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First, I want to let you know there is a "What kind of Friend are You Quiz" at the bottom of this post... I like these quizes and I know many of you do as well.
Now that's out of the way we'll move on.. 🙂
Since the beginning of social media, especially Facebook, we tend to loosely use the term "friend". Personally, I feel we should pay more respect to the word "friend". Many people will call their neighbors, work collegues, people they hang out with and acquiantances as friends, but are they really? Yes and No.
Webster dictionary defines friends as:
1 a: one attatched to another by affection or esteem
So, by using Webster's definition, many of the "friends" you have on social media could be classified as "friends". I feel as though we cheapen the word friend, what about you? To me, it's kind of like saying "I love you" casually to someone. Do you really? Why do you love me? I've had people I barely know say they love me.... maybe admire, but love? Come on now.... let's start being more clear and stop playing mind games with each other. Keeping this in mind, I would like to discuss the different types of friendly relationships you may encounter in your lifetime, focusing on adulthood.
The Friend that Doesn't Ask Questions
Unless of course they are asking you a question about themselves.. questions about your opinion on their latest drama or breakup and whether they look good in a particular outfit. If it's not about them, they don't care. You never have to worry about them asking YOU anything too personal. You could be having a good day, having a bad day, met the love of your life, come into heaps of money or just anything and the "No Questions" friend will be nowhere to be found. Unless, again, it would benefit them or inflate their ego in some way. This person never asks you anything about your life. This person can easily be explained in one of these three ways:
- They are VERY self absorbed and if what you're talking about doesn't revolve around them then they are not interested.
- The "No Questions" friend only wants to talk about third party topics, never anything personal about you or even themselves.
- He/she thinks YOU are irreparebly self absorbed and if asked any questions about your life, you'll talk his ear off about what's bothering you.
So what are your possibilities with this person? Should you discount them? Definitely not, each person (unless of course they are toxic) has their perfect place in your life. Each person has the capability (if you let them) to move up the pyramid of importance in your life. So with this in mind you are left with a few options. You can keep them at the bottom of your friend pyramid or at least as close to the bottom as you feel comfortable with. The top of the pyramid should be reserved for the friends that are like your family, your brothers and sisters or even closer. You'll only have a couple of these friends, five or six max. The top of the pyramid is the narrowest, there isn't room for people that are self absorbed and make it all about them. So kick 'em down to the bottom and don't give them any mind. Just be happy you aren't dating them.
But it's not all bleak for the "No Questons" friend, though you may never be close, they may still make you laugh and you could even have the occassional good time with them. I have a friend I've known for a few years. To this day, I don't think he knows how many brothers and sisters I have or any detail about my life for that matter. But he makes me laugh, we enjoy a lot of the same things, he's intelligent and I do enjoy my time with him. Will we ever be close? Probably not, but he cracks me up so I keep him around.
The "Always On" Friend Who Never Breaks Character
I like to call these "bar friends", "church friends" or even "work friends" You don't have any real relationship outside of a social setting (such as a bar, church perhaps) or work. When you are with this person, you have to be "always on". You have to constantly be sarcastic or drunk to interact with this friend. Your friendship plays out like some kind of skit. If it starts to get serious you'll both freak out. This is not the friend you call upon when a crisis arises. Sure, the friendship could evolve into something more serious, but do you really want it to? You probably know if it will or not after the first couple interactons.
Another example is the “You’re great, I’m great, ugh why is everyone else so terrible and not great like us” friend. Of course, she doesn’t really think you’re perfectly great at all—if she were with someone else, you’d be one of the voodoo dolls on the table to be dissected and scoffed at. The key here is that the two of you must be on a team at all times while interacting. The only comfortable mode for this person is bonding with you by building a little pedestal for you both to stand on while you criticize everyone else. You can either play along and everything will go smoothly, even though you’ll both despise yourselves and each other the whole time, or you can commit the ultimate sin and have the integrity to disagree with the friend or defend a non-present party the friend criticizes. Doing this will shatter the fragile team vibe and make the friend recoil and say something quietly like, “Hm…yeah…I guess.” The friend now respects you for the first time and will also criticize you extra hard next time she’s playing her pedestal game with a different friend.
What these all have in common is the friend has tall walls up, you know like the future Mexican/USA wall... (just had to say that) Anyway, the wall is built sky high, at least toward you, and so she builds a little skit for you two to hang out in to make sure any authentic connection can be avoided. Sometimes that person only does this out of her own social anxiety and can become a great, authentic friend if you can just stomp through the ice. Other times, the person is just hopelessly scared and closed off and there’s no hope and you have to get out. Got it?
So in any case, I personally can’t stand these interactions and am in a full panic the entire time they’re playing out.
The "I'm Obligated" Friendship
There are those friends that you get together only once in awhile. You don't share your deepest secrets with them or whatever emotional turmoil that you happen to be going through at any given moment. You finnally get together after a less than lackluster exchange via text or email. He can't seem to find the time on his schedule to work you in... and you do the same. This goes round and round until you finnally give up or years pass before you see each other. Who's at fault here? Who is the one who feels obligated? I can't say for sure, I don't know your situation, but I do know that these types of relationships exist. Can it evolve into something else? It most certainly can, but we must call it for what it is right now.
I will say though, if someone is excited about seeing you, they will find a way, (any way) to fit it into their schedule. If they are not excited to see you, they'll find a reason to push it further into the future. Which one of you feels this way? It may be both of you. But both are to blame.
..... and finally the Granddaddy (or Grandmommy) of them all is the....
The Half Marriage
Although I don't think it happens to everyone, but somewhere along your path you may become (or already are) part of a friendship that would be a marriage if only YOU or the other person were not very or extremely not interested in that happening. You may feel this is the person that's your soul mate. The person you can spend hours and hours together and it only seems like a few minutes. The time flies with this person. You get along and are considerate of each other. You don't really care about anyone else when they are around.. except (hopefuly) you're significant, romantic other. They don't fall into any category, they just ARE. You can't imagine them not in your life. You're protective and get emotional or even angry if someone speaks negative of them. They will be the best man or woman at your wedding... that is if anyone dare get in the middle of your dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship.
Some of you are lucky to have these types of relationships. Though I will say it can make it diffcult for others to be around the two of you, especially if they are romantically interested in either one of you. But you might be just fine with that.... the two of you come as a pair and everyone else just has to deal with it.
So... what now?
First, when someone pops into your mind, do they even make it into the friend category? They may be an acquintance. Possiby an acquintance slowly moving their way up the pyramid.. you just never know, do you? But if you can actually call them a friend, be sure to classify them appropiately. If you fail to do this, you'll be setting yourself up for perpetual disappointment. Not everyone can be at the top of your friend pyramid.
If you're just not feeling it or you just aren't clicking with a person for some reason... kick them down to the bottom of your pyramid. Lowering your expectations of people who are not your true, good or best friends will help you become a more emotionally fit person. Yes, I feel that we must take care of our mental health just as much as we do our physical health... but that is for another time. Many of you have read my posts on that topic.. I have strong opinions on it.
I'm going to be doing a "Friend" series.. writing more about our adult friendships... some ideas I'm throwing around are:
"Warning Signs of a Bad Friend"
"What do You Do if You Don't Have any Friends?"
"How to Break up with a Friend"
"How to Know if your Friend is Toxic"
Those posts are on the drawing board... if you would like updated when I blog about them, be sure to sign up for my email list and you'll be automatically notified.
Now.... what kind of friend ARE YOU? Take the quiz Below.
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