Friendships are sources of joy and pain, Erin Smalley writes in her book Grown-Up Girlfriends. How do we build strong connections in every season of life? Erin starts by sharing that every person, specifically every woman, has three main baskets, or “spheres” of friendship.

Basket 3: A collection of 20-100 women who are your acquaintances. You share facts with them but rarely go deeper.

Basket 2: 5-20 women who are your close friends and who walk with you through joys and trials.

Basket 1: 1-5 women who are your “4 a.m. friends” who know you intimately and share the deep things of life, including fears, insecurities, and prayer requests.

Erin says we need to check our hearts in each interaction and keep an eye out for these unhealthy behaviors:

The rival – the person who wants your clothes, your friends, and your children. “Often we need to set a boundary. It can mean shifting the intimacy level and developing appropriate expectations of what the relationship will bring.”

The bloodsucker – someone who is highly needy. “We don’t want to try to fill holes in someone’s heart that God is meant to fill, or their husband is meant to fill. We can only do what God is calling us to, and it may not be what they’re wanting.”

The copycat – someone who genuinely doesn’t know who she is. Erin points out that while the rival is intentionally trying to be you, the copycat may not be aware of what she’s doing.

The controller – the person who makes all the decisions and resists when you try to assert yourself.

The caretaker – the person who steps in to care for you in order to meet her own needs.

Highlight : Don’t be a controller

Grown-up friendships

Leave a comment