Four Levels of Friendships
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” Therefore, it is important to establish levels of communications for each person we come in contact with so we do not corrupt the manners we are to have with them. There are four different levels of friendship. Each one has its own special freedoms, characteristics, and accompanying responsibilities that define what level of friendship it is. When we understand these various levels of friendship, we will be more capable of discerning how we should interact with others.
The first level of a friendship is the level of acquaintance.
At this level, the friendship is characterized by occasional contacts,
and both individuals involved have the freedom to ask general questions that
reveal public information. These
individuals greet each other by name, are good listeners to each other, and can
ask appropriate questions that reflect interest and acceptance.
It becomes one’s personal responsibility to look upon the acquaintance
as a “Divine encounter,” and to seek out the Lord’s will to determine why
this acquaintance was brought into our lives.
It is also important that a person learn to develop general questions for
each age level that will be encountered from different acquaintances.
Because all people that we come in contact with are ultimately
acquaintances, it would be wise to develop questions for children, youth, and
adults, and know how to use the appropriate question for each acquaintance.
The second level of friendship is the casual friendship.
This level of friendship finds its place within the souls of two
individuals. The individuals in
this friendship will have similar interests or activities they are involved in,
and they have the freedom to ask each other more specific information such as
each other’s opinions and goals in life.
At this stage of friendship, it is a person’s responsibility to
identify positive qualities that are shown in the friend, and develop more
specific questions to get to know the individual better.
The third level of friendship reaches a new level that is surpassed by
the casual friendship and acquaintance. This
third level is a close friendship. The
close friendship reaches into the spirit of the individuals involved.
Because it has gone beyond the external level of acquaintance and past
the personal level of the casual friendship, a close friendship reaches into the
spirit of the individuals. This
produces true fellowship between the two people when their main focus is on the
Lord. This level of friendship is characterized by common life goals
and the ability to share encouraging Scripture with each other.
They have the freedom to be involved in projects together that will be
spiritually building for both of them. It
becomes their responsibility to visualize achievement in the other person to
help them along with their goals and to design projects that they can
participate in together to reach their common goals.
The fourth level of friendship is the intimate friendship.
At this level, both individuals are focused on helping each other develop
specific character qualities in each other’s lives and are able to discern the
basic causes of character deficiencies. Both
individuals in the intimate friendship have the freedom to correct blind spots
in the life of their friend and they are committed to faithfulness, loyalty, and
availability. The responsibilities
of both people involved are to have honest discretion with their friend and to
encourage by giving positive direction. They
also should search the Scriptures together for keys to a solution to a problem
and learn how to comfort each other through trials and sorrows.