Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

1 Corinthians 15:33


There’s a lot to be learned from relationships as we grow and mature. I’m reminded weekly, if not daily, how so many of the connections in my own life have morphed, evolved or disappeared. As a child in and a teen who always kept busy in multiple organizations we became accustomed to shaking hands and seeking to know everyone. In a small town, you get used to knowing everyone and their grandparents and where everyone lived. There was a familiarity in ‘the way things happened’ and a routine of ‘how things had always been’.

Then some of us left for college or out-of-state opportunities. Remember how monumental it was? Moving in to your own space and independence but out from under the scrupulous eye of your parents and community. You could form yourself into a new person. You start surrounding yourself with people who are interested in the same things you are and it becomes a bit easier to surround yourself, or distance yourself, from people you want to know the rest of your life.

Then you graduate. Welcome to adulthood! We still don’t know what we’re doing.


Maybe it was the cross-country move to Washington state, the complete solitude of every person I had ever been to who I was at that time or the immediacy of making friends in the military life. Things simultaneously felt out of control and completely in sync. You can now look back on however many years you’ve lived on this planet and probably identify at least one or two times that felt the same for you.


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It felt like I couldn’t let go of anyone or anything. I had prided myself on having longstanding relationships. I felt a false sense of accomplishment and importance from people knowing who I was and, the more people I knew, the better I was doing. I felt like if I ‘lost’ or got rid of relationships that no longer served me that I somehow failed or became irrelevant. Doesn’t that sound mature? But with feeling failed in so many other aspects of my life, that was just one I thought I could control.

Spoiler Alert: After a lot of therapy (highly recommend, btw. We’ve all got somethin‘) I was diagnosed (?) with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I had always joked about OCD with my cleanliness and habits which I think is what most people relate the three letters to but it also means you have hyper-focus and attention on one or several topics. There always has to be something. This can feel isolating as you replay every negative or awkward interaction and spiral in to a useless funnel of things that have happened in your past that cannot change.

Now pair that with anxiety, which is fear of the future, and voila! You’re in your own little torture chamber of feeling overwhelmed, useless and try to cover it up without actually facing the issue head on.

Fun fact. You can’t control either. You can take every precaution in the world and something bad could still happen to you. You could take every intention to make yourself feel safe and comfortable without hurting someone else and they could still choose to feel hurt over what ‘you‘ did to them.


That’s toxicity. 

And it never became more evident to me until I had experienced it over and over and over. Until I left everyone I was surrounded by and moved away. Until I was forced in to more diverse settings than I had ever been exposed to. Until I had a rotating door of people coming and going because of a life we had no control over and still wondering what ‘I’ was doing wrong.

I had to realize nothing I had done was wrong. Maybe some situations I would have liked to handle differently in which case I mended what I could, but some things are meant to be seasonal. Maybe you had a best friend in your life who was your best friend for 18 years but you’ve fallen out of touch. That boss or co-worker who exhilarated and encouraged you to work hard soon fizzled out as you got used to where you were, what you were doing and who you were around.

Bad Company blog

Everyone you’ve met has taught you something, good or bad, and served you in some way. You’ve done the same! There is something that you did for that person that they will never forget. Your purpose in their life may have lasted for days or years and it was exactly what you both needed at. that. time. 

So long as you did the best you could and are proud of what you offered, that’s all you need to know. The rest is on them.

Do not take on the burden or baggage of others just because they say how they are feeling. If you made a comment and they choose to be hurt by it, that’s on them. If you come from a good place of empathy, compassion and you choose to make a decision that’s best for you, that’s it. Take what’s yours. Leave the rest.

Saying words like choose or choice have helped tremendously in situations I would otherwise feel out of control in. It’s been one of the things I’ve intentionally set out to focus on.

You don’t have to do anything. You choose to. 

And others do as well. They don’t have to buy things, they choose to. They don’t have to prioritize you, they choose to. They don’t have to stay stuck in hate and bigotry or avoid learning how to do better, they choose to.

When you start seeing things in this light, it brings peace to what used to be chaos. You can look at your memories fondly and love them while letting a toxic person go. You don’t have to resent or hate anyone or anything. You can let it be.

Letting go of toxicity is not a failure if they are a source of a failure. If either one of you cannot get to the next level or is the source of the other’s failure in any mental, physical, spiritual level then it’s better for both parties to say ‘thanks, bye!’ and move forward. It’s likely the most mature one will go first because they have the capacity to look at things through this lens. I’ve admired several friends for being fantastic examples of this and I know there are a lot of us unlearning poor behaviors. I give myself grace for recognizing this and I give others grace who I can see are still struggling.

You can still love someone because they are family and condemn their racist comments or inappropriate questions. Make it known you expect more of them. If they choose to not respect your boundaries or choose to remain hateful, you can choose to not be around them. You have zero obligation to make people comfortable who make you feel uncomfortable. You can be open to rekindling improved relationships without constantly making the first mood. But, as I’m sure you’re well aware already, people do not like to be confronted with themselves. So…


Prepare yourself not to take the bait. This is ‘you’ language where ‘You made me, You told me, You think that I’m….etc.’ are common phrases that a person uses to avoid responsibility. They don’t want to face themselves or get help that may be needed. They want to believe everyone else is a reason they’re mad, not themselves. They want to believe everyone else is the source of their pain instead of addressing that pain will be there; it’s up to them to face it and handle it.

Other than supporting them when and if they get to this point, you cannot force anyone to do anything. If someone is speaking poorly of others to you, they are doing the same about you. That’s their choice. And you can choose to not be known as a gossip. That’s your choice. That’s what you can control. If you’ve made a decision that’s best for your family and people take offense to that or it hurts their feelings, they’re choosing to feel that way. You did not make them feel that way.

Even if the worst case scenario happens, then what? What does that mean about you? What does that say about you? You have already been through every worst day of your life and you made it. If you’re going through something tough right now and thinking you can’t do it, YOU’RE ALREADY DOING IT! When chaos wants you to freak out with it, know it is your choice to say ‘nah, not for me’ or ‘ok, if this happens, I’m going to do the best I can and leave the rest.’ In situations where you have little to no control, your response is what you can control. Do not join the chaos; instead invite them to join your calm.

Be careful with your words and even more careful with your thoughts. 


Do not take criticism from someone who you would never go to advice to. Not everything everyone says needs to be taken seriously. That’s like listening to a sports analyst who has never played the game. Or a Facebook friend who never went to college handing out medical advice. The people in the cheap seats are always the loudest, the customers looking for the cheapest deal will always have the most expectations with the least amount of kindness.

Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.

Guess what else is in the silence? Good friends. Calm and peace. Reassurance. Support. Success.




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