Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Types of Friends: let's see if you are one

Friends are treasures, but they are rare or you need to invest time and effort to find them.

I have this notion that all those who are friendly to me are my friends. With that, I am thinking that I have lots of friends even online. I have lots of followers but there are only a few that I am confident will show up at my funeral because they are your true friends. Are you one of them?

I'd like to share my notes from our Pastor who helped me understand the levels of friendship and how they are different from each other:

Level 1. Acquaintance - these are the people that we have met one time or we are around with everyday, we share small talk with them. They can be our not-so-close relatives (remember those family reunions you had and you were introduced to one or two), they can be your classmates (you have become group mates in one of the projects in school), they can be our co-workers, sports team member or opponent from another school, our Sunday school classmate or a friend of our friends, or our neighbors, or the lady at the Library whom we shared some book reviews with. It could be anyone that we know, smiled at and met casually.

Level 2. Friend - the next level is when that acquaintance become more present in your day to day activities either physically or online. You have become closer because you shared personal stuff, you both know what your likes and dislikes are and most likely, you have the same feathers or fall in the same group.  The conversations you have tend to focus in knowing the other person more and how you relate to his or her opinions, beliefs and character.  You will want to find out more about that person and everyone that surrounds her like family, spouse, work, school and sports activities. I consider this the "dating phase".

Now it gets deeper when emotions are shared. When this person is happy, you share and celebrate it together, you are also happy for the person, not jealous.  When your friend is in trouble or in sad moments, you comfort him and being there for him counts a lot.  You are not a friend when you are only there for happy moments and you leave when trouble comes. If you are in the dating phase and you want to find out if this person only wants to be with you because you are popular, or rich, or smart to help him in school, you will discover his intentions when the going gets tough - when you are no longer popular, or smart, or rich.  The fake friends are easily known because they get lost as soon as the perks are lost so be vigilant.

When you are in the older age, it's easier to find friends because you know who have stood by you and are still friends with you even if you married, moved, either home or work or country. 

Level 3. Close Friend - you will be considered a close friend if talking to each other is regular or catching up is imperative. I have my sister as my closest friend because we talk every chance we get but apart from a relative, you may have 3 or 4 persons who are really close to you who are the same as level as you but the relationship is more personal. This person is someone you can confide anything with.  You know the saying - anything under the sun.  You share feelings, you can pour out problems, frustrations and plans that you will hesitate to share with any other friend because you trust and respect this one special person and vice versa.  This stage is sometimes tricky because most of the time when you thought that you can share with a person, you will end up finding out that whatever you shared is also shared with  one of her friends. You can't trust that person anymore right?  Betrayal.

One thing that I consider a factor in making the Friend stage move up to the next level is when I am able to challenge my friend or I can also accept the challenge from him. We have come to a point that we can tell each other even the wrong things to correct them.  A true friend will accept criticisms and also give constructive ones.  The next level is reached because you will realize that the friend really cares for you to give you warnings - Iron sharpens iron.  This is the best level to consider if that close friend is also qualified to move up and become your partner in life.  The best marriages start with good and very close friendships.

We can have many close friends too but there are only a few who are Good, Godly and have been there Praying for you.  Christ even on his last night at the Garden of Gethsemane only chose 3 of his disciples to wait for him while he is praying. 

It is true that in these times, it is very hard to find a Good, Godly close friend so here are the tips I took from Pastor Billy from Church on the Queensway based on God's words:

1. Pray for that friend.
2. Choose well. Proverbs 22:24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person. Do not associate with one easily angered.
3. Be careful.  Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
4. Test the friendship - with time, distance or confidence
5. Caution in communication - talks should be pleasing to God. 
Proverbs 16:28 A perverse person stirs up conflict and gossip separates close friends.
6. Create Depth - society and media is robbing  us of true friendship.

Proverbs 18:24 says "One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

To accomplish this we need to consider the L's of friendship:
Love - to move from acquaintance, you need to add love
Loyalty - you can't change friends in the same way as your clothes
Learn - knowledge about the friend is a leverage
Listen - give and take, you can confide
Lean - you can count on a friend
Laugh together - cry and laugh.  The close friend will help you laugh when you are crying.

  • Take time.
  • Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
  • God wants you to have a Close friend.
  • Be a Good and Godly Friend yourself first

I wanted to put this in my blog so that one day, I will be reminded that I was blessed with good and Godly friends until now and I'm sure they will show up in my funeral. But most of all, I am blessed to have found Jesus as my very best friend.  He is there in my ups and downs, 24/7 and I'm forever grateful.

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