For years at Celebrate Kids, we’ve taught youth and their parents and teachers that there are levels of relationships and friendships. You can purchase our Relationships to Friendships brochure here. It includes many more questions like these to help your children decide who to move closer to their heart and further from their heart when they realize they’ve allowed them to get too close:
Casual: People you’ve been acquainted with that you’ve wanted to get to know. There’s no personal investment yet. You’re simply observing behavior and learning their character while in groups together.
Ask questions like these to determine if a casual relationship is appropriate: Do they make wise decisions? Are they courteous, responsible, and trustworthy? Are they kind without being asked or do they only do things for others if they hope to get something in return?
Close: People who have earned your trust and you and they want to spend more one-on-one time together. This is when you learn more about their feelings and values.
Ask questions like these to determine if a close friendship is appropriate: Do they make choices based on what they think is right and moral or do they only do what they want? Do they apologize for mistakes/misbehavior? Are they jealous of the time you spend with family or friends?
Intimate: You and close friends have earned each other’s trust because you’ve shown each other who you really are and accept each other for who you are. You can be emotionally honest.
Ask questions like these to determine if you’re ready for an emotionally intimate friendship: Are they emotionally transparent and honest? Do they allow you to be? Do they recognize bad habits? If so, are they willing to change?
Mature: People you have spent at least a year or more getting to know. You have each earned the trust of the other and are willing to work through conflicts in ways that are healthy and mature. This is when a dating relationship could grow to engagement/marriage.
Ask questions like these to determine if a mature friendship is right: Do you find yourself making excuses or apologizing to others for this person’s behavior or attitude? Has he/she ever asked you to keep a “bad” secret about addictions, habits, health, or actions?