Everyone loves a great friend. A friend you can share your joys, pains, failures, and success. However, have you ever thought you made a great friend only to have yourself "unfriended" or ignored at the local store? This is one of the most hurtful things you can experience. If so, I believe this article will help put things into perspective.
In general, friends can fall into four different categories:
Category 1- The Friends Who Are For What You Are For
These friends support the cause that you support. For example, if you support a presidential candidate this friend also supports them. You will notice your conversation will generally end up transitioning to your cause. The support of what you have in common is what ties you together. There are Facebook groups that are full of this kind of friendships.
Category 2- The Friends Who Are Against What You Are Against
Your dislike of an idea, person, or organization is your common denominator. These friends are your activist friends. Whenever a national controversy arises, it is very easy to recognize the friends who stand against what you are against. The Black Lives Mater versus the Blue Lives Matter controversy is a perfect example. These are the friends you "would" protest with or talk hours about a certain injustice. Eventually these friendships fade when one party loses interest in the topic or when a new area of frustration arise.
Category 3- The Friends Who Are A Part of What You Are A Part Of
We often categorize these friends easily. Our "work friend", "church friend" or "school friend" will fall into this category. This friend may not have relationship with you outside of the organization. They may also not seek any form of intentional friendship unless it is related to the organization. It is likely that you may see this friend and have little to talk about EXCEPT what you are both a part of. Amazingly, these can be very strong relationships as you may interact with them the most. However, once you are no longer engaged in the church, class, or workplace, the friendship may die.
Category 4- The Friend Who is For YOU!
This is the friend we all want to have. They are the ones you can share your dreams and goals with. They care about you, not what you can do FOR them. These friends will watch your kids, drive you to the doctor's office, cry for you, and pray with you. Distance or difference of opinion will not break the bond. They can hold you accountable and can accept your criticism in love. As iron sharpens iron, they sharpen you! This friend, when handled with care, will be your lifetime partner.
As you read this, I am sure you are considering where your friendships lie. Some may be thinking I have mostly friends that fall in the first three categories. It is my belief that MOST friendships will begin in one of those categories. Truthfully, this is how we get to know each other. The issue comes when we have a false expectation. When we expect those who are simply a "work friend" to be more. Although they "could" slide into this role, this takes time and effort.
We must be intentional. If you believe a person you have been in contact with is a good match for you...don't settle. Take the first step to move beyond the surface. Seek them out. Check on their day, pray for their family, or invite them out to coffee! Let go of those who you observe do not have your best interest in heart and seek those who are for YOU! If you pause and really evaluate it is VERY easy to see which category your friends fall into.
Ask the Lord for wisdom on creating meaningful friendships and recognize where you may have false expectations of those around you.
Victory Verses on friendships
Proverbs 17:17- A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 27:17-As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 12:26- The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
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