Levels of Friendship
Friendships can be among the most rewarding and the most frustrating relationships in our lives We are told that friends love at all times (Proverbs 17:17), only wound us in ways that are trustworthy (i.e., tough love; Proverbs 27:6), are more loyal than family at times (Proverbs 18:24), provide mutual edification (Proverbs 27:17), can impart wisdom (Proverbs 13:20), and they may even sacrifice themselves for us (John 15:13).
Level 1. Associate
This one has some gray area. Most of the time, you see your associates more than your own family. You all spend enough time with one another. You get to know them better, understand their likes and dislikes, and have a grasp on their personality. This might cause you to consider these people friends, but answer this: Can you bring your associates around your current non-work/church/ friends and not feel uncomfortable? If you can’t then they are strictly associates nothing more. If you feel the need to separate your associates from your life outside the home, then they are far from friends!