In response to a question

In response to a question posed to me: “how do you define your “friends” anyway? sometimes i think i spend too much time/effort on too many people rather than concentrating on the few who ‘really matter'”

my definition for “friend” is very broad.. i have 2 categories: friend, or foe (from my navy contracting days),
but recent experiences is almost forcing me to add a third: stranger (or unknown). To be fair, there are differing levels of friendship, and for me, i’m almost always seeking to move deeper in my friendships. And for many who know me, I might have more relational energy (and/or hunger) than the average person.

From a recent Promise Keepers meeting, I learned this scale (which they’ll be promoting in their coming year’s programming):

level 1 = acquaintance;
level 2= growing/ some depth;
level 3= confidence/trust, vows taken
level 4= intimacy. naked. transparent. bear all.

I prefer to use the term “friend” over all of these, to show i want to move deeper with any/every one who’s willing, b/c it takes two to be deeper friends. Many people never experience level 4, even in marriages, and some even avoid level 3 most of their lives. My thinking is that the lack of level 4 is where many (most?) social problems stem from, because conflicts can only be resolved effectively in the context of a level 4 friendship. So with prevailing conflicts in families, churches, cities, nations, is it any wonder life is a mess?

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