This article will help you understand why some friends stay for years, while others fade away after a few months, or weeks. If you understand the nature of the friendship you have with a person, you can better predict where it’s heading, and better understand why this friend behaves the way they do.
To make this fun, think of a few of your current or past friendships and try and figure out what kind of category they belong in the following list…
These friendships are based on only one type of interaction.
- Associate: This is the type of friend you’d have around one context like school, church, work, gym, or similar. The relationship revolves around that specific thing, and you barely ever talk about anything else.
- Useful Contact: With this type of friend, you exchange useful information, job opportunities, industry news, you introduce each other to people, exchange tips on good deals, etc. But, you don’t discuss personal matters with each other.
- Favor Friend: This the type of friendship you could have with a nice colleague or neighbor. You don’t go out together, but you help each other with the simple stuff: giving a lift, helping with some DIY job, keeping the cat for a couple of hours, etc. This friendship can evolve and become more intimate, but it can also fade away if you no longer see each other.
- Fun Friend: This is the type of friend that makes you take yourself less seriously. You can meet and interact in different places and contexts, but it’s not about more than having fun and enjoying each other’s company. You don’t dwell on each other’s problems, even if you happen to talk about them. The friendship doesn’t require a lot of investment from you; it’s just about relaxing, having a drink, partying, laughing, etc. However, fun friendships have a great potential to become more intimate and personal.
Complex friendships are based on multiple ways of relating, and interacting.
- Helpmate: This is like having two simple friendships in one; you socialize with this person, and you help each other as well. This one you can ask for lifts to the airport, and call during emergencies like car accidents. But you won’t reveal all your secrets and insecurities to this friend, because they’re easily shocked or because they happen to judge too quickly, for example. You don’t rely on your helpmate for emotional support.
- Comforter: A comforter is a step forward from a helpmate; you socialize, help each other, and provide emotional support for each other. This kind of friend is generally present in case of the loss of a family member, a breakup, loss of a job, or similar. You trust each other enough to talk about fears, frustrations, and insecurities; you look to lift each other’s spirit.
- Confidant: With this kind of friend, you can support each other emotionally, and you also enjoy each other’s company when you meet. He or she doesn’t necessarily live near you. With this friend, you can confide in each other about anything, and not just when something bad happens. You talk about your goals, your secret opinions, but also your general life challenges.
- Soulmate: Don’t get me wrong, I’m still talking about friendship, not romance. A soulmate is the most complex and multi-faceted type of friendship. This is the kind of person you can’t believe how lucky you are to have in your life. With a soulmate, you enjoy each other’s company, you help each other, you provide emotional support, you confide in each other, and you share a similar outlook on life. Some philosophers call this, “Seeing The Same Truth”; this is the most ideal form of friendship. This the kind of friend that wouldn’t betray you, no matter what happens. You’re committed to being each other’s friend, even without realizing it. Moving away or not meeting for a year won’t change this friendship that much.
Although each friendship is unique, it generally falls in one of these categories. This list will help you understand your friendships better, while learning the skill of making friends will allow you to first create simple friendships, and evolve them into intimate ones whenever you want.