The Reality of Friendships

Every now and then, I reflect on my life and all of the people I’ve crossed paths with. I’ve realized that not a lot of people have stayed in my life, and I haven’t really made any lasting friendships. The people I stay connected with vary every year (maybe even after a few months), and it’s a thought that really saddens me.

To get started, below is how I categorize all the people I encounter in my life. This is only a generalization, I don’t necessarily think about what to label people under. I also refer to this as a friendship portfolio.

  • Best Friends: People you’ve known for a long time, trust completely, and can talk to about anything.
  • Close Friends: The main distinction between close friends and best friends is the amount of time you’ve known the person. Close friends are people you haven’t known for that long, but you talk to them everyday and trust them with everything.
  • Friends: People you see around often and are friendly with whenever you see them, but you’re not particularly close to them.
  • Acquaintances: When you hear the word acquaintance, the first thing that pops into your head is probably Facebook friend. The next thing that pops into your head is people you know of, but who never talk to you. And that’s exactly what acquaintances are.
  • The Sea of Unreliability: This phrase is coined by my best friend. “The sea” refers to people you can’t depend on at all, people who only talk to you when they need help with homework, and people who show up to your hangouts half an hour late or who always cancel last minute. You get the general idea.

Of course, the biggest “categories” are acquaintances and possibly the sea of unreliability. It’s much more difficult to make best friends and close friends. You don’t just meet someone and ask, “can you be my best friend?” It simply doesn’t work that way; forming lasting bonds with people takes a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, it’s even harder to keep in touch with best friends or close friends if you don’t see them everyday.

One common problem I’ve helped a lot of my friends with are problems involving their friends: they haven’t talked to a friend in a long time, a friend changed too much and they don’t know if they should continue talking to the friend, etc. I approach these problems by asking my friends what they want in the end, meaning whether they want to stay connected to the person, or not. The next thing I tell them to do is to evaluate their friendship portfolio. This means understanding who your best friends, close friends, friends, and acquaintances are, and who falls in the sea of unreliability.

The first step to creating a friendship portfolio is becoming aware that these “categories” exist. I hate to break it to you, but if you don’t acknowledge that the sea of unreliability exists, then you’re either too nice, oblivious, or you’re part of the sea.
Maybe this will make you reconsider all of your friendships. Or maybe it won’t. I’ll let you decide.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

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