Personal Development

Avoid Unsafe Relationships


From the book ” How to find relationships that are good for you and avoid those that aren’t “– Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend gave us fascinating thoughts and ideas on building relationship with the right people. One of the prominent voices on the books preface, Josh McDowell wrote “…Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend have given the Christian a very helpful tool for avoiding toxic entanglements and strengthening good relationships. I applaud them”. Here are some excerpts taken from the book:

God does not use religious terms and languages when he discusses people. He talks about how people treat him and others, and whether or not they get things done as they said they would. In short, he looks at someone’s character. We do not get a lot of training in evaluating character. We tend to look on the outside and not the inside of a person ( I Sam 16:7, Matt 23:25-28)

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We look at worldly success, charm, looks, humor, status and education, accomplishments, talents and giftedness, or religious activity. But then we experience the pain of being in real relationship with them, and come up very empty handed.

While there are many different kinds of unsafe people, many of them fall under three categories: the abandoners, the critics, and the irresponsibles.

Three kinds of unsafe people


Abandoners are people who can start a relationship, but who can’t finish it. Oftentimes , abandoners became victim of abandonment themselves. Sometimes afraid of true closeness, they prefer shallow acquaintances. Others are looking for perfect friends, and they leave when the cracks start showing. Abandoners destroy trust. Those they leave in their wake are apt to say, “I’ll never have anyone who will be there for me.” This is a far cry from God’s ideal, that we be “rooted and established in love “(Eph 3:17). And those who pick abandoners often become depressed, develop compulsive behaviors, or worse.


Critics are people who take a parental role with everyone they know. They are judgmental, speak the truth without love, and have no room for grace or forgiveness. They are more concerned with confronting errors than they are with making connections. For example, they often jump on doctrinal and ethical bandwagons (which are important) and neglect issues of love, compassion, and forgiveness. They often confuse weakness with sinfulness, and therefore condemn others when they have problems. Tends to point the finger outside, rather than at themselves. They often deeply love truth and righteousness.

Because they are good people to go for information. But don’t go to them for relationship, for their truth often comes poisoned with being judgmental.   If you draw near to critical people, you may find relief in their clarity of thought and purity of vision. But you’ll also find yourself guilt-ridden, compliant, and unable to make mistakes without tremendous anxiety.


Irresponsibles are people who don’t take care of themselves or others. They have problems with delaying gratification, they don’t consider the consequences of their actions, and they don’t follow through on their commitments. They are like grown up children. (immature?). John Townsend have a friend who many times borrowed money but never pay back despite those promises. So this is what he told him. “From now on, the word loan doesn’t exist between us– only gift. I know you mean to pay back, but you don’t change your financial habits enough to pull it off. So when you ask for help, I’ll either give you a gift, never expecting to see the money again, or I’ll just say no to the request.” Sounds crazy but it helped John a lot.

If you draw near irresponsible people, you may be doing the following:

—you pick after them

— apologize to others for them

—you make excuses for them

— give them chance after chance after chance

— pay for their sins and forgetfulness

—you nag them

—you resent them

Many irresponsibles are caring, warm, fun loving people. I like irresponsibles. They help me notice what’s going on in life today instead of being anxious about tomorrow. There isn’t a place in their head for tomorrow. They are often emphatic and understanding. But while I like irresponsibles, I just don’t trust them. The irresponsibles lack of dependability can cause us many problems, ranging from making us wait for her at a restaurant losing a crucial business deal because he didn’t get the documentation in on time.

….. so there you go guys ….. get to the book!!

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