#326 How To Spot a Bad Friendship and What To Do About It

#326 How To Spot a Bad Friendship and What To Do About It

On today’s podcast Kathi sits down with friend and author Mary Demuth, to talk about her new book “The Seven Deadly Friendships.” Based on the seven deadly sins from Proverbs 6, Mary looks at 7 types of unhealthy friendships that can cause emotional clutter in our hearts.

In this info-filled interview, you will learn

• how relationship issues can be caused by fear

• why setting boundaries in friendships is absolutely essential

• when to walk away from toxic friendships that cannot be restored

Take the Quiz!

If you’d like to find out if you are in one of the seven toxic relationships, head over to 7deadlyfriendships.com to take the quiz.

Enter to Win!

Enter to win a copy of Mary’s book and a $50 Starbucks Gift Card!

Click HERE to enter.

*US residents only

Buy the book here.


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To share your thoughts:
• Leave a note in the comment section below.
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• Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
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Meet Our Guest

Mary Demuth

Mary Demuth

Mary DeMuth is a writer and speaker who loves to help people live re-storied lives. Author of more than 30 books, including parenting books, Southern fiction, and a memoir entitled Thin Places, Mary speaks around the country and the world. She is the wife of Patrick and the mom of three adult children.

Learn more at www.marydemuth.com

Is it time to get rid of that friendship? 5 signs to know when to let go

Is it time to get rid of that friendship? 5 signs to know when to let go

I was excited to go to game night, but also approaching it with a certain amount of dread.

Patty would be there, and that was always a whole “thing.”

Patty was smart, funny and married to one of the pastors at our church. She was a “fun-instigator.” Everyone wanted to hang out with Patty and her gang of friends.

And one day, I got the invite.

There was a game night at her house. (I know, I sound like a seventh-grade girl who got invited to the cool kid’s sleepover. And if I’m being perfectly honest, that’s exactly how I felt.)

What I didn’t understand was that there was a high cost to being a “part of the gang.”

At first, I was so happy to have friends at my church that I went along with anything they would do or say. If they were making fun of another woman at church, I would giggle along. Why not? What harm was there in just laughing?

But then, as I got more involved in the church, I was expected to bring my own morsels of gossip to the communal table. Sadly, I was so in desperate need of friends that I went against my own (and God’s) code of behavior.

When I became reluctant to share, things escalated. Patty started digging online to find out more information about me, including a bad financial transaction that has stayed on my credit report for decades. (Yes – it was that bad.)

She dropped this information in front of the whole group of women. I was there, bearing witness to what she’d done to others in secret. The public shaming of who I was and what I had done.

Patty wanted all the control of my life – not just who I hung out with, but how I felt about myself. And, I discovered, would use any means to make sure she had it.

When she would say something that was hurtful, and I let her know I was hurt, she would immediately hit back with the classic deflection. “Oh my gosh! I was just kidding! Stop being so sensitive!”

It was her way of trying to control me. And I let it go on far too long.

When it comes to putting healthy boundaries into a relationship, if you’ve had “squishy” boundaries in the past, it can feel like you are changing the rule mid-friendship. And sometimes, that’s exactly what needs to happen.

Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

For the longest time, I felt like that verse meant, “Suck it up Kathi. You just have to take what they are giving so you can avoid conflict with them.”

But here is what I’ve finally recognized: living at peace with others means that I am also at peace. If we are both at peace, that means that there are not patterns of fear, guilt or shame prevalent in the relationship. Yes, friends mess up and say stupid things. But if you have to constantly be on guard, that is not a relationship of peace.

