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There are basically four stages of friendship. Other people may label them differently, but for our purposes, they are the acquaintance stage, the casual friendship stage, the close friendship stage, and the intimate friendship stage. Each stage has its own set of characteristics, freedoms, and responsibilities, which you need to understand in order to evaluate your present relationships.

Let's talk about the acquaintance stage. The moment you meet or become introduced to someone, you are 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 is someone you've met. That is 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 are just acquainted with each other. But eventually, you decide which ones you want as friends and the 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 level.

There are responsibilities of the acquaintance. 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 is 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 are not. You can't ask everyone you meet the same 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."

Copyright © Keith Butler Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Deborah Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
Pastor Deborah L. Butler serves in ministry with her husband, Bishop Keith A. Butler at Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield, MI. She is a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel.

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