Often people refer to the lists of contacts in their address books or on their mobile phones as friends. They relish being seen as popular and well-connected. Often though, when there is a crisis these same people start to appreciate who their real friends are, as some of their acquaintances disappear off the scene. In truth there are many different types of friendship and many of us will have people in several different categories. Some may never have occasion to meet, but they are all valid and often play an important part in our life.
Different types of friendships:
– Friendships at work are important. Many of us spend most of our time at work, earning the money that supports us and our lives. Having work-related friendships helps by way of advice, relieving stress, enjoying the camaraderie, so that any stresses and concerns are dealt with at the time, rather than mulled over later at home. Equally important are the many business connections made through our network of friends and contacts assimilated over the years. Having people we know, like and trust forms an important element in being comfortable recommending someone.
– Long term friendships are the people who know everything about us, and that may be good or bad, depending on how we feel about our youth. Sometimes we grow apart, appreciating that we have followed different paths and sustained different interests. Some people enjoy spending time catching up and sharing each other’s stories. For other people, that choice may be problematical if jealousies and resentments occur when they discuss their varied levels of success and achievement.
– New friendships sometimes appear to have more in common as they are more relevant to our present life. We may share similar lifestyle, children, neighbourhood, gym. Having someone nearby to socialize and share common interests with is an important factor in establishing these friendships.
– People’s personalities influence the type of friendship that develops. Some people may like to party, others may prefer a quiet meal with a few friends. Some people may love helping and giving advice in a crisis, others may not want to know about problems and upset. Appreciating the different roles that people are willing and able to commit to enables each relationship to be valued in its own right.
Ways to develop the friendship bond:
– Appreciate that people have other demands on their time. They may have a young family, elderly parents, a partner with whom they want to spend some time. Many people have demanding jobs that leave them exhausted at the end of the day or week. Being respectful of their situation is important.
– Financial constraints can be a factor. Some people have financial considerations that limit their ability to go out socially as often as they might like. They may not wish to reveal too much of their situation out of shame or embarrassment. Ensuring that inexpensive options feature, like meals at home, walks, cheaper restaurants, enables them to participate without feeling stressed about the expense.
– Other people may want to spend time with us in specific ways, like going for an occasional meal, a game of tennis or a night school class. Accept that most of us have boundaries which mean we are happy to share certain areas of our lives but not others, and that is fine. There may be times when we have to respect that this is the extent of what the friendship has to offer.
– Make time for each other. Any relationship needs to be valued in order to be maintained. Making the time to nurture valuable relationships is important. Being considerate, remembering what friends have said and keeping up to date with the significant things that are happening in their lives actively demonstrates that we care.
We cannot rely one or two people to satisfy our various needs. Many of us have different people who sustain our diverse emotional, intellectual, social, physical, work related needs. And even these areas can be broken down into further compartments. The skill is in nurturing and appreciating the ways that these relationships are good for us; we enhance and improve each other’s quality of life.