The Safety Pyramid – Part 2 of 4


Review from last week:

How do you know if a person is safe?   You need to understand the “safety pyramid” and always apply the rules of the pyramid in order to protect yourself (and others) from getting too close, too fast.

Imagine a pyramid, just like the ones in Egypt or on the back of a dollar bill minus the eye.   Divide it horizontally into thirds.  The bottom third is entitled “acquaintances”, the middle third is entitled “friends” and the top of the pyramid is entitled “safe people.”

Here are three of the rules of the pyramid just to get us started.

  1. All people (and I mean ALL) enter at the bottom of the pyramid as “acquaintances.”
  2. It takes at least 1.5 – 2 years for a person to “earn” their way to the safe person category.
  3. Only marry or become closest friends with a safe person.

When we marry or become closest friends with only safe people, we have the highest chances of success in that

o, what is an acquaintance?  An acquaintance is “a person or persons whom one knows but not intimately (New World Dictionary).”  Every one who comes into your life is just that.   It is someone with whom you are friends, yet you only know them on a surface level.

You could laugh; play; work or be a neighbor with them, yet your knowledge of them is restricted by time and depth.  They are in fact untested with respect to substance, maturity, emotional quotient, relational quotient, character and integrity.

A lady called our radio show today asking us why she always attracted drug and alcohol addicts as boyfriends.  In fact she had dated a guy from church for two years, he had proposed and she said yes, only to find that he was a weekend alcoholic.  She had no clue.  Why? Because she had never asked any hard questions and he had never explored her soul.   They knew very little about each other and were still acquaintances after two years.

What are some ways to test an acquaintance to see if they are promotable to “friend?”  Here are just a few:

  • Can they give a good chronology of their life and how their family shaped them both good and bad?
  • Are they willing to share with you present struggles and areas in which they are trying to grow?
  • Will they allow you to share your life with them?
  • How well do they tolerate frustration? Do they have a low tolerance threshold and poor coping skills or do they tolerate “not knowing” and allow time for matters to slowly progress and emerge into clarity?
  • How well do they handle “No?”
  • Can they go to others for comfort when distressed or do they hide in shame and isolate in pain?
  • Are they able to tolerate separation and allow you to be your own person or do they demand conformity or constant closeness?
  • Can they take instruction from others or do they always criticize others over them?
  • Do they have a wide array of friends?
  • How easily do they get angry?  Some get angry too fast and others don’t get angry enough?
  • Do they remember to bring up and re-inquire about things you’ve told them?

No, they don’t have to be perfect in all these items, yet unsafe people tend to get very stuck in these areas.  Are they growing?  Are they aware of their weak areas?  Are they headed somewhere positive?   If the answer is “yes”, then perhaps you could promote them to a friend status in six to nine months.    “Too long!” you say? Well, it’s up to you.  Jesus took three and a half years to invest into the twelve disciples, and at the end of that time, three were the most safe (Peter, James and John), eight were more like friends and one was an unsafe traitor (Judas).

Thanks for listening!

Thanks and blessings,


Milan & Kay

Next week:More rules of the pyramid and how much should we trust a “friend?”

.  And that’s what we all want.