As I reflect on the power of relationships, I see that there are different ways that people approach friendship. I'm just making this stuff up, but it seems to make sense. Here are some types of friends that I see.
The Hider avoids relationships at every turn. He enters every conversation looking for a way to end He may fear being exposed, or may feel inadequate. The hider wants to be discovered, but doesn’t feel worthy. He wants to see the other person make the effort, because only then can he tell if that person truly wants to be friends.
The Diver jumps right in. She has never met a stranger. She tells you her life story in the grocery line. Everyone is interested in her life, or so she thinks. The diver gets in too deep too fast in nearly every relationship, and often gets hurt. The diver shares so much information, that it overwhelms her friends. Others may find themselves avoiding divers.
The Runner runs from relationship. It’s hard to catch a runner. He will avoid commitment, and cancel plans with flimsy excuses. Runners are content to be alone, and don’t believe that Jesus wants to bless them through friendships. Friendship is valuable, but he would rather observe it than experience it.
The Stone Waller is an easy person to get to know—at first. This person makes friends easily, but only allows people to get so close. When the relationship reaches a certain point, the stone waller refuses to go deeper. Such people have experienced hurt with too much vulnerability, and they don’t want to go there again. They may have lots of shallow friends, and constantly see people go in and out of their lives.
The Tiptoer goes into relationship slowly. She gradually gains trust and earns respect. The tiptoer counts the cost of friendship very carefully. She wants deep friendships, but finds it difficult to open up. When she feels betrayed or let down by someone, she takes that person off the deep friendship track in her life. She may have lots of friends, but only a few close friends.
The Clinger constantly looks for one person to escort him through life. This is a needy person who will use up anyone who openly befriends him. The clinger may turn on someone who begins pulling away.
The Normal Person is a fictitious creation that we all imagine is out there somewhere. Well, maybe not. But I think that even normal people sometimes slide into one of the patterns above. Our challenge is to love people, even when they act weird. And we can hope that others will love us when we are.
Even more amazing is that God uses all these weird people in our lives to shape us into more godly people. Only God could do that.