Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Categorizing Your Real Life Friend's List.

I've been thinking quite a bit about friendship as of late. I think it's natural after a breakup to reevaluate your life, and more importantly, reevaluate who you keep in it--or add to it thereafter.

Simply put, relationships are tough. This goes for male or female, both romantic and platonic, family or non-family, young and old. Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is that not everyone values relationships in the same way. That's always been the toughest part for me, I think.

I used to take everything to heart, and had the highest of high of expectations for anyone I considered a good friend, but only because I'd go to the moon and back for them. Decades of heartache later, I realized this is not the way to go, as not everyone will share the same reciprocal friendship philosophy as I do. I also learned that one's family dynamic can make a huge difference in how friendship is valued. Someone close to their family may be more apt to lean on their family first, versus someone not as close to their family relying first on their friends.

Over time, I figured out how to drop friends in "friendship buckets," recognizing the fair-weather friends from the foul-weather friends from the downright good friends, programming myself to cherish the latter without having monumentally high expectations from them. I also realized that it's okay to have friends within each bucket. There's no need to give someone the boot for not living up to being a "best friend;" let them remain in your life in their designated friendship bucket, and be okay with the fact that the majority won't be "best friends." People are who they are and that's probably not going to change--but your mentality about it can! Lastly, I think there's a possibility for a friend to move between buckets, or to even double dip in buckets, which after some thought, I have named below:

E-mail friends: These are the ones who you send an annual, biannual, or quarterly update, providing a Cliffs Notes version of what's been going on in your life. You touch briefly on any milestones without going too much into detail, and still write things like keep in touch more often! knowing the likelihood of doing so is slim to none.

You don't go out of your way to make plans with these folks and probably don't even live in the same city or state, but if you happen to be at the same place at the same time, you might link up for a cup of coffee. Should that not work out? NBD. (At all.)

Example: childhood friends

Text friends: People you speak with regularly but limit communication to certain topics--maybe more superficial ones--likely lacking much depth. (Emoji usage is prevalent.) These people serve a purpose in your life, whether it be a laugh, a shopping partner or a drinking buddy, but aren't going to be the first ones you call with a 911 situation--if you call them at all.

You make plans now and again when convenient for you both, barring any unexpected events that pop up and will surely take precedent.

Example: high school or college friends, previous co-workers

Phone call friends: These guys used to be programmed on speed dial when that was a "thing." Now, they might be stored in your phone "favorites," but you call them nonetheless. They know about your annoying boss and listen to you vent about your significant other, providing some valuable feedback in return. You can talk about nothing with these friends, should there be nothing to really talk about. Hell, you can even drunk dial these friends, simply because you just can. No judgment zone--er, bucket--here! These friends are entrusted with your secrets as you are their's.

You schedule plans as often as you can and most likely see them through. You don't wait for openings in your schedule, but rather make openings for these people.

Example: a spouse, a relative, a "best" friend

These are the friends who you even let pick your nose in public.

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