After moving back to Albuquerque over eleven years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in a relational reset. We were young, recently married (a year and a half into it anyway), and found ourselves needing to find new jobs, our own living accommodations, a new church and new relationships. It was at times completely overwhelming and simultaneously nerve wracking. Starting over in a new place (even if you had grown up there), as an “adult” meant learning how to navigate things on our own.
I think friendships may be one of the hardest and strangest things to develop. While it is 100% true that sometimes there is an initial connection with someone, that certain “spark” if you will, it doesn’t mean everything is always going to be easy. We are flawed. There is always going to be some form of tension, some form of conflict. If there isn’t, you may want to ask yourself what kind of depth your friendships really have. Because life isn’t all sugar and rainbows. There are cloudy days and raging waves, and I don’t believe we are meant to get through those storms without love and support from our friends; and I know that they aren’t meant to get through it without ours.
Over the years I’ve found a way to determine who are friends and who fall into other categories. None of the other categories are bad, I just think the term “friend” can be (and is) misused often. While we may introduce someone as a “friend”, they may just be an acquaintance or someone you are helping.
To me, a friendship is a two way street, with both parties pouring into it and giving to one another.
So not all relationships can fall under the ‘friendship’ category. I’m sure there are actual terms for them, but I have come up with my own classification system. Favorites, acquaintances and ministry are other classifications I would include with the people who touch our lives in various ways.
Favorites are people who I really enjoy and connect with, but may not have the capacity for friendships with at that time. What I mean by that is, we may be in different life stages, live in different places or just have crazy busy schedules that prohibit us from reaching a friendship stage. These are people who I just really enjoy and connect with instantly and would hang out with more if I could because they are just that cool.
Then there are acquaintances. Most people are probably in this category. These are people that you know from sight or by name and have some interactions with. You may or may not “click” with them. They could be the people that work at the coffee shop you regularly frequent, people you used to be close with but no longer are, people you work with. People you know in passing or limited instances. Or people you just don’t really like.
Finally there are people we minister to. These are people who need help. Typically this kind of relationship is pretty one sided, with one person giving and the other taking. There is nothing wrong with it, it is what it is.
How do you define the relationships with those around you?