I stated in my earlier post, Pyramid of Friendship, that the issue of friends/friendships has been togging at my heart. I’ve had to deal with some folks lately on the issue too. Some things that we assume are no-brainers surprisingly have been loosely handled and often misinterpreted. Friends and friendships fall into one of these things.
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If you have no expectations of someone, you’ll not be disappointed by their actions or inactions. Similarly, defining a relationship as a friendly one, puts some expectations on that friendship. The level of expectation often corresponds to the level of friendship and intimacy. As such, it behooves us to act right and hold each other accountable in the relationship.
I came up with five things that real friends are and are not in a simplified, but dignified, manner.
5 things real friends are not:
Perfect. Just as no-one is perfect, do not expect your friend/s to be. Be gentle but respectful of one another. However, if one is known for hurting the other with their words or actions, then boundaries have to be set and the friendship categorized.
Snitches. No friend snitches on his/her friend. Snitching, in my opinion, stems from jealousy and envy. And a jealous and envious friend is a catastrophe waiting to happen!
Competitive with one another. You compete with yourself to be better; not with your friend. There’s no healthy competition in friendship.
Envious or jealous. See #2 above.
Judging. Friends accept you for who you are. Judging stems from the need to want to have people be like one. This is tantamount to control. Having everyone look, do, talk, or act like me can make the world boring.
Let’s embrace the diversity and uniqueness in each other.
Are true to one another. There’s transparency and no holes barred in the relationship.
Tell you the truth that you need to hear or that others are scared to tell you.
Watch your back. This is self-explanatory. Ask yourself, “if my friend was absent, will my response in absentia collaborate with his or hers?” If your answer is “No,” it means you both don’t know each other well enough to be friends. You’re still in the stranger-ally level.
Always know your stand. Similar to #3 above.
Allow you to be yourself in their presence without judging you!
What are your thoughts on this and the 5 things that real friends are and are not? Feel free to share and like the post if you will.
I created the above Pyramid of Friendship but had a hard time uploading the file so I did the next best thing I could think of to do; took a photograph of it. If anyone has a better solution for me on how to upload the file, I’d be glad to hear it. Thanks.
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The issue of friends/friendships has been togging on my mind for a while. We call each other friends, but are we really? What does friendship really mean? Who qualifies to be called a/your friend? Is a friend someone who, or barely, knows you? Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to be thought of as someone’s friend and to have someone to call a friend. But who really is a (or your) friend?
Yes, friendship has to start somewhere. And, if we do not stretch out a “friendship” hand, it will never begin.
Real (or True) Friends share some level of intimacy that they do not share with everyone. Intimacy, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the state of familiarity and act of “developing through long association; is of a very personal or private nature where you share intimate secrets, including marked by very close association.”
Here is the detail of my inverted Pyramid of Friendship:
Strangers: they are friends you haven’t met or really don’t know yet. That’s where all friendships begin. This level is broad, accommodates all, and shares zero intimacy. If you get to know each other by introduction; sharing the basic demographics such as name, where you live, and occupation or hobby, you move to the next level
Ally/Acquaintance(Casual): here you have a little bit of information about each other and continue to share more demographics such as whether you’re single or married. The level of intimacy is beginning to develop but both sides are still proceeding with caution. This is where/what I call “checking each other out!”
Social / Social media: Social friends enjoy a common interest that ranges from following one another on the social media, love for something like parties, hiking, food/cooking, having fun together, etc., but are devoid of sharing serious life issues. They don’t want to be involved in the nitty-gritty of one’s life or bogged down with it. They tend to be superficial and care only about the fun times. But life consists of both the good and bad and life happens to all. Social friends are those who would tag one as a “drama” queen/king. When you share a little bit of your real self, you never know which way it might go. In essence, social friends are inconsistent. They befriend you today, but are gone tomorrow. They also are quick to join the bandwagon. Level of intimacy with social/social media friends is 1. They know as much as you share with them on your social media pages or during the fun/partying times.
Associates/Colleagues: We spend a third (or more) of our day at work with these group of friends. These are people we have no choice but to deal with. They know the parts of us that we allow them to see or know. We could tag this part of us our professional side. But they are unaware of our real self. Those we care about move to the next level
Friends (Close friends): these group often have known us for a little longer, or we attended school or college together and still maintain the association or are colleagues we choose to continue with after work hours. At this level, we’ve established some level of trust and probably have come to know another member or more of our families. Level of intimacy is growing and is at 2.
Buddy/Best (or Girl) Friends: friendship has grown in terms of time and depth knowledge of one another. This group has first-hand knowledge of who you really are. They see the side you often don’t show the rest of the world. You also know each other’s families; have common interests, and can call or knock on their doors late at night or early morning without feeling guilty. Intimacy level is 3.
Confidant/Confidante (Intimate friends): The optimal level of friendship is the Confidant/Confidante. It is narrow because only one (and rarely, two) people can hold the position at any time.
Level of Intimacy
The level of intimacy is a five-level measurement (from 0 to 4) of trust, openness, vulnerability, accountability, and availability that one shares in a friendship or relationship. At the Confidant/Confidante level, it is at its peak; 4. Not everyone can attain this level because not everyone can hold up to each measurement of trust, openness, vulnerability or accountability and availability required at this level. At the Buddy/Girlfriend, Intimacy level is 3. You can call or knock on each other’s doors probably till 11 p.m. or from 6:00 a.m. the following day.
At the Confidant/Confidante level, however, your doors and phones are always open to one another.
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We all need someone in each level of the Pyramid in our lives but a Confidant/Confidante is invaluable.
Categorize your friendship
Finally, categorizing your friends/friendships will help avoid heartaches. For example, knowing that my colleague is only that (about workplace) will remove the burden from both of us of expecting more from him/her empathizing about my granny or dog dying. Great if they do; that might score with me and move him/her to my next level of friendship. But if they don’t, I won’t lose sleep nor deem him/her as a bad folk.
Please share your thoughts of this post. Thanks for reading.
Pyramid-of-Friendship was first published on Think-Talk.org
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