Friendships with other women have the potential to either enrich your life greatly or hurt you deeply. But you can navigate the complex dynamics of relationships well if you realize that God wants to use your friendships to help you and your friends grow. Grown-up friendships stretch and encourage both you and your friends to become more mature.

Here’s how you can build grown-up friendships:

Be willing to invest yourself in friendships.

Realize that good friendships don’t just happen; they take time and require risks. Invest the time and take the risks necessary to build solid friendships. Don’t settle for just fleeting fun marred by insecurity; pursue relationships that help you connect well with other women and experience deep joy together.

Discover the purpose for each of your friendships.

Understand that God has an overarching purpose for all grown-up friendships, which is that they should honor Him by encouraging the people involved to become the people He wants them to be. But ask God to show you the unique purpose for each of your friendships, as well. Ask your friends questions as you explore the potential purpose for your friendships with them, and pray about the information you receive until you discover what God wants to accomplish in each of your lives through your friendship.

Rank your friendships by intimacy level.

Recognize that not all of your relationships are meant to be close. Know that, while you’re called to love everyone, you’re not called to share intimately with everyone.

Put your friendships in the proper perspective by ranking them according to whether they’re acquaintances (people you know by name and with whom you usually share facts or clichés, such as a cashier at your favorite grocery store), companions (people you talk with about opinions or concerns, and with whom you share something in common, such as a hobby or children of the same age) or close friends (people you trust enough to share your deep thoughts and feelings together). After taking inventory of your current friendships, ask yourself if you’re experiencing true intimacy in any of your friendships, or if you’re spread too thin by trying to have too many intimate friendships.

Identify those people with whom you sense God is leading you to become close friends, and become intentional about doing so while letting go of unnecessary pressure in your other friendships. Make sure that God is your number one close friend, and rely on the love He gives to love other people.