When we are young adults, most of us have many friends. We still have our friends from high school. We make friends in college. We have embarked on our careers and have work friends. We have friends from other walks of life that we have made along the way. As we go along through our lives, not all of those friends stay with us. We lose some along the way. Some become involved in their families and with their children and don’t feel they have time for friendships. Others are trying to establish demanding careers and they are lucky to get home at night in time to fall into bed, get a few hours sleep, and do it all over the next day. Some friends develop interests that are different than ours and friendships die a natural death. Others move away and the geographic distance makes maintaining friendship challenging.
As our friends change and step into their adult lives, we change too.
If we are emotionally healthy, we develop an understanding of why friends come and go and we don’t end up with any resentment toward these individuals who were our friends. As we get older, our friends tend to fall into several categories:
1. Casual Friends: These are the friends you might go to a movie with, or shopping, or even lunch. Casual friends are usually for pure social interaction. But, you aren’t going to tell them your deepest and darkest thoughts and secrets.
2. Business Friends: These are your work friends. They are people you see daily, collaborate with on projects, and may have a little social interaction with like daily lunches. It is easy to let them become at least casual friends, but these friends can become toxic due to issues like professional jealousy.
3. Intimate Friends: Don’t think sexual here. That is not what I mean by intimate friends. Intimate friends are your best friends. I am of the opinion that you have only a handful of real intimate friends in your life, though your perception may be that you have more than this. I think that is a dangerous perception. Intimate friends are those with whom you share your hopes and dreams and your deepest thoughts and feelings. You trust these friends implicitly.
4. Toxic Friends: These friends are those you make, perhaps at work, that latch onto you without knowing you well but who want to know all your deepest and darkest secrets. They may also be casual friends who are not emotionally healthy and become obsessed. The sooner you can get out of a toxic relationship, the better.
The whole discussion of friendship begs the question: Why do we need friends? Why can’t our spouse or significant other, serve as the only friend we need? The answer, I think, is simple. People need people. Not just our spouse or significant other. Women need their girlfriends. We find being around our girlfriends soothing and satisfying. We can talk to them and get things off our chests. We can listen and help them do the same. We feel needed.
In order to work, friendship has to feel right. One person can’t be a better friend than the other. There can’t be any passive-aggressive behavior or hidden agendas on either side. There has to be openness and honesty. There has to be mutual sharing and respect. Both people in a friendship have to be able to talk to the other. If we have that with our girlfriends, we have real friends. #amwriting #writing #blogging #Bestfriends!