Pyramid of Friendship

I created the above Pyramid of Friendship but had a hard time uploading the file so I did the next best thing I could think of to do; took a photograph of it. If anyone has a better solution for me on how to upload the file, I’d be glad to hear it. Thanks.

The issue of friends/friendships has been togging on my mind for a while. We call each other friends, but are we really? Is a friend not someone who knows you? Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to be thought of as someone’s friend and to have someone to call a friend. But who really is a (or your) friend?

Yes, friendship has to start somewhere. And, if we do not stretch out a “friendship” hand, it will never begin.

Real (or True) Friends share some level of intimacy that they do not share with everyone. Intimacy, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the state of familiarity and act of “developing through long association; is of a very personal or private nature where you share intimate secrets, including marked by very close association.”

At the base of my inverted Pyramid of Friendship is

  1. Strangers: they are friends you haven’t met or really don’t know yet. That’s where all friendships begin. This level is broad, accommodates all, and shares zero intimacy. If you get to know each other by introduction; sharing the basic demographics such as name, where you live, and occupation or hobby, you move to the next level
  2. Ally/Acquaintance(Casual): here you have a little bit of information about each other and continue to share more demographics such as whether you’re single or married. The level of intimacy is beginning to develop but both sides are still proceeding with caution. This is where/what I call “checking each other out!”
  3. Social / Social media: Social friends enjoy a common interest that ranges from following one another on the social media, love for something like parties, hiking, food/cooking, having fun together, etc., but are devoid of sharing serious life issues. They don’t want to be involved in the nitty-gritty of one’s life or bogged down with it. They tend to be superficial and care only about the fun times. But life consists of both the good and bad and life happens to all. Social friends are those who would tag one as a “drama” queen/king. When you share a little bit of your real self, you never know which way it might go. In essence, social friends are inconsistent. They befriend you today, but are gone tomorrow. They also are quick to join the bandwagon. Level of intimacy with social/social media friends is 1. They know as much as you share with them on your social media pages or during the fun/partying times.
  4. Associate/colleague: We spend a third (or more) of our workweek times with these group of friends. Those we care about move to the next level
  5. Friends (Close friends): these group often have known us for a little longer, or we attended school or college with and still maintain the association or are colleagues we choose to continue with after work hours. At this level, we’ve established some level of trust and probably have come to know another member or more of our families. Level of intimacy is growing and is at 2.
  6. Buddy/Best (or Girl) Friends: friendship has grown in terms of time and depth knowledge of one another. This group has first-hand knowledge of who you really are. They see the side you often don’t show the rest of the world. You also know each other’s families; have common interest, and can call or knock on their doors late at night or early morning without feeling guilty. Intimacy level is 3.
  7. Confidant/Confidante (Intimate friends)

The optimal level of friendship is the Confidant/Confidante. It is narrow because only one (and rarely, two) people can hold the position at any time. The level of intimacy is also at its peak; 4. Not everyone can attain this level because not everyone can hold the level of trust, openness, or accountability and availability required at this level. At the Buddy/Girlfriend level, you can call or knock on doors probably till 11 p.m. or from 6:00 a.m. the following day. At the Confidant/Confidante level, however, your doors and phones are always open to one another.

We all need someone in each level of the Pyramid in our lives but a Confidant/Confidante is invaluable.

Categorize your friendship

Finally, categorizing your friends/friendships will help avoid heartaches. For example, knowing that my colleague is only that (about workplace) will remove the burden from both of us of expecting more from him/her empathizing about my granny or dog dying. Great if they do; that might score with me and move him/her to my next level of friendship. But if they don’t, I won’t lose sleep nor deem him/her as bad folk.

Please share your thoughts of this post. Thanks for reading.

Pyramid-of-Friendship was first published on Think-Talk.org

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