On Facebook I have close to three hundred friends, someone else I know has well over one thousand. What does that mean?
Does it mean, that, when I want to hang out with friends, I contact three hundred people, or them, one thousand?
Clearly not. If not that, then are most of them friends at all?
Making someone a real friend takes considerable time and effort. Sometimes, instead of making the effort to establish someone as a friend, we might instead choose to have a large number of shallow acquaintances instead of friends.
On social media, someone you met once in passing at some house party, can become listed as a friend, even if there is little chance or little intention of you meeting them again.
Having a big list of “friends” may make us feel good, it might make us feel extremely popular. However in the end all of this could be bad for us, as we may lose out in making real profound human connection. Especially if we no longer see the need in making the necessary effort.
In our all too busy lives, we can easily lose sight of the simple fact that good friendships are not determined by quantity, but quality.
Who are your real friends?
When you add someone as a friend on social media, their actual connection to you and your emotional connection to them isn’t considered by the website. The site may highlight people you interact with online more, but generally real connections aren’t considered and all appear the same.
People that you care about and care about you may fall from sight. As such it can be important to do the slightly unusual task of taking stock. To determine who are, and who are not, your real friends.
How does the “Friend bank” work?
Perhaps the best method to cut through this cloud of uncertainty is to take time and create a friend bank. To mentally group those who you are closest to and happiest with.
These days our lives are incredibly busy, we might have a family to feed, work commitments, or intense study schedules. In any case, the time we have to cultivate any form of relationship, let alone friendships, can be brief. It could be useful to better ascertain who to spend time with.
Also, paradoxically, though, thanks to social media, we seem to have an abundance of friends. The number of people we want to spend our free time with may actually be quite small. Considering a friendship tier system will help you mentally clarify things.
With this in mind, there are three different tiers of friends to consider.
Top Tier-Best friends
These are the ones who are the most important to you. You are happiest with them and think they are happy with you. Your friendship runs deep and as such you have a great deal of treasured memories with them and know that there will be many more great memories to come. You are willing to whatever it takes to maintain the friendship and you know they feel the same.
Right now you can probably think of many people that fulfil this category. These are the ones that are so close and important to you, that they almost seem a part of you.
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Middle Tier- Good Friends
These are the ones you really like spending time with. But you know deep down you have different tastes and values which sometimes results in you feeling distant from them. Sometimes it’s enough for you to simply stay in contact with them through social media.
You hope your friendship with them will continue, and are willing to make some effort to maintain it, but in that is dependent on them as well. Friendship is a two-way street, and it’s only really worth it if they give as well as you.
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Bottom Tier – Distant friends
You like these people, and they like you. In the past you’ve had some good times. But you feel that you and they are slightly drifting apart, and that doesn’t bother you too much. Your conversations with them are shallow, bordering on small talk, as quite simply, you don’t have anything in common with them anymore.
You and they rarely meet up or hang out.
You think your feelings about them are mutual and feel you may drift apart entirely and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
These people are like old friends from childhood, school, college, or work. People that you really associated with due to proximity and never became all that close, or were once close but the distance has become great.
Everyone else is perhaps not your friends and are just acquaintances or perhaps even friends to be.
It is important to note that none of these tiers is set in stone. Someone now in the top tier can tumble to the bottom, and someone from the bottom tier can climb to the top. It’s quite fluid, and entirely dependent on your thoughts and feelings about them.
You might find that the next time you meet with someone in the bottom tier, you really enjoy their company and come to consider them good friends or even best friends. This would be wonderful news, and so don’t hesitate to put them higher up on the list. Equally, if you fall out with someone in the top tier, you might find you want to place them lower.
In the end this isn’t us telling you to carefully pick and choose your friends. Nor are we encouraging you to drop out of touch with some people.
But considering such a tier system may help to clarify things for you, to organize your relationships. In the age of 1000+ friends list such an exercise could prove to be important, allowing you to realize who your true friends are, allowing you to appreciate them even more. Deepening your relationship and happiness with them.
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