By: Deb Klecha
Over the course of our lives we will form many different types of friendships. Some of these will continue throughout our lives and others will abruptly end. When one ends, it can be puzzling and painful.
But what if our struggles have more to do with the expectations of a friendship than the friendship itself? What if a particular friend was only meant to be in our lives for a very short time and on a very casual basis? Would knowing this early on help minimize hurt feelings?
Here are some six possible categories of friendships that may be useful to consider:
1. The Friend You Met in Kindergarten
You have a shared history with this friend that can be comforting. No need to explain how your family operates. He/She has witnessed it firsthand. But you’ve both grown and changed quite a bit since Ms. Smith’s class.
Maybe your social and political views no longer align—or maybe they never did. But you set this aside when you see each other because no one else can fully appreciate the glue incident the way that this person can.
2. The Work Friend
This friend gets your 9 to 5 euphoria and frustrations like no one else. And he/she is always up for a 2:30 Starbuck’s run just to help you get through the remaining hours of the day.
Your shared experience can be incredibly bonding,but when the 5 o’clock bell rings, this relationship may get put on pause until 9am the next day. Sometimes people prefer to leave work at work, and this philosophy carries over to relationships formed at work because let’s face it…..when you get together you likely talk about WORK!
3. The Happy Hour Friend
Ah….so many good times! You would like to re-tell that joke that was so hilarious, but you can’t really remember how it goes. And chances are good that, even if you could remember it, its humor value may have dropped since you left the bar.
This friend can help you forget all your worries and provide some much needed adult social interaction. But if you suggest a nature walk, this friend may be suddenly unavailable.
4. The Political Ally
You have marched together, volunteered together, etc. No need to argue your
views with this one. When it comes to political issues, you are singing the same song. But you may find over time that you don’t have much in common outside of the cause……and maybe that is o.k.
5. The Neighbor
This person picks up your mail, feeds your cat, shovels your sidewalk, and invites you over for barbeques. There is definite comfort in knowing that there is someone on the block watching out for you and your family.
But sometimes this friendship just doesn’t take off the way childhood friendships did—when all you needed to do to become besties was stand next to each other in line. And maybe it’s enough that your cat is fed when you go on vacation.
6. The Fellow Parent/Pet Owner
You see each other on walks and at the park, and you always stop and chat. Because you are doing these things daily you have formed a fairly strong connection.
But at the end of the day, you may find out that you run out of conversation when you are finished discussing Fido’s most recent vet visit or Sally’s struggle with homework.
So next time you find yourself expecting your happy hour friend to watch your cat for a week and getting frustrated that he/she isn’t returning your call, refer back to your category cheat sheet and shift your expectations.