Friendship can be very rewarding. When two or three individuals are able to find that special connection with another human being, they feel completed and their hearts are filled with peace and security. In order to arrive at that most intimate place where minds meld and unbreakable bonds are established, one must make his or her way through the various stages of friendship. This article briefly discusses five stages that every close friendship must navigate when forming life-long companionships.
The first stage to wade through comes before the initial introduction. In this stage the two have never met personally but know of each other or one knows of the other. They might come across each other in a night club setting or a common workplace or maybe a church or school event. They may sit on opposite sides of a classroom or work in an adjacent department. However, at least one or the other or both notice the other in an informal way. They see how the other interacts with those around them. They see from afar that the other has common and even likeable characteristics that make them an interesting prospect to a good acquaintance or close friend.
The second stage is the introduction stage. This is the time when they formally meet for the first time. They make contact during an event such as in the bleachers of a football game or during an ice breaker at a church event. They shake hands, engage in light superficial conversation and begin sizing up each other to see if they have anything in common and have compatible likes and dislikes.
The Acquaintance Stage
The next step in the progression toward solid friendship is the acquaintance stage. In this part, the two or three begin to hang out with each other. Instead of bumping into each other at the party or the school football game, they make plans to meet each other. The two or three actively seek out time with each other. In this time period, the would-be friends may start going a little deeper in conversation, but mostly they will stay on comfortable or generally surface-type topics.
The Friendship Stage
The fourth stage is the friendship stage. The two or three have been hanging out with each other for some time. They enjoy each others' company; eat lunch together during break or recess, and begin delving into stickier issues. If they have mild conflict, their relationship is solid enough to weather the storm and rebound; it is certainly not the end of the world.
The Intimate Relationship Stage
In friendship, true intimacy comes when the participants feel free to be completely transparent with the other (s). They are not afraid to be open and honest and are always secure in the relationship. Each one knows that there is a deep connection and there is no fear of judgment. If one or the other feels compelled to offer constructive criticism, the recipient does not mind because they know that their friend offers the advice with the best of intentions. A t this stage, the relationship can weather just about any conflict or personal storm because it is characterized by an ever-abiding, unconditional love.
Friendship is a gift beyond compare. It can bring deep peace and satisfaction. All relationships travel through at least five stages before they are well-established. This article has explained five stages that every close relationship will traverse along the way to intimate friendships.