What Kind of a Friend Are You? What’s Your Brand?

My fiance and I have had a lot of discussions about this topic, especially lately. This topic always leads to a very interesting conversation between us and we realize a lot of things…IMPORTANT things along the process. Sometimes we have different opinions about certain situations but 99% of the time we arrive at the same conclusion.  If there is anything I realized within the last 2 years is that your TRUE friends will stick by your side NO MATTER WHAT. It’s true what people say that you’ll know who your true friends are when you are at the most trying times in your life. It’s not that I didn’t believe that before but actually experiencing it sealed the deal for me. As I was browsing online a little while ago, I stumbled upon  this article that I found VERY interesting and I couldn’t help but laughed about it too. The article is entitled “ 5 Brands of Friends”! I was like, “What? Seriously? I didn’t know such a thing exists!”. I was really intrigued by this article, so the curious me decided to read it and I’m glad I did. A LOT OF IT MADE SENSE! I have questions about friendship that this article answered. A part of me felt relieved :). It gave me a new perspective and a better understanding of what friends” truly mean and how to distinguish what kind of friendship do you have with someone. Reading this article has definitely opened my eyes and made me realized a lot of things, especially about friendship. Below is an excerpt from the article 5 Brands of Friends by M.G. Matally. Read on. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting too as well as an eye-opener 🙂

We all can take some of the sting out of dead-end relationships and trashed friendships once we understand that all friendships are not created equal. Looking back over the friendships of my own life, I can say with some degree of certainty that friends come in five basic brands: casual, temporary, seasonal, intermittent, and permanent.

1. Casual friend: That’s your touch-and-go friendship. The hello-hello kind, just one step beyond stranger or acquaintance. You exchange smiles every now and then when your paths cross, but that’s about it with casual friendship.

2. Temporary friend: As you will guess, this type of friendship is short-lived. It starts over nothing special, and it ends that way, in a relatively short period of time, though “temporary” could be a year or more before one or both friends call it quits.

3. Seasonal friend: This is friendship that was probably triggered by a special event, a moment of crisis, or a transition in the life of at least one of the two persons involved. It could be the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, a flat tire by the road, or any other event that marks a crisis or transition in one’s life. A seasonal friendship tends to come to an end when one or both persons get through that transitional period. The friendship has served its purpose, and it only makes sense to pull the curtain. If you try to force the continuation of such a friendship, you may actually strain the relationship beyond the pain of a broken friendship; you could make an enemy out of your old friend. It’s better to let go.

What hurts most about temporary and seasonal friendships is how abruptly they usually end. Often the person just cuts away without warning or explanation. You ask the person, “What happened? What did I do wrong? How can we work this out?” And he or she says, “Nothing. There is nothing to talk about. You did nothing wrong. It’s just time for us to go our separate ways.”

And you wanna go, “Say what? After all we’ve been through? After all these years and all the time we’ve invested in this relationship? This is it? This is how it ends? Can’t you remember? Have you forgotten?”

Sometimes it’s far worse than that. Your once-good buddy may start to slander you, starting and spreading the nastiest kind of gossip and rumor about your character, saying crude and cruel things about you. How more bearable it would be if the ex-friend would let you know why s/he ended the relationship. But you are left to guess from hints dropped here, there and yonder. You must get used to not expecting or getting any explanations. This world can be a jungle, and people can be the beasts.

The surprising thing to me, knowing a little something about human nature, is that we are often shocked when a friendship we thought would last forever suddenly shrieks to a terminal halt. Look at it this way: if the seed of your loins, the embryo of your womb can come into this world, eat your food, sleep under your roof and in your bed, play with toys that you bought or made, go to school on your dime or in your car, accept and enjoy your birthday presents and graduation gifts over the years, etc, and grow into adulthood only to abandon you and cut out of your life, as though s/he never knew you from Adam, why be astonished at all when a friend with whom you shared no blood link, suddenly or gradually walks away from your life? Welcome to the real world. Get used to it, my right-now friend.

4. Intermittent friend: “Intermittent” describes something that starts and stops at intervals. “Intermittent” means periodic. It means “on-and-off”.

Our family enjoys an intermittent friendship with one lady in particular. Let’s call her Lady. She is the Godmother of our daughter. We may run into her at the store or at some community gathering. My wife and I sometimes voice our mutual guilt for not keeping in touch more frequently with this dear lady. But she rarely touches with us either. Recently, I surprised Lady with a visit to her home; we talked and laughed for hours.

There is one time in the year that our family can bet on seeing Lady at our house: the evening before our daughter’s birthday (which happens to be our son’s birthday too). Her tradition for the last few years has been to come with an envelope containing a birthday card, which has money tucked in, the amount equal to the age of her Goddaughter. (She brings one for our son too.) Every time we meet Lady, whether on our doorstep, at her home, or somewhere in the community, it’s like we’ve just made friends with her all over again. This intermittent friendship is one of the most precious relationships we know of. Yes, it’s on-and-off, but we know it’s still there, and whenever we bump into Lady, the meeting proves that our friendship with her is still alive and well.

The really neat, or perhaps odd thing about this relationship is that neither Harriet (that’s my wife) nor I can exclusively claim Lady as “my friend”. Isn’t that weird? Lady is a friend to both of us, to Harriet and me. She’s “our friend”, our intermittent friend.

5. Permanent friend: Life hardly gets any better than a lasting, lifelong relationship with a true friend, with whom you are regularly in contact, like almost on a weekly basis, if not more regularly.

A permanent friendship may start while two students are in grade school. The ride never ends. One is there when the other lands his first job. One serves as maid of honor or best man at the other’s wedding. When one moves into an apartment or house of her own, the other is right there, or knows the day and time when the big move takes place. So on goes this rarest brand of friendship until the ‘ship’ veers by a hospital or some other sick bed, then finally reaches the harbor of a funeral home. From there, one still faithful, though frail friend, follows his buddy to say one last goodbye at a graveyard just outside of town.

Blessed is the soul which has one such jewel of a friend, a permanent friend, especially if that golden friend is someone outside of one’s family circle. But if you find a family member a permanent friend, you’d better take him or her. Life doesn’t churn up a whole lot of that brand anymore.

All I can say is that I feel fortunate to have friends whom I can call permanent friends 🙂 !

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