Friend Tiers

I know a lot of people. I love that fact, that I have friends of many backgrounds and can sit right next to someone in a train and strike up a conversation. It is my personality to not just connect with people, but connect people. I love the idea of forming relationships and making friends.

The subject of friendships has been heavy in my head since the beginning of the year. I think this year will be a tough one but one that we can learn a lot from and I want to concentrate on making all the relationships in my life stronger. Which brings me to friendships.

Recently one of the issues I have faced with friendships hit me right on the face. I do not have one single friend from my childhood. Granted, I could find or bump into someone I knew back in grade school or from one of the neighbourhoods I grew up in, but they are not friends. As a matter of fact I did when I was back in Colombia and it felt awkward that someone was calling my name and I had no idea what their name was. It took me a while, but I did remember the girl that was talking to me and even now I have a hard time remembering her name.

One of my friends at work also reminded me of this fact. He has a couple of friends that he did not just grew up around but built his life with. They have been there his whole life, and I cannot help but feel a little jealous of that fact. I would not trade having moved and having met so many over anything because it was my path, but at times it would be nice to have friends that reached that top tier of friendship.

My wife made some very good friends here in KC, and the have quickly become one of our closest group. As immigrants we make quick friends and hang onto anything that we can share from our similar cultures. It is hard to not have those friends from back home here, and we quickly replace each other’s close inner circle but only at the little parties we have when we see each other.

My friend from work also in the same conversation said something that made me think about trust, and letting in people too quickly and too much. His observation is accurate, I am a fast friend and fast to trust, but it does not mean that I don’t have tiers of friends. It is uncomfortable to be placed in any kind of tier and I would never do that to the people that call me a friend. However, the reality is that there are different tiers, there are some people that are closer than others.

Funny thing is that while I don’t have someone that calls me their best friend, at least not yet, there are plenty of people that I am extremely close with and will do pretty much anything for. Some of them read this blog, some of them don’t. Some might know how important they are in my life and some might not even have a clue.

I guess my tiers of closeness really are not that delineated. If you are my friend when we see each other I will feel as happy to see you as if I had shared crayons with you in high school. Now I just have to concentrate on managing my time and being able to spend more time with my friends.

10 Responses to Friend Tiers

  1. For what it’s worth, I don’t have any friends from my childhood either. In my case it was a conscious decision to cut them all loose. People I had called friend for 20-30 years…haven’t seen them or talked to them in over 6 years.

    You mentioned trust. That was the issue 6 years ago. They lost my trust and they will never, ever, get it back.

    But I’m more than compensated by new friends like you and Bea. My new friends are my friends because I like who they are. My old friends were just people I had known a long time. Huge difference.

  2. They do say that don’t they… you choose your friends…

    I did not talk about that other side of the coin when it comes to long term friends because the person that I was talking about does seem to have a beautiful thing going. I have also seen the opposite from childhood friends, where they are the most destructive force on someone’s life to the point that holding back is not even strong enough of a concept… its more like cementing them back.

    To make it even more general we see that with professional athletes all the time, and plenty of people quick to say that they need to leave the “hood” behind.

    Do we commend them for staying true to their long friends or chastise them for not having enough “judgment” to cut them off?

  3. I consider myself blessed because I’m still good friends with the people I grew up with. Mind you, it was a small community, and we were together for over 20 years. Those friendships will always be considered among the best I have.

    I haven’t talked to many in quite a long time, but I know that they will always be happy to see me, and we all look forward to seeing each other when the opportunity presents itself.

    That, however, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the friends that make part of my present life. To say that no one will be as special as a good friend from our childhood is selfish. Making friends enriches our lives, getting to know people enriches our spirit.

  4. I can’t say I am still friends with people from my childhood. I have friends from High School and on that I kind of miss and we e-mail a few times a year, or we agree to meet up if we are home at the same time.

    I could go in and explain all the whys and hows, but what really interests me is the tier concept. I don’t consciously divide people into tiers. I mean there are people who if I HAD to judge are closer to me, but I don’t find myself treating them differently. I have noticed tho, and we talked about this Tuesday Logtar, I have divided up my friends into categories.

    Friends I have from certain aspects of my life are clumped together in little groups. Unfortunately there are few groups that ever cross. I don’t expect all of my friends to automatically be close to each other, but I am determined to do some cross pollination this year.

  5. It was the same with me, none of my childhood friendships lasted into adulthood. My suspicion is that childhood friendships seldom do last. In fact, it may be possible to generalize further and say that most friendships that form when the participants are put together for some reason – fellow students, neighbors, military, co-workers etc. – do not long survive after the participants go their separate ways.

  6. I think one limits themselves when you start putting friends into conscience “Tiers”. My views on friends is that they can do no wrong and they have Carte Blanche with their social, political, religious and over all view of the world. Yes there are limits to said friendship – i.e. Kicking my dog, Sleeping with the Wife etc. but those are extremes.

    John, with you in particular we do not see eye to eye on most issues (popular ones) and your blog topics and replies piss me off to some degree but I look past that as I consider you a friend. Not tiered. Not casual or based on convenience but a friend. I look past your views and take you as a friend on a whole. I don’t nit pick friends….

    I am not a jealous person let alone jealous of the relationships my friends have with their friends…that seems too selfish and childish. Time we have on this blessed earth is very limited and cannot be wasted on jealousy or vain attempts at categorizing friends into subcategories or such. Time is better spent enjoying life with those around you and taking them for what they are (and you).

    But your mileage may vary.

  7. Jealousy as an emotion is hard to control, however when it comes to this topic, I am not constantly jealous of anyone in particular that has had long term friend. It would be very nice to have a friend that could have seen me grow up and change as a human being. I have that with my family members, and to some degree the people I still talk to from high school back in Colombia… some of them I know since I was 9 years old and that is 20+ years now.

  8. I can relate to this post, particularly about the best friend part. I would say that I definitely have a lot of “friend tiers” as well and enjoy hanging out with different people, but I don’t have any one best friend. I guess that’s partly my own fault because I tend to want to vary my company and oftentimes only see the same person once or twice a month. I think a lot of that is moving around, esp. as an adult, as it gets harder to have that trust and let people in — most people I know that have best friends have had them for a long time. Fortunately, I have been able to stay in touch with quite a few friends from high school and even a couple from grade school, but since we didn’t live in the same city for too long, they became “best friends” with the people that stayed there (I grew up as an Army brat).

  9. I have long time good friends. But they don’t seem interested in the things I’m interested now. I find that I’m really enjoying the blogger/tweeter friendships a lot. I count you & Bea as friends. You two probably understand how I feel more than some.

  10. Man, I probly shoodn’t have stuck your Crayons up my noze back in highschool then. Thanks for letting me keep them tho. ^_^

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