We all long for healthy relationships. It’s human nature to want deep attachments and fulfilling connections.

The past few years have been challenging in some of my relationships. I purposefully looked at the types of connections I encountered, evaluated the associations, and asked myself if I loved others the way Christ asked me to love them through the challenges. Listen to The Family Room episode about How to Love Challenging Relationships Anyway.

We don’t connect with every person we encounter the same way. Some are naturally deep. Others don’t go past a hello.

Not all closer relationships are cupcakes and confetti. We may be ignored, rejected, disrespected, or betrayed. Discerning the different types of relationships allows us to cultivate proper communication, connection, and potential continuation.


Four Relationships Defined

I’ve found we are in contact with different types of interactions. Once I learned to delineate the types of connections, I could love more like Christ. The four relationships are Accidental Acquaintance, Social Circle, Kindred Spirits, and Forever Family.


Accidental Acquaintance

Accidental Acquaintance: Those on the outside of our daily interactions.

These may be the people we meet in passing, on a plane, at a meeting or an event. We follow each other on social media and like pictures when we see them. This group can be a large number of people. On Facebook, our profile caps the amount to 5000; Instagram is limitless.

In my baseball family, these are the concession workers, ticket takers, ushers, and others in a passing relationship.

Not all relationships develop into more, and that’s okay. If the Lord wants a relationship to grow, He will make it happen. We are responsible for expressing His love to others regardless of potential growth.


Social Circle

Social Circle: The relationships we interact with consistently.

These may be the ladies we meet at bible study, go to church with, are in a small group, or serve in a charitable organization.

Our social circle is a much smaller group than the accidental acquaintances. The group is usually less than seventy-five but greater than twenty.

In my baseball life, the people working at the ballpark whom I see every home game, and many of the wives and girlfriends of the front office staff, fall into this group.


Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits: The relationships of mutual respect and deeper connection.

They get us, understand what matters, and respect our beliefs. We realize what makes them tick. We share a mutual respect for what breaks each other’s hearts. We encourage each other to soar where God has placed us.

Kindred spirits are always up to date on their needs, daily issues, and victories. They pray together frequently and have each other’s backs when needed.

Growth into the next level happens naturally. Trust grows deeper, and love grows stronger. The transition isn’t always apparent; we know when it happens.

The wives and girlfriends of players and coaches come from different cultures, beliefs, and morals. I love every one of them, but sometimes there’s that special one or two that I connect with on a deeper level.


Forever Family

Forever Family: The relationships that are incredibly close and trustworthy.

They are incredibly close and trusted friends. They’re the ones we pour our hearts out to when we need to vent, knowing they will not judge us or condemn us. They stop everything to come to our rescue, bringing our favorite junk food and picking the perfect movie.

In baseball, this is a short list. Our connection is profound. We stay connected even when we are in a different city or team. They know when I need them, and they show up or send things that cheer me up.


Our Responsibility

God commands us to love others. He calls us to love our family, and He calls us to love our neighbor.

Who is our neighbor? It’s not just the person living next door to you, down the street from you, or just the person sitting next to you at Bible study or church.  Your neighbors now are global. We’re in a society where we have immediate accessibility.

Understanding the four relationships teaches us how to develop healthy relationships. It allows us the freedom to love others where they are and for who Christ has created them to be without the burdens of excess responsibility to grow into deeper connections.