Have you ever wondered what might happen if you just took the chance and forced yourself to meet a total stranger?
How many people walk by you every day and you have NO IDEA who they are, what their story is, what brought them to where they are, and who they have in their circle of influence?
DISCLAIMER: The author takes NO responsibility for WHO you choose to try this experiment with, nor can he be responsible for the outcome, whatever that may be.
We get so comfortable with our current relationship setup sometimes. OR, we withdraw into our own bubble of relationship because we don’t want to take the risk of getting hurt, rejected, and the list can go on… This site is not meant to dive into the psychological areas that keep us from relationships.
There is literally NO END to the amount of connections we can make in relationship with people around us. We may say it’s a small world, but is it really? With 7 billion people in the world, can we ever stop the cycle of meeting others?
One of my favorite things to do is to meet someone and spend some time hearing their story, from where they were born to what brought them to where they are in life currently.
I am not always successful in getting to that point with someone, because they need to be willing to share their story.
However, what I have found in meeting people and developing relationship is there are at least 8 different levels of relationship – four of which I will address in Part I and the other four in Part II.
Seeing or Hearing
Yes, the first step in Relationship is the knowledge that someone even exists. It may be that you see someone across the room, or walking down the street consistently at the same time you cross that same path every day. It could be the person at your office or church that passes your line of sight and you “notice” them.
It is possible that you hear of this person through another friend or acquaintance, and the purpose of them informing you of their existence is because it could be a strategic relationship, or just one where it would be mutually beneficial.
This is the level of relationship where you know OF someone. You have bits of details and information – just enough to intrigue you to the point of wanting to go to the next level of relationship.
This level takes effort on our part. Just because we have seen or heard of someone, does NOT mean they have seen or heard of us.
At this level, it can be quite difficult for some to break through. At this level our fears can overtake us – depending on our past, our confidence, or our feelings.
However, if we desire to move forward in our relationships and developing new ones – we need to overcome these fears and insecurities. If you find you are having trouble in this area, it would be best to seek help, whether from a counselor, pastor or even a mentor.
The fears that can keep us from moving past this point are fears of rejection; feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, or even fear of someone knowing you have these fears.
In order to move forward, whether in life, job, or friendships this level of relationship is critical.
Take the risk. After seeing or hearing of someone, and assessing the value this potential relationship could add to your life (and remember, you should be able to add value to their life in some way as well – this is mutual), jump in with both feet. Call, email, or simply walk up to this person, reach out your hand and introduce yourself. You have nothing to lose here.
After you reach this level, you have already entered into the next level.
Acquaintance literally means “a person’s knowledge or experience of something, or one’s slight knowledge of or friendship with someone.”
This level is strictly surface knowledge and experience. You may have had coffee or lunch with someone. You do not really know this person. You only know of them.
I would not place a large amount of trust in them at this point. You have crossed the threshold of relationship and broken the ice. You now know of each other and may slightly know about their background and current life.
Unless you are an expert at interrogation, you really only have a small percentage chance of knowing if this person has misrepresented themselves.
This is why you need to decide whether you desire to enter the next level of relationship. If you are going to pursue a deeper connection (whether business or personal) the next level is critical.
Getting to KNOW You
This is the level that probably takes the most time, attention, emotional investment, and care.
In order to get to KNOW anyone it takes time: time spent talking, time spent working, and time spent testing the relationship. Usually this means you have common ground with them, or you mutually will benefit from the relationship.
It is during this level where you will see clues and cues that will either raise a red flag or encourage you to spend more time getting to know them.
There is no set amount of time that works as a formula in this level. How long this takes is up to you and to the object of your relationship – this newly forming friendship.
You both need to desire to continue the pursuit of friendship. It will not work otherwise. This is why paying attention is imperative. There have been many times in my life where I have been complacent and unaware of the signs and was burned.
Don’t get burned. Turn up the heat slowly.
If the relationship is to work you need to move at a comfortable pace, the other person needs to be open to it, and know beyond any doubt the forming friendship will be tested at some point.
Then one day (it could be months or even years), you will realize that you have entered into levels five and six of relationship.
To Be Continued…
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.