So how do you know when it’s time to let go of a relationship? Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Is it always one-sided? Do you feel “filled up” when you spend time with your friend? On more occasions than not, do you crave time with this friend because they are good for your soul? All of our friends will have points in their lives where they will need more from us than they are able to give. (Death, divorce, depression all come to mind.) But if you giving and them taking is the definition of the relationship, it’s not a friendship, it’s an agreement to build them up and that is unhealthy for both of you.
  2. Is fear a motivator? If you are staying in the relationship because you fear what will happen if you are no longer friends (they will turn others against you, they will be cruel to you, etc.), that is not a good reason to stay. It actually damages you and the other person.
  3. Are the signs all there, but you’re just ignoring them? You know this person is not good for you, but it’s hard to put your finger on. In her book, “The Seven Deadly Friendships,” Mary DeMuth defines seven toxic friendships and what to look for. It was an incredibly eye-opening read for me and helped me do a “forensic study” on some of my past relationships. I was able to determine the types of toxic these people were and feel a sense of confirmation about leaving these particular relationships. (Patty, above, was a “Predator Paige.”)
  4. In order to be friends with them, do you have to ignore other healthy relationships? There are some friends who want your everything: time, energy, attention, even money. Healthy friends respect your boundaries and want other healthy relationships for you.
  5. Do you find yourself compromising your own values to fit in with theirs? This? Is a deal breaker.

If you are having doubts about a relationship, it is worth it to not just ask yourself these questions, but to also spend some time doing the research to understand what kind of friend they are.

And then I am going to ask you to do something radical. Don’t pray about whether you should go – pray about whether you should stay. If it’s a toxic friendship, you are not doing anyone (yourself, or her) any favors by staying.

One of the things that has proven true in both my house and my friendships: when I create boundaries and get rid of the things that I was never called to in the first place, it makes more room for the life and relationships God intended for me all along.

I would love to say that I was able to sit down with Patty and have a reasoned, holy discussion about leaving the friendship – but that’s not how my life works. Instead, as I started to say no to her and put some boundaries in the relationship in small, but significant ways. We grew apart and eventually, out of each other’s lives.

I have finally discovered that with some relationships, being at peace means not having them in your life.

In the comments, tell me about a relationship you have that is life giving. You could win a copy of Mary’s book and a $50 Starbucks gift card.

And if you are struggling with a friendship, check out Mary’s book The Seven Deadly Friendships. It was incredibly helpful in pointing out the issues with one of my current relationships – and what I should do about it.

#325 The Hardest Thing to Let Go Of: Give Them Wings, by Carol Kuykendall and Krista Gilbert

#325 The Hardest Thing to Let Go Of: Give Them Wings, by Carol Kuykendall and Krista Gilbert

On today’s show, Kathy sits down with Carol Kuykendall and Krista Gilbert to talk about their book, “Give Them Wings.” Carol and Krista share insights about how to clear the emotional clutter out of the letting go process.

Kathy, Carol and Krista also share an in-depth conversation about how to navigate parenting in the digital age and how to equip our children for success during the “letting go years.”

Enter to Win!

Enter to win a copy of Carol and Krista’s book!

Two lucky winners will win a copy of Give Them Wings. 

Enter by answering in the comments, “what has been (or what do you anticipate will be) the hardest part of your kids moving on?”

*US residents only

Buy the book here.


Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:
• Leave a note in the comment section below.
• Share this show on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:
• Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
• Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe now.

Meet Our Guest

Carol Kuykendall

Carol Kuykendall

Carol Kuykendall has authored and coauthored nine books about families and mothering. She worked for 12 years at MOPS International, writing and speaking, and continues to write for Guideposts and Daily Guideposts. She lives in Boulder with her husband Lynn. Learn more www.carolkuykendall.com

Eps 324: When the Sticky and Sacred Collide with Jami Amerine

Eps 324: When the Sticky and Sacred Collide with Jami Amerine

Kathi sits down with Jami Amerine, author of “Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors,” to talk about one of her blog posts that went viral over night. Jami shares the positive and negative reactions to this “rant” as she calls it, when she realized she didn’t want her kids to go into the world not having compassion for others.

Jami says the idea popped into her head shortly after her last foster child was placed in her home. “God showed me it wasn’t all about me…in the midst of all of this…I was in an if-then relationship with Jesus. If I do this…then you’ll do this.”

