4 Types of Friendship: What is the Purpose of Yours?

Many times, when we hear the word relationship we think about romantic relationships. While romantic relationships are great, there are many other kinds of relationships that we should have wisdom about. It is important to understand the different kinds of relationships and the purpose for each one. Discovering the purpose for every relationship will help you experience a happier and more purposeful life. Let’s dive into exploring the different types of relationships.

Relationship Number One: Toxic

Do not be misled, Bad company corrupts good character. -1 Corinthians 15:33

This is the relationship that you are in that you weren’t suppose to be in at all or that you were suppose to end a long time ago. It serves neither party any purpose. This person is negatively influencing you to live a lifestyle less than the life that God has for you. This is the relationship where you probably are telling yourself, “I can handle it, I won’t allow this person to change me, I will help them change” all the while this person is negatively influencing you. If you are not positively influencing this negative person and you two are hanging around each other, you are the one being changed, and it’s not for the better. In every relationship, at least one of the parties are changing as a result of that relationship. It’s important to recognize when you are a part of a toxic relationship and quickly remove yourself from it.

Relationship Number Two: Mentee

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity and dignity. -Titus 2:6-7

This relationship requires a high level of maturity. It requires you to be mature enough in your walk not to be negatively influenced by the actions of the mentee. It also requires you to be mature enough to give without receiving anything in return. It is important, in this relationship, not to confuse this as a friendship. The sole purpose of this relationship is for you to allow God to use you to be a light to the other person. If you don’t understand that purpose, you can get hurt when the other person doesn’t reciprocate what you are giving to them. It’s important not to cross boundaries in this relationship. Do not open yourself up to this person and become vulnerable like you would in a friendship. The focus is the other party, not you. You should begin to see a positive change in the other person as a result of this relationship. They also will see you as a mentor or source of wise counsel. Do not try to develop mentor/mentee relationships where you are not led to. You are not called to everyone.

It is also important to stay built up in the word and also in the presence of God so that you can be able to “carry the burdens” of your brother without it having a negative effect on you. You want to maintain that integrity that drew them to you in the first place. More importantly, be sure to point them to God in everything so that they won’t make and idle out of you and replace seeking God’s counsel for your counsel.

Relationship Number Three: Mentor

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. -Proverbs 13:20

This relationship is the same as the previous, only the roles are reversed. There will be people that God sends to your life for the sole purpose of being a light to you and will help you through your current season or assist in getting you to the next. It is important that you understand that this is simply counsel and that God’s word should triumph over everyone else’s. Do not substitute this relationship for your own personal relationship with God. This person may be someone who’s spiritual life you admire, but you still can’t be satisfied with just getting second hand revelation. The mentor is meant to be confirmation to the word that was already spoken to you from God.

Relationship Number Four: God-ordained Lifelong Friendships

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. -Proverbs 27:17

This relationship is very sacred. It is rare and does not come by very often. These are people that God has sent into your life for a lifetime. They are here for you regardless of the circumstances or situations. In this relationship , there is definite reciprocity. You both are feeding and sowing into this relationship. Both parties are being positively influenced by each other. You correct each other when needed in love. You build each other up and both have made the decision to not allow one another to settle for anything less than their God given ability and potential.  This connection will bring you so much joy, wise counsel, and good times. However, this friendship also requires work. It requires time, patience and unconditional love. It is similar to a marriage relationship minus the romantic aspect of it. In this connection, with time you learn each other in a very intimate (non-romantic) way. You discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses and make a decision to love each other through both. This relationship will be challenged by the enemy because he knows that this is a God ordained connection that will result in lives being changed and God being glorified. He knows that the two parties’ purposes are intertwined in some way and will try to attack this relationship. He’ll bring offense after offense to try to destroy it. You have to be mindful that it is the enemy’s job to try to steal, kill, and destroy anything that will advance or bring glory to the kingdom of God.

It’s important not to allow offense to arise between you and your God sent friend. Love unconditionally and understand that your purposes are more important than any offense. What if John the Baptist and Jesus let offense get in the way of their relationship? Or Mary and Elizabeth? How differently would everything have turned out? Keep that in mind when offense tries to creep into this relationship. Also, just like a marriage relationship God will show you through this relationship your own flaws. You’re blessed if you find one or two friendships. Fight for this relationship!

