How many times have you used the word “friend” in a day? For most of us, we likely use the word friend freely and without truly appreciating the value the word holds. Each of us in our life need those people who accept, love, respect, and enjoy time with us and while we may think we have hundreds of friends the reality is a friend is a purity that we must protect and label very carefully. Think about the question of how many times you use the word friend in a day? Are you, like many others overusing the word?
I am guilty of overusing the word.
Like most people I used to carelessly label everyone I met with the title of “Friend” until I remember a catholic priest who talked about relationships and friends–it was at that moment my feelings about the word changed–forever.
We meet a lot of people in our lives and more often than not when someone asks who they are, we reply with, oh he or she is a “friend.” But, are they really? If they are, what kind of a friend are they?
One thing I have learned in my life is that people will come and go, and sometimes even come back, but the type of friendship may change throughout the course of the relationship.
Thinking about the label “friend” I began to ponder the homily of the catholic priest and shared it with a person who told me after a downhill track in his life–he has re-evaluated the people in his life and repaired/developed/terminated friendships with various people.
I call this process inventory.
Sometimes we need to take inventory on those we surround ourselves with and a simple way to do this is to look at our various levels of friendship.
Keep it simple.
Examine those in your life using these simple boxes:
Looking at each box–we will start in the center which is the smallest of the 5, but also the most important. This is box 1.
Intimate Friends: This box is the smallest because it should contain the people in your life that are your closest friends–the ones that know almost everything about you and you know no matter what are going to be there for you at any juncture. This is the elite of the elite and should contain a small fraction of those in your life. This box should be reserved for the select few (5 or less) that know everything one can know about you.
The next box box 2, titled, “Best Friends” are the friends who are more of your immediate social circle–they, like your intimate friends know a lot about you and you can count on them, but they don’t know the most intimate details of your life. This box is a bit bigger and can hold a few more friends than the intimate box.
The third box, “Good Friends” can be the friends you may meet out and about, call from time to time, know the surface parts of your life, and are those who know just enough about you, but not the intimate details–these friends are more social in nature–and would not be burdened with the intrinsic details of your everyday life.
I call the fourth box Acquaintances and I do this for many reasons: These are people we know through others, the majority of our social media friends, and even our co-workers or classmates–They are the people you would not call to socialize and really know very little about who you are and what you are about. This box is larger than the first three because it holds most of the people we know.
The fifth and final box is the largest of them all and I entitled it “Strangers” and my foundation for this is because these are people we have yet to meet, or we thought we knew, but really don’t. Strangers are those people that we have yet to meet in our journey–and sometimes those people we knew in our past may now be strangers to us in the present.
An important thing to remember about each of these boxes is that people in our lives will move throughout them and often change as we change. Strangers can become your intimate friends while your intimate friends can become strangers. As humans we all go through a change process and in this process of changing ourselves we must understand the relationships we hold will change. When we begin to understand the levels of friendship, perhaps then we can determine the value we put on the people we surround ourselves with in the course of our lives.
Inventory those you know and see where they place within the boxes. The results might surprise you!