Tips for Accountability Partners on Holding Friends Accountable

Each time you receive a Report, here’s a quick checklist of things you should do as a good Accountability Partner.

1. Go Through the Report

What you look for on one person’s Report may be different from what you look for on another person’s Report. What kind of Internet browsing is your friend most concerned about? Adult content? Facebook? Dating sites? File sharing?

Talk beforehand with the person you hold accountable and ask, “What are the red flags I need to be looking for?”

Here are some things to look for in your review of the Report:

  • Are there any Incidents? If so, what did the user do before and after accessing that explicit content?
  • Are there any questionable web searches or websites listed?
  • When is the Internet being used? Is there a time of day that Incidents often occur?
  • Do you notice any patterns from previous Reports?

2. Get the Details

If you don’t have questions about what you see on the Report, skip to the next step.

If you do have questions about what you see on the Report, talk to the person you hold accountable. Accountability Reports show what happened, not why it happened. Call up or email the person you hold accountable and get the details.

  • Mention the day(s) and time(s) the Incident or questionable activity happened. Ask him or her to give you more information. Exactly what happened?
  • Don’t just ask yes or no questions. If he or she admits to inappropriate browsing, ask about the circumstances. What led to the temptation?

3. Give Encouragement

If everything looks good on the Report, send a quick email to the person you hold accountable and tell them everything looks great.

Encourage your friend by making it reciprocal. Sign up for Internet accountability yourself and have your Reports sent to your friend. This a great way to have mutual encouragement.

If there has been an Incident, it might feel awkward at first to have a conversation about it. But remember, accountability is not about being a cop or catching your friend red-handed. It is about being a coach and learning ways to motivate them to develop new habits online.

If you notice repeated problems, here are eight steps to follow with your friend.

1. Set aside time to talk. Don’t try to squeeze the conversation into a busy day. Plan a time to talk face-to-face or over the phone.

2. Listen first. Don’t feel the need to give advice right away. Be a good sounding board. Let your friend talk about what he or she did, why, and how your friend feels about it.

3. Ask your friend how you can challenge him/her. Don’t feel the pressure to know what to say or do. Ask your friend, “When these things happen, what it the best way for me to encourage you? How can I support you?”

4. Praise the small steps. If your friend is willing to talk about something he or she is ashamed of, this is itself a step in the right direction. Tell them you are glad they are willing to talk. Look for small changes over time and point out that you notice them.

5. Plan preventative steps. Look for patterns in your friend’s life that seem to lead to inappropriate Internet use. Does temptation strike in a certain place, a time of day, when he or she is in a certain mood, or after a certain event? Brainstorm practical ways your friend can put a wall between himself/herself and the temptation.

6. Tap the power of positive motivations. Ask your friend, “What do you have to gain in life by avoiding these temptations? Instead of giving into this temptation, what kind of person do you want to become?” Our free ebook Hobbies and Habits will help your friend learn how small changes, as well as trying out new things, can help change the user’s view of life and reduce their need for porn. Download Hobbies and Habits for free.

7. Tap the power of negative motivations. Ask your friend, “If you continue doing this over and over, what do you stand to lose in your life?”

8. Recognize when others are needed. Sometimes others need to be brought into the accountability relationship: a spouse, parent, mentor, counselor, or spiritual leader. Recognize when you need help or when others need to know.

Learn to Be a Great Accountability Partner

We believe relationships are the key to long-term recovery from pornography addiction. Accountability, when done with care and intentionality, truly does have the power to crush addiction and help your friend live porn-free. Our free, online, self-paced video course Accountability Academy will show you how to become an effective accountability partner. You can do this!

Enroll in the Accountability Academy for Free

Encouragement Cards

Download and then send these encouraging cards to the person you hold accountable.

Path to Victory Crossing the Mountain Fantastic Report

Card 1: No matter the obstacle, your determination to stand firm and be accountable is a path to victory.

Card 2: Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountains.

Card 3: Your Accountability Report was fantastic! Great job making decisions this week that will create a positive ripple in your life for years to come.