3 Types of Relationships Everyone Needs

Relationships are important! We actually seek relationships that “confirm” who we believe we are. Healthy people seek healthy relationships because they are accustomed to having healthy, positive interactions and feedback in their lives. Unhealthy people tend to seek relationships that validate distorted self-images. This approach may not be healthy, but it is comfortable.

What are people reflecting back to you about you? What do you reflect back to yourself?

When it comes to HEALTHY relationships, we need three types.

The three types of relationships WE ALL NEED are peers, mentors, and mentees.

  1. Who can you be?

Peers constitute our primary community and accountability. Peers are those with whom we “do life.” From where are your peers coming? If you aren’t finding peers in healthy places, there is a good chance that you aren’t finding healthy peers.

These relationships are naturally fostered in the rhythm of community. For me, and probably many of you, church provides this community. My peers are in my small group at church. We meet regularly, hang out, talk about important life issues... We DO LIFE TOGETHER. Another avenue of community is school, or if you’re a parent, through your kids’ school friends. Yes! That’s right! Children bringing people together. Imagine that! I’ve gained the best community of friends by getting to know my kids’ friends’ parents. Ask yourself, “Where in my life might I engage to build peer relationships?” And the next step is letting them into your life. Easier said than done, I know, but the payoff is worth it! Ain’t nobody got time to live a lonely life! But seriously...being a friend and allowing someone to be YOUR friend has more rewards than you can count!

2. What can you learn?

We all have plenty to learn!!! I know I do at least! I feel like the older I get, the more I realize I need to learn. Anybody else?

Mentors are there to provide wisdom, insight, and direction. They are not necessarily our “friend,” but they love us.

While I love virtual mentors and being mentored indirectly through books and the like, we need relational mentors. People we can see and who hug us. Ask yourself, “Who do I respect?” Someone older, who’s maybe been where you are and come through it all well. Approach that person and ask if he or she would consider mentoring you. Keep in mind that the power is in the hands of the mentee. When you approach a mentor, know what you are looking for. Ask yourself, “What do I need?”

3. What can you give?

Mentees are people into whom we pour our wisdom, but mentees must know that the power of a mentoring relationship is within the hands of the mentee. I’ve heard so many mentees complain that mentors do not call or pursue or seem as though they want to spend time. As a mentor myself now, I realize that priorities and busy-ness do not always allow us to pursue people. The gift, in my opinion, that a mentor gives a mentee is not the gift of pursuit but the gift of time and availability.

Regarding mentees...Yes! You can and should be mentoring someone! While I believe that the power lies with the mentee, which means the mentee must want and accept responsibility, I believe you can position yourself well to mentor or offer to mentor someone. Don’t be afraid to ask them to hop in the car with you while you run errands! (Can you tell that’s from personal experience?) Be creative with your time! This is your opportunity to be a healthy mirror for someone who needs it!

Who can you BE? What can you LEARN? How can you GIVE?

If you’d like to explore these more fully or dig a little deeper into relational patterns, we’d love to guide you into hope, wellness, and life!