One of my best girls, Mary R. (known elsewhere as Mary R. Snyder), is in the thick of final edits for her new book, God, Grace & Girlfriends: Adventures in Faith and Friendship, which is due to release this December.

She’s been posting on the topic of friendship for a while, and, in a recent post, asked her readers how they determined whether or not a potential friendship would be a healthy one. Many wonderful tips were shared, but there was one in particular that jumped off the screen and right into my brain, where it has been tumbling about ever since.

Does she make me want to know Jesus more?

I think if we’re all honest, every one of us has experienced an unhealthy, or “toxic” friendship. They typically don’t run their course without one or both parties being damaged in some way. When I think about these types of friendships in my own past (thankfully, I’m not in the midst of any at the moment, and hopefully, never again!), I find that they were very much people-centered. Because they were “Christian friends,” I thought they would be safe and healthy, but it turned out that self-focused drama reigned supreme, and Jesus was pretty far down on the priority list.

My healthiest friendships, like Mary R., and the rest of my treasured circle? Christ-centered. Those friends – every one of the best of the best – make me want to know Jesus more. It doesn’t mean that they don’t all go through periods of personal crises from time-to-time, but when they do, they don’t drain me dry and try to pull me down with them, into their pit. They cling to their Jesus, and allow me my full strength to be able to hoist them up, and out, to the Cross.

Does she make me want to know Jesus more?

I’ve decided that this is the first thing, the MAIN THING, I will look for in potential friends from now on. And as for the kind of friend I want to be? I think it’s the main thing I need to constantly cultivate in myself, as well.

As you examine your own friendships, does this question prove to be true for you, too?