I swear the closer I get to turning 50, the more confused I am about life. My latest mind spinning confusion is friendships and what is a friend?
I found this on Life, Relationships, the Universe and everything — A look at life from a Christian Perspective. You never know what will be on here. A blog by Steve Schappell.
The seven levels of friendship
Level 1: General Friends
These are people I meet or interact with on a daily basis, but have no connection beyond that. For example, some of my regular Members who visit my Credit Union branch that I know on a first name basis. I would not necessarily ask them to coffee or call them to go bowling, etc, but know a little about me and my kids, and I know some things about them.
Level 2: Work Friends
They say that next to your family, you spend most of your time at work. So my work friends are like another “family” in some ways. We get along some days, disagree at time on other days, sometimes spend birthdays together, have lunches, or occasionally meet after work with our families. We get to know about our kids, spouses, girl/boy friends, and share some experiences. If you work, you have these friends, and while not everyone you work with are on the same friendship “level,” it’s nice if you have some you genuinely get along with.
Level 3: Activity Friends
For me, these are friends that I enjoy doing things with. Like my Hiking club for example, or with the Singles Group I belong to, or other friends that I go to amusement parks with, etc. I usually only see them at activities and don’t spend any time with them outside of that. I only recently realized that when I sat down to compose this.
Level 4: Outer Circle Friends
In this level, these are my friends that know some things about me, spend time with my occasionally, but due to circumstances on either side, I have not let into my inner circle.
These are friends I can hang out with, who text me and ask what I am doing tonight. Some over time move into my inner circle, but for now are on the outside, but are friends none the less and I too am grateful for their presence in my life.
Level 5: Inner Circle Friends
Moving onward, these are my friends that know more details of my life, some of my “skeletons in the closet,” have had shared experiences with, have run wild with at times, and have stood by me though circumstances in my life both good and bad. I have also allowed them into my inner circle and have let down my guard for them, and they have never betrayed it. I have several of these, and I know that everyone does. Be thankful for them because for others, they are few and far between.
Level 6: Close Friends
In our life, we many only have one or two close friends that know us almost better than we know ourselves. And you know what I am talking about. Someone who understands you, gets you, accepts you for who you are, keeps your secrets and knows your fears. It’s everything you want in for Level 7 (see below), but without the dating and or intimate relationship. For me, I am fortunate to have one such Close Friend that I have known for 27 years since college. I am grateful to God that she is in my life and is someone I trust completely.
Right now, I would say I have more Work Friends and Outer Circle Friends. I do enjoy spending time with these friends. Since Facebook came out, I have been able to reconnect with people that I have known all my life and with people that have worked with in the past.
I don’t get to see these friends as much as I would like, but I know they are just a phone call, text or a message away.
Another level of friendship is Inner Circle Friends. I have some friends that made it to that level. But since one of my character flaws is have letting my guard down for people to get close to me, it’s a very small circle. I’ve been brunt beyond recognition too many times to remember. That is why the Inner Circle Friends is such a small group.
Now for the Close Friends level… friends that know us almost better than we know ourselves. I can think of one person who made it to this level. We knew the good, bad and ugly about each other. Their family was my family and my family was theirs. We laughed, cried and had some much fun together. There are things we did that would make you blush and things that are some of the most memorable events in my life. I would have done anything for them (I did) and if they needed anything, anything at all, I would have been there in a heartbeat.
But, one day, we lost that friendship. I was crushed. I was lost. I closed myself to every have that level of friendship ever again. I vowed that I would never feel that way again.
Fortunately there are some friends who are trying to break down that wall I’ve put up. They have been there to listen to me and I have been there to listen to them. It’s not all one sided and they want to get to know me and they want to know what makes me tick. It not only me asking questions about their lives, they are asking me about mine. And they tell me that if I need them for anything, all I have to do is ask or call. And when they say that to me, I believe them.
The other day I went out with a co-worker for lunch. During that lunch, we learned so much about each other. Nothing to deep, but we BOTH were asking questions about our lives. It was nice to have someone ask me questions and seem interested.
I know people are busy and have things going on in their lives, but if you want to be friends, you find the time. It has to be a two-way street. One side can’t say they will be your friend for life or that they care about you. There has the be something from there other person.
Maybe that is why I don’t have that many people at the Close Friend level. I expect a lot, but I know that as a friend, I will give as much or more. And I don’t want to ask someone… what kind of friend am I to you? And do you care? I may not like their answers.
Until I figure all of this out, my mind will keep on spinning.
But for right now, this song is for my friends, past and present.
“Thank You For Being A Friend” by Andrew Gold