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! -Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

It is so important that we as believers understand the purpose for our relationships. God has a purpose for every connection. Seek God about the people that you currently surround yourself with. If you find yourself feeling like you’re in an alone season where it’s just you and God, take advantage of this season because He will teach you a lot during this time. Pray and trust that God will send the right relationships for each season, in the right timing.

Pray this prayer:

Father God, I thank you for being such a strategic God! I thank you that every relationship in my life has purpose. Thank you for opening my eyes and giving me understanding on what purpose each relationship serves in my life. I ask that you remove any toxic relationships and place in my life fun, exciting, and purposeful  relationships that will advance the kingdom and bring glory to your name. In Jesus name Amen.

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Hi guys, I’m Sharnae, one of the bloggers for “The Best You.” It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all of the great things that God places on my heart to write about. Writing has been such a passion for me for so long. “The Best You” has given me the opportunity to be able to put that passion into action.

It is my hope that as I share with you my experiences as a Christian, wife, and nurse, it increases your desire to live a God focused life that draws you closer to God as you are discovering The Best You.

Related Posts

Hi guys, I'm Sharnae, one of the bloggers for “The Best You.” It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all of the great things that God places on my heart to write about. Writing has been such a passion for me for so long. “The Best You” has given me the opportunity to be able to put that passion into action. It is my hope that as I share with you my experiences as a Christian, wife, and nurse, it increases your desire to live a God focused life that draws you closer to God as you are discovering The Best You.
  1. Reply

    Wow, I never thought of friendship like this. Very refreshing and makes you think about the people you have in your lives…

  2. Reply

    I’m still learning what is appropriate and what is not

  3. Reply

    I am still learning about how to have the right kind of friendships

  4. Reply

    I got rid of my friendships that were number one, I am on the fence when it comes to the ones like #2. I seem to be more mature and responsible and have to help or bail out most of them.

  5. Reply

    I want friendships that are pleasing to him, the ones that he will approve off.

  6. Reply

    Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Reply

    I love this!! It’s so relatable, and interesting to see which of my friends came to mind while reading each type of friendship. Great post!

  8. Reply

    I think a lot of my “friendships” are really just glorified acquaintances. They wouldn’t fit into any of these categories, but I’m still thankful for them.

  9. Reply

    I just got rid of a toxic relationship and it was the best and hardest decision I have ever made. I feel like my friendships now are more towards number 4 than anything else.

  10. Reply

    I love your explanation of the Mentee. This is so true and I’ve never been able to step back and think of it in the way that you described. Thanks so much for sharing this, love!

  11. Reply

    Very mature and insightful. Thank you!

  12. Reply

    Great words on friendships. Thanks for posting. – Amy

    • Kenya
    • April 10, 2017

    I never knew it was so many categories of relationships!I personally consider myself a mentor

  13. Reply

    There is definitely a purpose for every relationship that comes across our path. Some are more difficult than others and those difficult ones often times need God in such a way that they don’t even know. Setting boundaries is definitely good and needs to happen.

    • Lauren
    • April 11, 2017

    I love this simple breakdown! I’ve found many different types of friendships since I moved out for state and especially through the years of having two children

  14. Reply

    Great perspective! There are tons of “friendship” articles, but I really like how you chose to focus on a hand full of broader categories that are not regularly emphasized. Particularly the point about offense. The small foxes will do spoil the vine.

  15. Reply

    These are all very encouraging and purposeful! I love the scripture speaks so much truth!

  16. Reply

    We should each have at least one of each category.

  17. I’ve been a toxic friend and have also had them. Thankfully neither of those problems exist anymore!

  18. Ooh, the toxic relationship – I had one of those and realized too late how negative it really was. One tough lesson that has helped me better pick my circle. I have a mentor and mentees and a few lifelong friendships, but I would say there is a fifth relationship – seasonal. We sometimes have people into whose lives we are active for a season and due to circumstances, we do not stay close, but had a purpose and positive influence on each other.

    • Mrs.R
    • May 12, 2017

    I just asked for prayer regarding this last night in home group! Thank you so much for being a willing vessel… God just used you to speak very clearly to me. You rock!! I will be praying for you now.

  19. Reply

    Such a true reflection of relationships in my life and yes the toxic, can sometimes be subtle, in behaviour and words towards others. Great read and blog.

    • Neva
    • July 25, 2017

    Great thoughts! I would propose a fifth category, the friendship that is just kind of going nowhere are needs to be challenged to another level

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