Friendship is an odd thing. There’s no rhyme or reason to it; there are no rules. We meet another person and we decide we like them for reasons as simple as having matching outfits or as complicated as going through life changing events together, and from that moment on that person becomes a part of our life.
Take a moment to reflect on the people in your life; specifically anyone you consider to be a friend. Now compare the relationships you share with each of these people. You will recognize that each of these friendships play a different role in your life. While some of these roles are more significant than others, each type of friendship fulfills an important need in your life, whether you realize it or not.
To give us a better understanding of the relationships we share and the roles that they play in our lives, we are taking a deeper look at the 4 levels of friendship.
The 4 Levels of Friendship
An acquaintance is someone you spend time with on occasion, or someone you see often out of obligation but not necessarily desire. Conversations that you share are typically formidable but general, lacking any significant personal connection.
Acquaintances are often coworkers that you share polite interactions with, people from school or an extra curricular activity that you greet in passing but don’t keep in touch with, or a friend of a friend that you see on occasion, but don’t particularly like.
Casual friendships form when you discover you have common interests with another individual. You enjoy each other’s company and are on a level where you are comfortable sharing personal conversations, but do not seem to go out of your way to see each other.
Close friendships are a step above casual friendships. You have bonded over shared interests, goals, or struggles, and put effort into making time for one another. You seek advice from your close friends, celebrate successes with them, and kick back and relax with them. These are probably the friends you spend the most time with.
An intimate friend is someone who is genuinely invested in your health, happiness, and success. This is the person you share all of your achievements with, and who has seen you, and helped you through, your lowest points. Your connection runs deeper than with anyone else; you understand each other, you support each other, and you work to make each other better (most of the time). You can go long periods of time without seeing each other, and yet the moment you do, it’s as if no time has passed.
Building A Friendship
While each friendship is unique, their formations most likely followed a similar path. Whether your friendship was almost instant, or whether it grew slowly over time, there are a few actions and qualities that would have been present to bring that friendship to life. Creating a lasting friendship takes time, and a combination of both emotional and physical building blocks.
Not every friendship is going to grow and develop into a can’t-live-without-you, lifelong relationship, but every friendship will bring value and happiness to your life.