You may have many friends, but how deep does your relationship go?
We can say that we have many friends, and our Facebook page might reflect those relationships, but how many of them would truly qualify as “friend” status? And do your friends fit the definition of friend or are they acquaintances?
So What are the classifications of relationships? What do each mean?
The different categories of relationships are as follows:
- Acquaintance- Someone that you know on a social level. By that, I mean that you know the names/faces of their spouse and kids. You know basically where they are employed and generally what they do. You have a surface knowledge of them. Conversations are very light and general. You only hang out at company gatherings, or different social circles, but outside of that you have very little contact.
- Superfluous- Someone you might hang around with and have a good time around. You may go to different sporting events, have similar hobbies or interests. There is a basis for a friendship based on similar interests, but none really exists because it would involve a certain amount of vulnerability, honesty, and openness. Personally, you feel that you don’t want someone knowing your “business”, so you keep things on a lighter level. This person doesn’t know your heart, what you struggle with, or any challenges that you’ve faced.
- Friendship- True friendship consists of openness, and accountability. These are people that you feel secure enough to share your challenges with and know that they will be there when you need them. They give you sound advice, listen to you talk, and understand you. They will lift your up, point you towards God/scripture, and encourage you. They make you want to be your best, and are open enough to tell you when you’ve missed it. They can be brutally honest.
The question was not meant to depress anyone, but cause you to reflect on the quality of your relationships. When we keep people at an emotional distance for whatever reason, we are unable to develop satisfying relationships. So we end up always feeling like no one “gets” us, that your friends aren’t there when you need them, or that those that you thought were your friends scattered at the moment of crisis.
Real friends are your greatest advocate and supporter. For most of us, our closest ally is our spouse, but we should be able have solid relationships with others outside of our spouse as well. There are just some things that people of the same gender would be able to understand, and could offer insight on.
The unfortunate part, in today’s society, is that many of our relationships are superfluous. We don’t want to let anyone in, and that’s not how we are to be, biblically. It’s difficult to make a real impact in someone’s life, or share Jesus with them without a pre-existing relationship because that requires trust. Trust has to be cultivated.
Jame George will discuss what relationships tend to look like in today’s society. He asks the question, “Why are we more upset by an unfriending on Facebook than discovering why we were unfriended in the first place?” Why do we care more about the stats on our social media page than about cultivating relationships- real relationships- with those people? Don’t you think many of them could use encouragement, too? Yet many of them don’t want to be vulnerable either.
James talks about what being a real friend looks like, and how to be that person. Once you are that person, you will attract others to you and gain the ability to speak into a person’s life. Most of us would say that we like our privacy, but sometimes that very privacy can be a very lonely place.
We also delve into why this art of real friendship may have been lost, and how it is so vital for the kingdom, that we maintain real friendships.
And quite honestly, life is much better and more fulfilling with real friends around.
This feature and more in our upcoming September issue coming out on August 27, 2019.