Some people are complete pack rats (myself included!!). We save everything
- whether we need it or not. Our reasons are simple - we may need it
someday. This can include anything from old cards and letters, to magazines
and recipes, and friends.
That's right - friends. Or at least the people we throw into the category
of "Friends". But sometimes we need to go through and re-evaluate who our
friends really are. We need to keep the good and toss the bad or
out-of-date. (Much like with shoes, clothes, etc.) In order to do this it
is best to begin by creating our own personal categories of friendships.
For this article I will use categories that suit my own life - but feel
free to modify to suit your own needs / preferences.
"Friendship Main Categories"
Let's begin by creating our main categories of friends and defining them:
These are the friends that we have known since childhood. We
grew up with them, went to school with them, etc. You have watched each
other grow up - and usually know the best and worst about each other.
These are the friendships that we have created as
adults. They may not have the history of a Lifetime Pal, but our
relationships with them can be just as deep, and tend to be more mature.
The Work Mates:
These are the people that we've met through work. They
aren't always people we would usually meet in our day-to-day lives - but
we've developed a relationship with them while seeing them on a daily basis.
Friends of Friends and Family:
These can be your spouse's friends, your
friends' friends, your sister's friends, your brother's girlfriend, etc.
They tend to be people you see on a regular basis. You may even know quite
a lot about them - but usually through a third-party.
These are people that you know for a variety of reasons -
but not very well. They very well may be people that you like - but not
necessarily people that you confide in or hang out with.
Now take the people that you consider friends and place them in the most
appropriate "Friend" Category.
Within the categories above are some sub-categories. People can fit into
one or many of these. For the purposes of the exercise, place your friends
listed above in the sub-category that best describes them:
This is the most important sub-category. These should be the
people you trust the most. The friends you can count on. The friends you
know you can call in a crisis - and also the friends that know they can
call you in a crisis. Would you get out of bed at 2AM to talk them through
a break-up? Would they drive through a snowstorm to go to your mother's
funeral? You get the idea. True Friends aren't necessarily people you see
or talk to on an everyday basis. You may live far apart, etc. But you don't
need to. Whether it has been one day or 5 years since you've seen each
other - the bond is still as strong as ever. Put them on this list.
The Fun Crowd:
These are the people that you love to be around. The life of
the party. These are people that you invite to your parties, or hang out
with on a day off from work. You may even take vacations together. Although
you may not tell them your secrets and life story - they are good people
that you sincerely like. Think of them as "friends with possibility of
being "True Friends".
The Convenient Folk:
These are people that are easy to be around. They're
schedules mesh with yours. You may live near each other or work together,
etc. They're convenient. You usually have something in common: kids,
hobbies, interests, etc. But if the convenience was gone, they may be, too.
Love 'Em or Leave 'Em:
These are the people that you can live with or live
without. If they moved away you probably wouldn't stay in touch (although
you may make promises to do so.) You may invite them to your home for
dinner - you may not. They're still nice people - you just haven't formed a
deeper friendship with them.
The Tolerable Ones:
These are people that you may not particularly like.
But you may not dislike them either. Usually these are friends of friends -
but can include anyone. You're nice to them when you hang out - but aren't
on your Christmas card list. You wouldn't go out of your way to make plans
with them, but you may accept their invitations from time to time.
The Old Friends:
This is the toughest category to put people into. These
are the people that may have been in any of the other categories at some
time in your life. But if you ask yourself "If I were to meet this person
today, what would I think of them?" the answer you give can make you
realize that they're simply "Old Friends". The friends that you have simply
because you were friends: either because it is habit, or because you don't
want to hurt their feelings by ending your friendship. Maybe you've just
grown apart - nobody's fault. But when you take a close look, you realize
that you were friends more than you are friends.
Maybe Not a Friend After All:
Ahhh - the "Former Friend" or "Friend You're
Angry With". Or maybe the people that were some type of friend - but
through changes that you, her or both of you have gone through have made
you different people than you were when you first met. Or they're simply
acquaintances that you don't know well enough to place in one of the other
categories. Yet. For me - these also tend to be
The people you placed in these categories may change. You may become close
with a Love 'Em or Leave 'Em type friend. Or someone in the Fun Crowd may
become a Tolerable One. Friendships are fluid. But for our purpose here -
you need to place them in the category that best describes them today.
The Big Picture
Now that you've sorted through your friends like laundry - read over your
list. Is everyone where they should be? Honestly? Do you truly appreciate
the people that have been really good to you? Do you value your friends
like they do you? Or are you giving some of them too much credit? Sometimes
we hang on to people and friends because we think we should. After all -
these are human beings. But as we get older we sometimes discover that some
of our "Friends" are turning into more work than they're worth. Some of
them may display behavior that we are no longer comfortable with. They may
hurt you, or piss you off. That can be a hard to thing to realize and face.
But in order to have a happy life, you need to know who makes you happy. If
there is someone on the list that has caused you pain - or that you feel
isn't worth the trouble they cause - you need to put them on the....
Now comes the weeding. Examine who you have on your lists. Is there anyone
you can honestly live without? Friendships are give and take. If someone
has been doing a whole lotta taking - but selfish with the giving - boot
'em. Is someone causing you problems in your life or other friendships?
Boot 'em. This doesn't have to be a lifetime ban - but you don't need to
deal with the crap now. Don't put them back on the list until they've
earned the right. Examine the people on your Tolerable Ones, Old Friends
and Maybe Not a Friend After all lists. If they don't have heavy potential
of making a different, better category - and soon - boot 'em. Spend your
time and energy on the people that you enjoy, the ones that deserve your
Hanging on to people out of habit or a sense of loyalty is common. But that
doesn't mean that they're good for you. By weeding through the people in
your life, you may find you relieve a lot of stress. When you toss out
problem people, the problems tend to go with them. You'll be happier for
giving yourself the time to be with the people that you truly care about.
As you get older and your values change you'll find your lists do, too.
That is OK! It is your life and you have the right to decide the types of
people you want in it.
Nobody is perfect - including us. The final assignment is to look at the
list you have and see how you can help build and maintain the friendships
you have. As the old saying goes, "You have to be a friend to keep a
friend." If you find your lists are short on people - and this makes you
unhappy - look at your own behavior and try to improve. After all - you
don't want to find that you've been booted from your friends' lists!
5 Ways to Develop Friendships That Really Count
How do you develop friendships that nurture your spirit and enrich your lives?
By following these 5 guidelines you can begin developing friendships that will uplift and inspire you.
Valentine's Day — Where Did That Come From?
I discovered that
Valentine’s is not a holiday that was “invented” by
greeting card companies to sell more greeting cards or
by candy companies to sell more candy or by florists to
sell more roses.
Valentine’s Day actually started more than 1,500 years ago.
Find an Excuse to Love
"Some children just need more love." I don't know
how many times I heard Mrs. Tucker say that.
Mrs. Tucker was a 73-year-old woman who worked
with me in an after-school daycare program. She rarely missed an opportunity
to show warmth and affection to a child.