What does your social network consist of? How many “true friends” do you have among all your friends? Based on the closeness of a relationship, our friends in life can be categorized into five groups: family, close friends, good friends, fake friends, and acquaintances.
For many, family is always on the top of the list when it comes to the closeness of a relationship, not only because of the biologically intimate bond, but also the irreplaceable role they play in our lives. They are the parents and siblings who have been with many people since little, who spend the most time with them, and who will never leave them. Therefore, family members to many are of the highest standard and the very definition of what makes a true and lifelong friend.
The second category, close friends, is the close runner-up for people who we can fully trust. A close friend is a person that we know well of, share secrets with, and that we can count on when in need. It usually takes a long time to find a close friend as they do not appear without care. As time goes by, people around us would come and go, and the few who stay by our side with loyalty are the ones to cherish. Close friends are rare, but there’s nothing happier than finding one.
The aforementioned kinds of friends are rare and highly valuable to us. This next category, on the other hand, is relatively more common. The third kind of friends, good friends, is people who you keep in regular contact and have mutual respect and appreciation for each other. Good friends are not as close as our family or close friends, but they make up a huge proportion of our social life. It is crucial to nurture a healthy relationship with good friends, since every connection is a valuable asset in our lives and every person deserves a chance to strengthen the friendship and potentially become a lifelong true friend.
While it is generally great to have lots of friends, there are some particular people that we should watch out for. The fourth category, fake friends, is those who seem like your good friends, but fail to exhibit care or respect towards us. When we notice that acts of friendship are often carried out unilaterally, that our consideration is abused, that our contribution becomes a resource being exploited, and that our trust and loyalty earn nothing but their talking behind our back, we have unfortunately befriended a person who does not value our friendship. Fake friends may seem close to us, but the sooner we get rid of them, the better.
Last and the least, acquaintances are usually your classmates, colleagues, or friend’s friend; they aren’t complete strangers, but the act of friendship involves nothing more than a nod or a wave. Being the least interactive “friends”, acquaintances rank the lowest in the closeness of a friendship. Although still better than sheer strangers, an acquaintance is not the best person to count on or fully trust.
By utilizing categorization based on the degree of closeness, we can better understand the structure of our friendship status: do we have a lot of acquaintance, but only few counts as good friends? Are some of my friends “fake friends” now that we know what one looks like? By looking into these five categories, we can distinguish between those who are “just friends” and those who are worth treasuring for a lifetime.