Tag Archives: family

8 LEVELS Of Relationship – Part II

First you see or hear of someone. Then you meet them. Then you become an acquaintance. Then you do the hard work (or sometimes easy depending on who it is) of getting to know them.

What comes next?

Know What They Are About

When you enter this level, you have not left the level of Getting to Know Someone. Actually, the last four levels are only higher stages within that level.

You never really stop getting to know an individual. Why? Because, as your relationship grows you both change. It is inevitable that you and the other person are going to adapt to certain situations.

Also, people usually do not lay all their “personal cards” on the table. There is some area or areas they continue to hold close to them. We will get back to this.

While you are in this stage, if you are attentive to it, you will begin to understand what makes this person you are in relationship with tick. What gets them up in the morning? What do they enjoy? What frustrates them? What kind of hobbies do they have? What are some of their pitfalls?

What do they define as success in their life? What kind of friend do they need? What are the goals they have set for themselves? And the list can go on…

The key word here is “WHAT”.

It is all part of understanding the person you are adopting as friend. You will find similarities you have – whether it is in opinion, history, philosophy, faith, etc.

You will also discover traits or characteristics you are not in agreement with. When you do discover this, you need to make a decision as to whether you will simply accept this negative trait or influence this friend and help them overcome it.

CAUTION: Your friend must know this negative trait and they must desire to work on it or change it. Otherwise, it may cause a rift in the developing relationship.

Know WHO Someone Is

This level is one step above knowing what someone is about. At this level you start (and continue to learn) to get an understanding about why this person does life they way they do it.

Why do they respond in certain ways to specific events or circumstances? Why is it they may react positively or negatively to the same situation someone else may normally react opposite?

What is their thought process?

At this stage it may be common for you both to finish each other’s sentences. It may also be common for you to be able to speak on behalf of that friend, because you know how they may respond.

CAUTION: Just do so with great care. A mistake here could set back your relationship or even stall it.

This level is where you have the realization they are what and who they say they are. There is a revelation into the nature of your friendship and the feeling that as long as we maintain healthy communication and boundaries, we could be friends for a very long time.

Someone you can call FRIEND

This is simple. If you have made it to the Knowing WHO Someone Is level, more than likely you have already started calling them “Friend”.

A friend is someone who accepts you just as you are, but is not afraid to call you on your issues. There is a trust that has grown to the point where you can share personal, confidential information and believe it will stop there.

You can also rest assured they will not judge you for your actions, but share their opinion in love to give you a healthy, balanced view of you.

We throw this term around WAY too often. It is a term that should only be used when it is understood mutually that this is the nature of the relationship.

When you vouch for your friend, you believe they will represent your opinion of them well and represent themselves in an honorable way. Besides, your own reputation is on the line when you call them friend.

A friend at this level will sense when something is amiss in your life. When you are down, they know it. When you are happy, they celebrate with you. When you are sad, they listen and allow you to cry – but not for long. When you are in need of a push, they provide motivation.

Then, at some point – and no one can really say for sure when this happens in any relationship – you move on to the highest level of relationship…

Someone You Can Call Family

At this level, the boundaries are all but removed. Sure, you still respect the relational boundaries, but truth, honesty, opinions, issues; NOTHING is off the table for discussion here.

You know that even if you yell, get into a disagreement, or even become separated by circumstance or miles, if they needed you, you would be there for them. This doesn’t mean you will fly 2000 miles, but it means you are there for them emotionally.

If it is possible to be there in person, then you do it. However, miles should NEVER be an excuse not to pick up a phone, talk about your feelings no matter how irrational.

There are some people in our lives that describe family as only those who are blood related, or married into. I would like to blow that definition right out of the water. Sure, being blood related or related by marriage technically makes you family. It does not mean you have developed the relationship through all 8 of these levels.

For example, I found out last summer that I have a cousin whom I have NEVER met. I just heard about her and saw her on Facebook.

I cannot expect her or her expect of me that we are at the highest level of relationship simply because we have a common bloodline. It will take time and a mutual desire to walk through the levels of relationship.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts about these 8 levels of relationship. Offer your opinions about the levels, share with us. Or email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!


Christmas Relationships

What IS it about Christmas and gift giving that causes SO MUCH STRESS on the one giving and the one receiving?!?!

Here is what I mean…

The one giving the gift has the pressure of “getting it right” – making sure they give a gift that the other person either needs or really wants. BUT – is it the right color? The right kind? The right size?

And if it is not the right size, if I get it too big will they think I think they are fat? If I get it too small, will they think I am trying to tell them something?

If I spend too much, what will others think about their gift from me because I didn’t spend the same amount?

Or are you like so many others who say, “I’m just going to get them a gift card, because they are SO HARD to shop for!”

OR, “I really don’t have enough money, but I can make them something…I wonder if they will think I am cheap for not buying them something.”

The one receiving has the pressure of “responding the right way” to the gift given. Do I act surprised even though I know what they are giving? What do I do if I don’t like the gift, or the color?

What if it is the wrong size, how do I let them know? What if I give the wrong facial expression, they might think I don’t appreciate their gift?

What if I didn’t get them the same cost value gift as they are giving me? They may think I don’t think of them the same way!

Christmas can be the most deceptive time of the year when it comes to our relationships.

Should we put on an act? Or should we just be thankful someone thought of us at all?

Is it necessary to get a gift for someone I consider part of my life?

Lots of questions haunt this time of year because of our tradition of giving and receiving gifts. The sad part is, we have a tendency to place more emphasis on the gift and what it means about our relationships that we forget showing love and appreciation for someone should happen all through the year, not just on Christmas day.

We do not need to give physical gifts to show someone how much we are grateful they are in our lives.

Sometimes, just a warm hug and letting them know verbally how much and why we are thankful for their relationship with us can mean more than any physical item that is bought, given and received on ANY day of the year.

I am not a proponent of NOT giving gifts. Not one iota. I love seeing the expression on someone’s face when they truly to receive something they need or desire. Just look at this video of people receiving puppies for Christmas…

We truly put more pressure on ourselves than is necessary. We should never compare our friendships, family and any other meaningful relationship to the size or cost of a gift given and received.

What makes the relationship meaningful is the fact that even if NO gifts were ever given, you know you can rely on that person for support, love, caring, a listening ear, acceptance, respect, forgiveness, encouragement, appreciation, affirmation, and time well-spent.

Maybe this imbalance in gift giving and receiving is the reason why SO MANY people cannot accept that Jesus was a free gift to the world…

He was the gift that God know we needed. He wasn’t a gift that came wrapped in the best, shiniest wrapping paper with a perfect bow. He was the gift that came wrapped in strips of cloth lying over hay.

He wasn’t a gift that was accepted by many because he wasn’t what they were expecting or hoping for.

Still today, Jesus is a gift – His birth, life, sacrifice and coming back to life IS the most free gift anyone could ever receive. However, many of us don’t give the gift to others of how He has changed our lives and transformed our thinking.

This Christmas – go ahead and give your gifts, receive your gifts, and provide as many warm hugs as you can. Just remember, it is not the value of the physical gift you give someone that makes the relationship. It is the value you find in the relationship that makes the difference.

Show someone that you value them – even those you do not know – and recognize they are there, that they are valuable – not because of the gift you are giving them, but because they are one of God’s creative masterpieces.

Merry Christmas to you and may God fill the rest of this year with joy!

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Thank you so much for continuing to read. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.