Are we friends? How to define the relationship!
If you have ever watched an American sitcom then you’ve probably wondered if everyone should have a big friend group that are super tight, that have their lows and highs, but at the end of the day they are all there to support each other. Maybe you are reading this thinking “Yep, I have that! My friends are great”.. And if that is the case, you can go ahead and stop reading this article ...Now.
Okay, so you’re still reading, which most likely means you haven’t or don’t currently have that experience now. And that is okay, frankly, I have never had that. Don’t get me wrong, I have some wonderful friends, but I didn’t just meet them and then we all joined into a happy little friendship group. Unfortunately, life just doesn’t always work like that.
For those that know me, will know that I have moved around a lot in the last 10 years, actually practically my entire my 20s.. And if anything, it has taught me the value of friendship, and also the cycle of friendships.
When I was a teen, I first read a poem and the takeaway was “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime”. This is something that I have found 100% to be true, and I have learned to be okay with that. I have built very strong bonds with friends and due to circumstances, some friendships have ended abruptly, others have just faded away, and over the years I have learned although this can bring sadness, I am thankful for the friendship I had with those people, even if we were just friends for a reason or a season.
Over time, I have learned that friends can fall into a range of groups but for the purposes of this I like to think of these relationships in three categories: acquaintances, situational friends, and keepers. Yeah, kind of like your new age dating scenario. Is this person going to be something serious or just a bit of fun? Either way they probably all have an impact on your life, even if you don’t realise it.
Not that each friend needs a category but sometimes it can be useful to think about where these relationships sit in your life and how much time you want to put into them. The quiz below can help determine where they fit.
They are someone you know, but not on a personal level. You likely have had conversations but only on a surface level and you are okay with that. You know the ones, it may be a work colleague that you aren’t overly excited to interact with outside of work, or a neighbour that you wave to every morning, and say your hello’s but have not really communicated much else than that.
Don’t overlook the faithful acquaintance, they may actually serve more of a purpose in your life than you think. Sometimes having these small interactions can be a great daily mood booster!
Situational friends are fun to hang out with and you likely click on a few different levels but sometimes the conversation can seem stilted or forced.
They get you or one part of your life now: It may be a work colleague that you vent with after work, it could be your child’s best friend's mum, or it could be someone that shares the same love of coffee and markets.
When it comes to the deeper conversations however, you either aren’t having them, or you don’t really seem to see eye to eye in all areas, and your values are pretty different.
Situational friends provide a great purpose for being a fun, social part of your life. Having different values can make it hard to really connect on a bigger scale though, so it may not be the long-term bestie you are looking for. Keep an open mind however, you may find people change over time and before you know it, somehow they have become a keeper.
There is often an instant connection, one that doesn’t feel awkward or forced and the company of this person just feels easy!
When it comes to deeper conversations you could spend hours chatting about life, love and every weird thing in between. You may have different opinions, and views, but you find overall you hold similar values. These are the friends that will be there in the good, bad and downright ugly... and be there to laugh about it in years to come.
Whatever category this person falls into, don’t overthink it. Just remember, they may be there for a reason, a season or a lifetime.