The Selection Process for My Friends
Uncommon Relationships: Experiencing the Seven Levels of Relationships – Part 5
“and my friends [Relationship Level 3] have turned against me.” – bible.com/bible/116/job.19.8,13-15,17.nlt
These are the words of Job after his friends had turned against him. When you lose one friend that’s bad, but when you lose them all it can seem like the end of the world. I’ve experienced the loss of friends myself and more than likely so have you. But why? What caused this relationship challenge, and could it have been avoided?
When my friends turned their backs on me or walked away it taught me a lot and I want to share those takeaways with you here. So, let’s get to it.
Relationship Level Three – Friends
Level three relationships are what we call “friends.” These are the people you’ve selected to do life with; keeping in mind that this can change at any time you choose.
Before questions regarding that above statement sets in, let’s break it down a little. Did you not know that your friends are people you chose? And since they are chosen, they can also be un-chosen. That’s news for some, I am certain – boy do I wish someone would have told me that many moons ago. (Now let me go to the left on you) Those people you had in your life that walked away from you are all people you chose and/or asked to be a part of your life. So, who’s at fault for them leaving? That would be you. You’re the dummy who selected bad friends or in most cases the friends that weren’t right for you. Also, because you didn’t have our writings on the seven levels of relationships, you had no idea that the people you called friend should have been at another level of relationship.
While I’m here, as you move up in the relationship levels, the relationships become more involved and less easy to detach. It surprised me a little to see that friends fell at level three. You’d think they’d be a little higher on the list. You see friends are just beyond the people you mentor, which is just beyond your neighbors. All that to say is you might be putting just a little too much energy in this relationship when that energy should be reserved for one of the higher levels in the relationship pyramid. Just saying.
The Thought or Concept:
“And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?” – bible.com/bible/116/1CO.12.14-19.NLT
The Make Up of Relationship Level Three
A friend by definition goes something like this.
A friend helps you know that you’re a part of something bigger. That your life must work with other lives. Friends are there to give you a perspective about life that you don’t have on your own by default. Friends are like “the ear” and “the eye” having a conversation. They are both not only a part of the body but are needed in their own areas of expertise.
Now that we have a little more insight into a friend, let’s take a look at defining a friend set.
Our Friend Set
I call this part “friend set” for two reasons:
- You have a set of friends. The people you already have in your life that you call friends are your “set of friends.”
- You must have set friends. Huh? The friends you want to have in your life are the friends you must set, put in place.
You may not know this, but you don’t have to live with the friends you have. You must consider your set of friends and the ones you wish to set as friends.
Unlike normal people who accept things the way they are and never change them, the uncommon improve their set of friends. We have a plan for that. That plan needs to be spelled out. Who will remain in my friend set? Who will I add to my friend set? Before we go here, I’d like to note another uncommon principle; relationship level three is almost one sided. When you say that you’re someone’s friend it doesn’t mean they have to say they’re your friend. You being their friend isn’t contingent on them being yours. This is important to know and makes your friend set unique.
How can we cleanup and add to the number of friends we have?
- Create attributes you want in your friends. Yes, make a list of the attributes you need to see in another person before you call them your friend. For example, I’ve chosen friends who have good marriages and successful families.
- Create a list of attributes you won’t tolerate in friends. Your friends should know the things you just can’t tolerate. You see I never want a friend who’d put me in a position or situation that I should not be in. For example, my friends must be okay that at times I must preach the gospel of Jesus. Therefore, there are just somethings I won’t do.
- Create a list of your friends. This one might seem strange. I know you think you know your friends already, but when you write them down and share them with others somehow the list isn’t as long as you had in your mind. Something changes. This helps to reveal that some people you consider on relationship level three aren’t your friends. Something to note, just because your friend has a friend doesn’t mean your friend’s friend is your friend. More than likely they’re only your neighbor.
These concepts regarding relationship level three hopefully opens your eyes to a new and better way to think about this type of relationship. Once we’ve defined the boundaries around our friends then we know what could potentially cause a relationship problem with a friend.
Anything you have vision or forethought for improves, this includes how you’ve selected your friends. However, the very thing you have no forethought in perishes.
Today is Friday!
I hope you’re beginning to see the progression in the relationship levels. The lower the level, the less dependent you are on the relationship. We began with family, the first place where dependence erodes. Then to neighbors and after that disciples. As far as friends are concerned the level of dependence begins to return. Fortunately, the lesson here helps you see that you can select those with whom you’re building a little more dependence. You choose. It’s your choice and hopefully today, you have begun to develop a method that helps you make the best choice in who you’ll have as a friend.
Question: What would you change about your friends if you could?
Thanks for visiting Kerry A. Clark & Co. where it’s our goal to help you figure out this business called “your life”. Until next Friday, share this post and help get this lesson out to more people.