Relationships are a wonderful gift the Lord has given us in this life. He, in his all-knowing nature, knew that we need others, we are not meant to do this life alone. While relationships are a gift, they can also be tough. Change is often taking place in relationships, there are points where you may find yourself letting go of old relationships and points where you develop new ones. Below is a helpful framework that was created by Larry Osborne as he was thinking about relationships among believers. This framework may be of some help to you as you consider how relationships develop both within a one on one relationship as well as a small group of people.
|Acquaintances → Friendship → Trust & Openness → Authenticity & Accountability|
Acquaintances: This is during the first few times of spending time together. You are becoming more familiar with one another. Conversation among one another tends to be more fact based.
Friendship: This occurs once shared experiences have happened. People may begin to pursue one another outside a large group gathering. Conversation among one another moves between facts and ideas/opinions.
Trust & Openness: Shared experiences have happened and trust is being built between individuals. Conversation among one another tends to move between ideas/opinions as well as feelings and emotions.
Authenticity & Accountability: Trust is built and there is a level of comfort to be open and vulnerable with one another. Conversation among one another moves between all levels. People feel comfortable sharing feelings/emotions as well as needs and desires.
Relationships form through natural progression, it is a progression that cannot be forced and often takes time. It’s important to remember that Individuals move through the process at different speeds. Spending time with others is the natural way to move through this progression. People need to grow in comfort with one another before trust is built and that comes with creating shared experiences with one another. Once you reach trust/openness and authenticity and accountability, the time spent with that person or group doesn’t have to happen as frequently because you’ve reached a depth where it is easy to pick up right where you left off. This can often create more time for new relationships to develop while also remembering, you can only reach those two levels with a certain number of people. Ultimately, as believers, we need to be open handed in our relationships, trusting the Lord will continue to bring people in and out of our life for his purpose and will.