If you’re reading this, I’m assuming it’s because you read my first post on Friendship and Connectedness and are curious about how to make deeper, more meaningful friendships. If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend browsing through to give you some context about why I care about this hokey pokey stuff we call “friendship.”
I would also highly recommend watching Shasta Nelson’s Friendship Seminar (part 1 and part 2), as she is the “friendship expert,” and explains it much better than I can. 🙂 Plus, it revolutionized the way I think about friendship and relationships. Here we go:
Shasta coins this word, “frientimacy,”which she defines as “being seen by friends you love and who love you back.” It is awkward, needs to be developed, and so worth it. But how do we create this thing we call frientimacy? How do we create circles of meaningful friends in a world that is dominated by social media, long distance, and busyness.
Shasta suggests a way to find the friends you need by identifying 5 different categories of friends:
1. Contact – There are the most casual relationships and acquaintances. i.e. people that you say hi to at church or work with. You are linked to them through a common interest (Facebook, school, kickball league)
2. Common – These friends are those you spend additional time together in the are that you have in common. Maybe you naturally gravitate towards a few people at church or are in the same mom’s group and go deeper than those contact friends.
3. Confirmed – I’m going to come back to this circle.
4. Community – In this category, you spend regular time together outside of the context that you have in common. These are friends that you grab coffee with before church or lunch during work. You’ve crossed the original relationship boundaries and now share your lives outside of that common interest (i.e. gym buddy, fellow classmate, housemate, etc). You build a second glue to relationship, so that when that first common layer disappears, you maintain that friendship instead of wondering what happened to it.
5. Committed – These are your BFF’s. You’ve shared a history that has bonded you and your commitment goes beyond the silo that holds you in common. If the original common categories were to change (someone moves, joins another gym or small group), your friendship would not be at risk.
Now, back to the Confirmed friends:
3. Confirmed – Now these friends used to be in the Community and/or Committed category, but the connection is not as consistent. You can pick up right where you left off, but you left off. These are the friends that you talk yourself out of calling because “it would take too long.” There’s too much context and a lot of catch up.
It’s important to remember that all friendships start at the first silo. They start with a smile and a hello, and if there is some intentionality, the relationship can move towards the right of the spectrum.
However, friendships can move in both directions. You may have a best friend from college, but they moved away, which now puts them in the Confirmed category. Or maybe you decide that you want to move a friend from the Community/Committed category towards the left. This could be because something (maybe a breakup, dating a guy that is horrible for her, rude comments, etc) makes it hard to be close right now.
Learning this method of viewing friendship completely transformed my own friendships. It allowed me to take a more introspective look and evaluation of my expectations and current friendships, which helped me become more realistic.
I realized that my greatest loneliness lied in my desire for more “Commitment” friends. Read on to the next post to see action steps I did to evaluate which Circles contained the best pool of friends that could develop into my Commitment friends.