Am I a good friend? What if there was some kind of anonymous survey our friends could take about what kind of friend we are? What would it say? I sometimes wonder.
Just as there are different times in your life, just as people have different needs and expectations, there are different types of friends and friendship.
Completely arbitrarily, and based on personal experience we have identified four categories of friends:
- the core team. Those you always go back to, no matter how much time has passed since you last saw each other.
- the oldest friends. Those who’ve been there for as long as you can remember and if they might not be in on everything that is going on in your life they somehow always are in the vicinity.
- the life changing experience friends, those with whom you shared a very strong moment or experience.
- the bonuses, those you were not really meant to meet but whose path you somehow crossed.
There are also different versions of you.
The 10 years old you is, one may hope, different from the today you, with new dreams, expectations and responsibilities. You may still have some friends from that time when you were 10, but what you are looking for in a new friend today is probably a bit more than a hide and seek companion at recess.
Psychologist Morton Mendelson lists six characteristics we might look for in a friendship. It is interesting to ask ourselves how much we really expect from our friends with regard for each category, and what that says about us as an individual.
- Emotional security
As cliché as it may sound, as you get older you focus on what really matters and you tend to focus on the more meaningful relationship and you, basically, cut the crap. As sad as it may be, it is totally normal to lose friends. As you evolve and your friends do too, it is natural that your paths fork from time to time. Depending on both parties’ expectations, the friendship may or may not survive past that. And sometimes it is worth fighting. Sometimes it is just a question of resetting priorities, putting the ego aside, picking up the phone or sharing a bottle of wine.
Sometimes however, the best present you can give each other is to let go. Better to give each other space, cherishing the memories of a beautiful friendship rather than cultivate anger and frustration because you are not in sync anymore.
Being a good friend is a bit like having green fingers. Some are naturally good at it and will grow anything anywhere, and some will kill a cactus. But it doesn’t mean you cannot learn. With care, time and patience, you too can cultivate a beautiful garden full of different type of friends of all shapes and colors.
By: Mo Oléron