Friends Through Thick & Thin

5 Dec

Friendships are important to me as I imagine they are for you.

Last August, I wrote a post entitled “I thought we were friends” which described some research that was pretty surprising. Only about half of perceived friendships are mutual!

Old friends, two senior african american men meeting and hugging

Now, that’s been bugging me since then. Why is it that we often see friendships in such a different light than the other person does?

Well, I think I may have come across at least part of the answer.

Perhaps we are lumping all friendships into one category and not appreciating the differences.

There are typically four types of friendships according to Melissa Cohen, a psychotherapist and relationship coach:

  1. Friends you have have ‘shared history” with – you can remember the good ‘ole days, for example, in high school or at your first job.
  2. Friends you made because of ‘forced togetherness’ – circumstances brought you together such as 6 month project or being soccer moms for a season
  3. Friends you have on a casual social basis – for example, the front desk person that you walk by every day and share weekend stories with
  4. Friends you want by your side through thick and thin – these are the friends that you call for advice and reach out to no matter where you live

So, the challenge arises when a friendship fades away because circumstances have changed for the other person, but perhaps they haven’t for you. Or the other person betrays you — like sharing your secret or hurting your feelings and you don’t understand why.

You might ask yourself first – what type of friends were we and I would contend that the ‘stick by your side’ friendships are the ones to work the hardest on make sure that your friendship is mutually satisfying and will grow through the years.


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