Many friendships will come and go in life. In seasons of change, a person will encounter new friends, and old friends will fall away. There are friendships that stay with you during a lifetime. Those friends are the first ones you call to share good news and the ones you can count on in times of crisis.
The seasonal friends may be those you work with. There may be minimal outside contact with them besides the day-to-day of working together. These friends share your joys, may know of your sorrows, but they don’t connect deeply in your situation. I like to call them the flyaway friends. When a person leaves their job, you don’t see them anymore. That’s it. They are gone from your life. They lasted for a season and now they depart. It is important to mention however, some of these working relationships may turn into lifetime friends.
Those lifetime friends are those who have seen you at your worst. They have celebrated with you, cried with you, and have lasted a lifetime with you. These friendships can live at a distant or be close. You can be out of touch with them for days or months, but when you connect, it’s just like yesterday. These special friendships connect you within the deepest part of your soul.
Then I refer to the third type of friendship as the stranger friend. These are the simple encounters you have with your neighbors, local grocers, or attendants you see often. There is no deep meaning to the relationship but they serve a purpose. They help you carry in your groceries. They shovel your sidewalk in the winter. They may be regulars at your church. You don’t know a lot about their lives and you don’t want to. I refer to them as the avoidable friend. You don’t seek a deep friendship with them and they easily drop out of your life.
So why are there so many types of relationships? Perhaps God is fulfilling a need in your life. If you had too many stranger friends, you would never find meaning in relationships. If you had too many lifetime friends, you wouldn’t have time for your family or yourself. Taking care of everyone else would leave you little time for what’s most important.
Can you think of the relationships in your life and which type of friendship category they fall?