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The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life

The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life

Are you aware that as you grow up, friendship is the thing that drifts away most easily? Work, vacation, relationships, family times — they’re all so important to life that it’s just hard to put friendship at a higher priority.

Have you ever been at supper at a friend’s home, you and your friends just didn’t have anything to talk about and had to force yourselves to just talk about something, like “so how have you been recently?”, or “oh the pasta is really nice…”?

This kind of awkward situation only leaves us wondering what friendship is for; but then, we also feel uncomfortable to have to declare that friendship has to be for something — how contradicting we are.

Here’s some good news for you…

Friendship does have its purpose, and having a purpose doesn’t ruin true friendship.

People come to your life for a reason. (Duh.) People do come together to become friends for some reasons though.

Alex Lickerman, the author of The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self talks about the things that draw people together as friends.

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Instead of building friendships with random people, we tend to build bonds with people who share the common interests, share common values, have gone through the same difficulties, and who support each other equally.[1]

We’re being selective about friends because not everyone can serve the purpose of being able to exchange thoughts and feelings with us.

When we get to know people, there are four things we really look for.[2]

Firstly, we want reassurance so we know we’re not alone in being a specific way.

Everyone of us has our weak spots. There’s always something that we aren’t satisfied with, or some thoughts that we’re reluctant to share with others because we’re afraid of being judged or being let down.

    We need the kind of friend who understands our thoughts and weaknesses; so we can feel comfortable to let down our guard and be comfortable with who we are.

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    We also want to have fun with people who we can be silly with.

    Life is stressful; and we’re taught to always be serious and mature at work and in life as a grown-up. Imagine yourself as an elastic band, if you kept on pulling yourself and stayed tense, you’d eventually break. That’s exactly what would happen if we didn’t get enough fun in life.

      Friends here, serve the purpose of letting you be as silly as you want and share the joy and excitement with you.

      And we need someone’s help to clarify our minds.

      We’re all imperfect people, sometimes we are confused and our minds go chaotic.

      For example, very often we are frustrated at work and not quite sure why, but after we share our confusions with friends, we somehow get things figured out and have a clearer mind to go back to work.

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        A thinking friend who gives us constructive advice and asks us probing questions can inspire us to solve our problems and get to know ourselves better.

        Finally, we network to seek collaborators to help us achieve our goals.

        We have our own dreams and goals but we are small and fragile as an individual. To get things going, we need collaborators to align their abilities and energies with ours.

          Take Emma Watson as an example, she’s an activist in feminism, and she networks to gather like-minded people who also aspire to fight for gender equality through the HeForShe campaign and the feminist book club Our Shared Shelf.

          The spiritual core reason for a friendship is help us change and grow.

          Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said,[3]

          “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”

          This relates to the law of averages,[4] a theory that the result of anything will be the average of all outcomes.

          So if you want to grow, be successful, or simply be happy and positive; the people you spend time with matter.

          Moving on from some friendships simply means you’ve understood what real friendship is like.

          You may ask, “what about those who don’t share my ambitions or interests? And those who can’t reassure my existence? Or those who I don’t really feel comfortable to be silly with?”

          As time goes, you probably will feel difficult to stay friends with these people. Dare to let go of some people who don’t help you change and grow as a better and a happier person.

          It doesn’t mean you’ve lost hope or belief in friendship, it simply means you’ve understood what a real friendship is like.

          Move on from the friendships that you can hardly maintain. You don’t need to deny having these friends, and you can keep the memories with you. Moving on is just a way to help you get closer to true friendships that are best for you and others.

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          This article is inspired by The School of Life’s The Purpose of Friendship. Watch the full video here.

          Reference

          [1]Alex Lickerman, Psychology Today: The True Meaning Of Friendship
          [2]The School Of Life: The Purpose Of Friendship
          [3]Jim Rohn: 5 – The Law Of Averages
          [4]The Clemmer Group: Innovation and the Law of Averages

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          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          No!

          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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          But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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          But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

          1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
          2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
          3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
          4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
          5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
          6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
          7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
          8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
          9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
          10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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