Friendship is a shining thing, a steady beam of light,
A lantern on a lonely street, a song far in the night.
A smile, the touch of a loving hand, a quiet moment on a hill.
And oh, what a happy little child bringing home a daffodil.
Friendship is a happy time, throughout your whole long life.
Friends are those who listen and help you out in strife.
Two people, priceless, rolling down a hill.
And oh, what happy little child bringing home a daffodil.
I remember some lovely nights by campfires with my Girl Scout friends singing that song (and the other 4 verses too). It meant a lot to us then… way back when. I don’t remember exactly where I learned the song, though I do think that some of the verses are ones I created.
But what really is a friend? I found this “friendship pyramid” online.
The definitions of each level are thus:
The base is made up of acquaintances, friends of friends and people you think look vaguely familiar. Usually the denizens of this level are people that you have met for a few hours and then see them later you don’t know whether to let it be known that you know who they are, in case they think you are crazy or they don’t remember you. These people I like to give them the subtle, ‘what’s up nod’ nothing too formal. It acknowledges that you know each other but you are not inviting them over for tea and crumpets.
The second level is, school friends, classmates and work friends. These people are their own group mostly because we act a certain way around them. These people are cool to hang out with from 8-5 Monday through Friday, but inviting them out of this environment can cause problems. Especially if you are in a competitive company or class with them. Many people in this section seem to think that going out with you while not part of class or work is a hidden sign for them to become a covert ninja spy. Who only pretends to be cool until they can use the information that they have learned from you to their advantage.
Level three is the transition phase. I like to think of it as friend limbo. This can be a good friend zone or a bad friend zone. Say that a member of the bottom two tiers has proved their awesomeness and you have deemed them eligible to compete to be in another tier. Then this is a good place for them to be. Or it could be bad. Say someone from the top two tiers has shown how unawesome they are, they can be kicked down to level three while their status is being reevaluated.
Fourth level is the people that are not your best friends but are still pretty cool. These are the people that know you well enough that you feel you can be more of your self around. However you don’t go full on you around these people. Ladies these are the women that you ask to go to the bathroom with you when you are at a party. The relationships you have with close friends greatly resemble love at times. People need to love you to want to hear about your strange neurosis and idiosyncrasies. Typically with this level you still need to have some set ‘plans’ about what you are going to do, rather than just be together.
The fifth level is for your best friends, siblings and family members that you are really close to. These people have something in common; they love you, even when they hate you. These people know that you are actually vulnerable and cry more than you let on. These people are there even when you think that there is no one else. They will come and get you when you run out of gas, and they won’t even tell you that you are stupid. These are the type of people that you feel comfortable lending money to in any situation. They are also the ones that know more about you than even you know.
The very tip of the friend pyramid is your Best Friend. This person you can go long times with out talking to but the second you see them it’s like no time has gone past. Ladies if you don’t know whom your very best friend is, since we tend to have 5 best friends. A best friend is someone you can hang out with and have no plans and you still have fun because you are hanging out together. They can be polar opposites of you but you still get one another.
(thanks to: http://amarillocollege.blogspot.com/2011/04/levels-of-friendship-are-varied-and.html)
Soooooo… how many friends in each level do you have? I know that I am really good at the acquaintances and work friend levels. I know lots of people, I can recognize faces and remember them. I am terrible at names, but I am good at face recall. Heck, I can often even recall store cashiers, bank tellers, etc.
Level 4 is where things get iffy… I have some of these types of friends. Not many but a few. However, I feel like that is where my pyramid levels off. I really don’t have a best friend. I certainly don’t have 5 as that author suggests. By her definition of Best Friend, I might have one or two. But my definition of best friend is a bit more complex.
How would I define a best friend? That is hard to put into words. A couple things do come to mind. It is someone to whom you can vent as needed and will vent to you. Someone you can call (at any time) and share your joys and tears. Someone who will reciprocate. Who calls you and thinks of you as a best friend too. Someone who overlooks your “strength” and sees your needs and weaknesses and loves you anyways. Someone who will be honest with you and you can be honest to as well. Someone who truly listens to you, can hear your heart, can understand without words necessary. Someone you can be connected to – emotionally & spiritually. I’m sure I could think of more, but the biggest thing for me the reciprocity. Not only do I need/want to have a best friend, I need/want to BE a best friend. Back to that fringe living issue… maybe I am incapable? Maybe because I am too “strong,” no one thinks I need them. Maybe I am a terrible listener and I judge people (I try not to)?
Almost 12 years ago, something broke within me (and not just my ankle). Since then I have really felt overwhelmingly alone most of the time. I have cried more tears in the last 12 years of being “strong” than I cried in the 37 years before that (yeah, add those 2 number together and you get my age this summer… “new math” adds it up to 29). Granted lots of things have gone wrong in my life since then that I could not control, which without a friend to bounce things off of and vent to and cry with exacerbates the feelings. I tried really hard to make a friend once… opened up, got vulnerable, cried even… what happened… what I feared by being transparent… I was shot in the foot/stabbed in the back (insert analogy of your choice).
How do I feel when my spouse has long conversations almost weekly, sometimes daily with his friends? I remember doing that in High School. As an adult, or at least in my memory banks of the last 20 years, I have not had that luxury. I feel cheated. I don’t know what they talk about. They are guys, they probably don’t share feelings and hurts. Heck, I don’t know that guys ever share feelings. But they at least talk. Who do I talk to in a regular week? With my voice: my children, store clerks, girl scouts & parents, friends of my kids, sales people on the phone, work related people, volunteer related people. With my fingers: on-line friends – a few of which I have met in person, I do treasure those people. I would put some of them in that close friend level.
So how many friends do you have?