At Wednesday night’s RCIA class, Father used a set of concentric rings to describe how an individual develops friendship (see diagram below).
People in the outer ring are considered acquaintances, and there are many of them. You just chit-chat with acquaintances. You talk about everyday kind of things, like the weather or how green the grass is. There is no risk involved with talking with acquaintances.
At the next level are causal friends. Causal friends are people with whom you have shared some of your personal ideas, maybe some of your personal history. It involves a little risk to share. You could be rejected. So, you learn to be careful with whom you share some of your private thoughts. The number of people in this level is much less than the number of acquaintances.
The next level is your close friends. With these friends, you share more of your ideas, some of your feelings, and a big part of your personal history. It is a much bigger risk to let someone in this close. You are very careful who you call a close friend. If a close friend rejects you, then depression, frustration, and/or anger usually follows. The number of close friends is very limited. You could probably count your close friends on one hand.
In the inner most circle, there is you and God. This is where you share your most deepest, darkest secrets and feelings. In a lifetime, a person may only let one other person, maybe two, in there. If a person rejects you here, there is deep depression, and maybe even death.
You can also have different layers within each level. Some acquaintances are closer to you than others. You have a few causal friends that are close to you, but are not quite best friends. The boundaries are not a solid, clear cut line either. There is some blurring or shading between the levels.
When I first saw this diagram, I was a pleasantly surprised to see God in the inner most circle with me. But after thinking about it, I guess I should not have been. I just never thought about it that way before. It is also interesting to note that God will never reject you, only you can reject Him.