The Safety Pyramid – Part 3

MaryH asks the question:

“How does one move from the lower third into a friend? And what makes a friend different from an acquaintance? I was raised in a family where we were taught to protect and wall in. I know that’s wrong but I don’t know what to do?”

Fabulous question Mary… you were reading my mind. That’s precisely what I’m going to talk about this week. Thank you!

Friend or Acquaintance?

I hate shopping for clothes. Pick stuff out, go to the changing room, try something on, look in the mirror, ask opinions, take it off, start over. As I look at this process, picking friends is much the same except for the fact that I don’t hate it like I do clothes shopping. Everybody you know and who is a part of your life is an acquaintance. This is the department store for shopping around and looking for people whom you want to bring in closer… a friend. Here are a few thoughts about the process… random… not in any order but sound principles learned over time.

  1. Do I enjoy the person? Do I find myself amused and laughing? Most of my friends make me smile. If you don’t make me smile, you might just stay an acquaintance. Don’t get me wrong, they can be serious also… but if always morose, somber, and never in a lighter mood, I might be kind to them, care for them and love them… but they’ll probably stay at arm’s length at the bottom of the pyramid.
  2. Are they emotionally predictable, or is spending time with them kind of a waiting game? Are they like “Old Faithful” where something hot and dangerous bubbles up on a regular basis? Again, I can be nice to them, but bringing them too close might result in me getting scalded… repeatedly. No thanks.
  3. Do they call me and seek me out or am I the only one pursuing? When someone calls and asks “How are you doing? We haven’t talked in a while!” I take notice. Wow… they remembered me and their call wasn’t about asking me for something.
  4. How do they handle the word “no”? I remember a friend telling me something unkind about another friend and I told them I didn’t appreciate hearing their negative opinion (a form of saying “no”). They became dark and I could instantaneously feel a chill in the air. Definitely not close friend material. A friend can accept boundaries, see the good and bad in me and give me grace. They don’t hold a grudge and can mend fences easily.
  5. I have a meal with them and see if they ask me any questions about myself and my family. Are they emotionally intelligent or shallow? Do they remember what I said the next time we meet and bring it up or do I have to bring it up? A person that cares enough to remember what you talked about the last time you met, means they care. Now that’s a friend.

More next week! Thanks for listening.

Milan for Milan & Kay



We have several new products in the works that we are very excited about. The first should be available very soon and is a new DVD series titled: Turning Stress into Opportunities for Emotional Connection. Milan and Kay explore how each Love Style deals with stress and then teach us how to bring our stressful feelings into relationship, thus developing emotional connection and intimacy instead of isolation and loneliness.