The moment you meet or become introduced to someone, you're now acquainted with him or her. You might not remember the person's name, but when you see his or her face, you remember that it's someone you've met. That's an acquaintance.

You may say that the person is your friend after the second time you meet, but he isn't your friend. He's just an acquaintance.

An acquaintanceship is based on occasional contact, such as with classmates at the beginning of a school year: The first, second, or third month, you're just acquainted with one another.

But, eventually, you decide which ones you want as friends and which ones you don't want to know anything else about - those people will remain acquaintances. In other words, you can't ignore them when you see them, acting as if you've never met them before. They will always be acquaintances unless you decide to take them to the next stage.

At the acquaintance stage, you have the freedom to ask general questions. For example, if I were to meet you, I'd ask you your name because that's public information. But if I just met you and started getting into your business right off the top, you might decide, I don't want her for a friend. She's nosy!

So the distinguishing characteristics of this stage of a relationship are as follows:
1) It's based on occasional contact.
2) You have the freedom to ask general questions or questions based on public information.

Responsibilities of the Acquaintance
The responsibility that goes along with this stage is that you need to view each acquaintance as a divine appointment. In other words, you say, "Okay, Father, why is this person in my life? Is there something You want me to do for him? How should I pray for him?"

You also need to design appropriate general questions. For instance, most people don't mind if you ask them whether they're married or divorced. It's public information or something they would volunteer. But some people are so private, you couldn't ask them that as an acquaintance.

You have to take the time to look at each new acquaintance and decide which questions are appropriate and which ones aren't. You can't ask everyone you meet the same exact questions. You have to be able to listen to God and then follow His leading to find out what He wants you to do with each "divine appointment."

Source: Marriage & Family by Deborah L. Butler
Excerpt permission granted by Word Of Faith Publishing