Kathi and Jami share an in depth conversation about how the shift happened with Jami going from an if-then relationship with God to a relationship of knowing God loved her no matter what she was or wasn’t doing.

If you want to check out the blog post that launched it all, visit Jami’s site here.

Enter to Win!

Enter to win a copy of Jami’s book! One lucky winner will win the grand prize- a Sacred Ground Stick Floors gift basket from Kathi. Go to this blog post to enter.

*US residents only

Buy the book here.



Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:
• Leave a note in the comment section below.
• Share this show on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:
• Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
• Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe now.

Meet Our Guest

Jami Amerine

Jami Amerine

Jami Amerine is the author of the popular blog Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors, where she posts about Jesus, parenting, marriage, and the general chaos of life. She holds a master’s degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Jami and her husband, Justin, have six kids and are active in foster care.
The Good Kind of Clutter (And How It’s a Sign of Great Parenting)

The Good Kind of Clutter (And How It’s a Sign of Great Parenting)

One of the statements I consistently get at events (or even at church) is: “Wow. So, your house must be perfect all of the time …”
Um … no.

  1. If you saw my garage, you would know that, while I’m exponentially better than I was 10 years ago, I’m still a work in progress.
  2. I still live in my house. Therefore, there is clutter.

Yes — I am the anti-clutter queen. I will rail against clutter and the effects that it has on our hearts, minds and spirits until my dying day. But you see, in reality there are a couple of different kinds of clutter:

  • The clutter of life.
  • And the life-stopping clutter that shuts us down.

So how do you recognize the difference between the clutter of life and the life-stopping clutter that shuts us down?

Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors

1. The clutter of life has relationship baked into it.

For instance, the clutter of life is baking cookies for or with people you love. It’s the fairy tent that you built with your child and let them keep up for several days even though it is in the middle of the living room.
But the life-stopping clutter is the pile of unpaid bills in the middle of said living room that taunts you every time you walk by it. It accuses you of being a loser who doesn’t deserve nice things. Ever.
When you are creating clutter and building relationships at the same time, that is the kind of clutter that is temporary, fun and freeing. That is the kind of mess that needs to be encouraged.

2. The clutter of life is the mess we make when we don’t give up.

So much of the life-stopping clutter is when we have just given up on a situation — or worse — given up on ourselves.

The clutter that hurts us is not produced when we’ve tried and failed, but the times we’ve tried, failed and didn’t try again (and held onto the evidence for too long as a reminder).

So, you tried painting and it didn’t turn out. That happens.

Now, you have two choices:

  • Try again.
  • Or give away all the canvases,paints, easels and brushes to someone who would enjoy painting.

Any other decision (leaving it out, packing it away in the garage) means that it will become life-sucking and therefore, the bad kind of clutter.

3. The clutter of life is created in the present.

One of the things I hate about many clutter books is the sense that we need to live all-or-nothing lives. They teach that the ultimate goal for a clutter free home is to get it to the point where it looks like no one lives there.

To me, that defeats the whole purpose of creating a clutter free life: Freedom.

And freedom isn’t only doing what God has designed you to do in your life, in your ministry and in your family. It is also being at peace knowing that what you are doing is the right thing, even if it doesn’t fit your mental picture of “the right thing.”

Freedom really looks like being at peace when our lives, our parenting, and our homes don’t look like other people’s — not even those of our favorite people on HGTV.

My friend Jami tackles this concept head on in her new book, Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors. She embraces the idea that our parenting doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s to do our best job loving our children into adulthood. (Plus, she gives us the freedom to know that it’s not all up to us.) If you are looking for a funny and freeing read, grab this book.

Here is what I know when it comes to parenting and clutter: There is the clutter that drug me down for so many years, and the clutter that built my relationships with my kids.

Don’t get the two confused. One will limit your life. The other? Is life.


