When Friendship and Core Values Collide

As we’ve looked at the topic of fierce friendship this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the friendships that have lasted in my life and those that have not.  The reasons for letting go of a friendship may seem quite varied, but it’s usually not very complicated.  I believe most friendships separate over a difference in core values.  

Have you ever had a friend move and you “just lost touch?”  Me too.  Plenty of times. But my best friend hasn’t lived within 500 miles of me in 30 years and we are still just as close because we both value the relationship equally.  

I have a friend I adore who so deeply values conversations centered around spirituality that she just can’t stick it out with friends who want to talk about fitness or beauty or whatever. She does’t hate them, she just also doesn’t value what they value.  Other friends bond over their love of shopping or gardening or parenting.  Some of my girlfriends love to go to conferences together  - I am more of a happy hour kind of girl (which is why we end our Edge of the Wild conference with happy hour - best of both worlds!) Some women value telling the truth in a very direct way; others want a softer sort of friendship. 

The things is:  having different core values isn’t inherently bad for relationships, but it can be bad if we don’t realize that the things we value are not universally accepted as The Most Important Things.  It’s easy to slip into the mindset that my values should belong to every right-thinking person, but I don’t think I’d actually want that even if it was possible.  My life needs the texture of those who love health more than happy hour.  I need to spend time with women who cherish things I do not.  I want to learn from them and grow through their vision of the world.  

Sometimes the divide in core values is too much to overcome, but it’s always healthy to do a quick self-check before pulling away from a relationship:  Is this difference in core values a dealbreaker, or is it something that God can use to make me more well-rounded and compassionate towards those who live and love differently than I do?  

As we do the hard work of holding our friendships up to His light, we will see what they’re made of - and that’s always a long term win.  

With hope, 


Whitney ParnellComment