m doing my best to live up to that. Seeing that I’m not the only one that struggles with all this friendship stuff means a lot to me. I’ve spent my whole life wishing I knew how to have friends. It just seemed like something I’d never get, but everyone else already had. I was so far outside of everyone’s circle, I just knew there was no way I’d ever get in. I guess the secret is to start your own circle and to open it up to eventually include other circles (UGH that sounds like an add for Google+ – sorry!)

  8. jillie says

    Dear Lysa…Thank you (and your Daughter) for this reminder that friends are a package deal. Just as we, ourselves, are. Good and bad. Beautiful and ugly. I don’t have a vast circle of friends, but only a few that I cherish. My dearest friend, of some 40 years, has the capacity to stir a mixed bag of emotions in me. She knows my raw spots and often chooses those to get a rise out of me. Yet, I love her. Wouldn’t want to be without her. One day when I was voicing frustration to the LORD about her, He showed me what a treasure she is in my life, and how often he uses her to teach me valuable lessons I probably wouldn’t learn otherwise. Really, I have become a better person through all the experiences I’ve had with this one friend. She is definitely in my life for a reason….and, it appears, for the duration. 🙂 And, of course, to be fair, she has had to put up with a lot from me as well. Loving unconditionally…that’s what we do.

  9. says

    I enjoyed reading this post. I am striving everyday to be the kind of woman God wants me to be. My pastor has used those same words “invest in someone” that you used in this blog. I find its much easier to be friends with the people who are friendliest. And I know that God has put certain people in our paths to help us along the way in our faith walk. I am finding it hard to tollerate some people who are mean and hateful, but I realize that those are the ones that we must be praying for. As I was reading your blog, God brought to mind, this one particular lady, that I have a hard time with, that I should “invest my time” in her. Please pray for me, all of you who might read my blog entry, pray for wisdom and knowledge in how to proceed in this matter. This is a true FRIENDSHIP CHALLENGE. Thank you Lysa, for being a willing vessel and listening to our Father in helping all of us with our walk… God bless you and your family, friends, and with this Ministry.

  10. Tina says

    having a hard time dealing with this exact thing right now and finding a way to heal from the hurt of being let down by someone I considered to be a close friend. God knows what we need when we need it. Thank you so much for sharing this!!