Saturday, August 18, 2012


All summer I have neglected writing, and like exercise it is difficult to get going again after taking a break. Here I go ...


"Friendship" has been on my mind. What causes some relationships to last a lifetime despite obstacles like changes in location, and what causes some relationships to crumble? What are the different categories of friends? What makes a toxic relationship? What makes a mutually fulfilling friendship? How to be a good friend? How not to be a doormat?

And with Facebook, the term "friend" has forever been altered. I am thinking here only in terms of a traditional friendship.

My oh my, just do a little internet search and you can read all sorts of thoughts and opinions on the topic. Here are some things I found that resonated with me:

From Think Outside In
Associates were people who only shared a common activity, like a hobby or a sport.
Useful contacts were people who shared information and advice, typically related to work or advancing ones career.
Favor friends were people who helped each other out in a functional manner, but not in an emotional manner.
Fun friends were people who socialized together, but only for fun. They didn’t provide each other with a deep level of emotional support.
Helpmates were a combination of favor friends and fun friends. They socialized together and helped each other out in a functional manner.
Comforters were like helpmates, but they also provided emotional support.
Confidants disclosed personal information to each other, enjoyed each other’s company, but weren’t always in a position to offer practical help, for example if they lived far away.
Soulmates displayed all of the elements.

From an alumni blog
1. Professional Friends – This group is for professional networking. At the beginning of the relationship, most of the conversations are about topics of mutual interest in specific professions, and then it can gradually take a more personal turn. In this friendship, the expectation is to learn, exchange information, ideas, concepts and grow professionally. A lot of these friendships are formed in professional organizations like Economic Club of New York, Project Management Institute, and 100 Women in Hedgefunds. Most of these relationships grow deeper when both individuals can provide professional expertise and insights. We can find these friends at workplace also. Sometimes, they take the form of mentors, or someone we can count on in future. As we grow professionally, this group tends to increase more. This is where professional and business etiquette must be practiced.

2. Social Friends – This group of friendship is formed in social service clubs like Rotary International, Lions Clubs, and Kiwanis International. This group is conscious about social issues and also wants to network in a less formal setting than the professional friends circle. This group of friends volunteers their time, money and efforts to work on social causes, and get public recognition for the same. The budding professionals can take leadership roles to take and execute responsibilities, and to promote and sell their skills. We can also find a group like this in major corporations like Asian Heritage Network group of Citigroup.

3. Deep/Emotional Friends - Friends in this group are very few. This group of friends tends to have an intellectual appetite, but usually have perceived and experienced life through various relationships. This friends group will be there to support us during the ups and downs of life. Sometimes, we can find these friendships between married women, mother and daughter, close sisters. These are the friends who we will grow old with.

4. Intellectual Friends – This group has a very curious and intellectual mindset. We can talk about anything without being embarrassed. Friends in this group are very few. The difference between the Emotional and Intellectual friends is that the latter understand situations logically without mixing feelings. Usually this group of friends is considerate, matured, well-developed and have their own fulfilled lives. Sometimes, these groups of friends are so busy in their own pursuits and quests of life that they might not be able to offer the time, but when they do, it is mutually fulfilling.

5. Self-Actualized Friends – Friends in this group are the perfect combination and are very rare to find. These friends have an amazing appetite for intellectual conversation, are open to discuss about life experiences, take care of their own needs, have less complaints about life in general and respect others views of life. In addition to that, they will love to invest time to grow emotionally, professionally, intellectually, socially, and spiritually, know how to laugh and enjoy life also. These friends will not try to change others, but will appreciate and respect the differences. Probably, we will grow old with this group of friends. The friends in this group volunteer to give us feedback and advice about different aspects of life, not only because they care about us, but want positive things to happen in our lives.

6. Buddy Friends – This is a very informal group of friends, who meet informally to have a great time together. A lot of Meet Up groups fall under this category. This is the group who are usually college students, high school students, and singles. These friends usually go to the clubs, bars, happy hours, discos. There is not much intellectual connection, professional connection, because the people in this group still does not have the need to explore more serious matters of life, or might not feel the comfort to seek advice on any issues.

7. School Friends (Memory Revisiting) – There are a lot of friends in this group. If we have not kept in touch, most of them are acquaintances at this stage. Most likely we have changed, since we last saw them and they have changed also. We will meet them at reunions, alumni events. Most of the conversations are nostalgic and about the “good old days.”

Some thoughts I have on all of this ...

-- Maybe conflict arises between friends when one has different expectations than the other? When one feels they are in a different category of friendship than the other feels? Expectations are raised, disappointments felt.

-- Selfishly, the easiest friendships are my favorite, whatever category. Like a romance, it shouldn't be difficult, although not to say that conflict can't ever arise between good friends. 

-- Some friends have the power to lift you up - to make you laugh - to make you feel glad to be around them. Hopefully that works both ways. 

-- Some friends have the ability to suck the life right out of you by being negative and always dealing with yet another crisis. (This is tricky because real friends are there for each other in thick and thin, but if it seems that there are lots of continual troubles - some of which can be fixed but never are - then it's time to re-evaluate the relationship. My mom went through this with a lady who was being abused by her boyfriend. My mom listened, helped, advised, GAVE $ TO, and then in the end this crazy girl stayed with her idiot boyfriend. My mom was very hurt. Some people seem to thrive on their sadness, and it is frustrating because you want to help, but can't. Then you feel guilty for giving up, but give up you must.)

In the end, friendship is indeed an art, not a science. 

'Just because: my highbush cranberry, minus a few berries (bird snack?)


  1. I'm saying... SOUL mate. :)

  2. It is funny how, as I read your article, I see the faces of so many people that have been in my life. When I was a little girl, my father did not want me to say that anybody was my best friend, just friend. I have kept that with me all my life, and at 42 years old, I am "kinda" glad. I cannot think of anybody in my past that I should of called Best Friend or Soul Mate, but that does not mean I did not want one. Saved me from a lot of disappointments that eventually happened. What I learned; Have no expectations, be true when you give your ALL and know when to let go. Keep on writting girl! Lv, Lz

    1. Hmmm ... I think your comment reads as a wonderful blog post in and of itself! :) It is true, indeed, to know when to let go.

    2. ;o) I will leave the blog to you! Love reading them. Lz