Comment below by sharing one way you can increase the good clutter in your life and you’ll be entered to win one of five copies of “Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors” or our grand prize of the book and the Shark Steam Pocket Mop Hard Floor Cleaner with Swivel Steering XL Water Tank.

Envy and Clutter: The Connection and the Solution

Envy and Clutter: The Connection and the Solution

Every day, the email shows up …

“Create the perfect pumpkin landscape!”

“When stripes and paisley collide …”

The headlines, the stand-up-and-take-notice headlines, greet me every single day.
I subscribed to these emails because I adore my friend who is sending them. She is crazy-gifted, super creative, and incredibly generous with her time and talent.

The whole package, really.

I love to open the emails and look at the projects she’s working on, the colors she’s chosen, and how she is growing her business.


Until one day, I didn’t want to open the email.


I felt a poke. Not a pang or twinge of envy. Just a poke of … something …

I knew it wasn’t jealousy. I don’t enjoy painting bookcases or haunting garage sales for the next perfect piece of milk glass. As the Clutter Free girl, I’m not into any of that. I didn’t covet her living room (we have very different decorating styles) or even her laundry room (which is adorable).

So what was it?


I realized that I did envy her.

I wasn’t jealous of her stuff, but I envied her life.

Why does she get to be the make- it-cute girl, while I’ve struggled with clutter my whole life?
Why does she get to have a house that is inviting and adorable, while for decades, I was the one that you needed to give a week’s notice before coming over for a cup of coffee?

And for a while? I stopped opening the emails. They made me feel less than who I was.

And then I figured out, it wasn’t the emails making me feel that way. It was me.

It was me rejecting this path that God had sent me on. The path of recovering from clutter, which taught me so much about myself, about who God is and about how to serve his people.


If you asked me if I would trade in my journey, I would tell you, “No! Not in a million years!”

But if you compared it to someone else’s journey, I start to think, “Well, maybe I could just try it on for a while …”
I was jealous of what it must feel like to have a house that people walk into and just fall in love with.


So, what did I do?

I bought a new throw pillow.
I bought a decorating book.
I bought a few decorating magazines.
(Oh, don’t you hate when old habits that you thought were dead spring back to life?)

Nothing earth-shattering. It wasn’t exactly a binge.
But it was a blip … A definite indication of something being off in my life.

Buying stuff out of discomfort is familiar territory. So now, when the pangs (or pokes) pop up, I have a plan to get me back to a place of peace and joy.

Here are the steps that get me back to where I need to be:


Identify the feelings for what they are.

Understanding that I’m feeling envy used to send me into a spiral of shame (and I would envy women who didn’t have these feelings). Now, I recognize that feeling for what it is: a dissatisfaction in my own life.

When I realize it’s not about the object of my envy, but about what is going on for me, I instantly shut down anything that comes between me and that person. It is not about our relationship, it’s about how I’m relating to the world around me.


Feast on some truth.

When I get to that place where my heart is bruised, it’s time to get some truth in front of me. My favorite verse when it comes to envy (one that I can quote you on the spot – that’s how much I need it) is 1 Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Lately, I’m also loving Seeing Green: Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy by Tilly Dillehay. She says the way the way to the jealousy-free life is not by suppressing envy, but by embracing love. Not by shaming ourselves, but by loving others.


Practice being happy that someone else has what you want.

In Seeing Green, Dillehay talks about our reactions to other people’s blessings. She asks, “What if your first response was joy?” I love that question.

In the book, she talks about how to change the direction of our first impulse, response, and reaction toward joy for others. This is where I strive to be: genuine joy for others before calibrating the event to my hopes and dreams.

And if we wrestle to love deeply even when our initial reaction is to feel our feels, what we will see is that our reactions, for ourselves and for others, moves to a place of joy.

A place our hearts long to dwell, no matter where our circumstances may take us.


Enter to Win

Enter to win a copy of the book Seeing Green by Tilly Dillehay


this fun gift box filled with green goodies! 

Simply leave a comment below. One winner will be randomly selected and notified by email.