As many of you will be aware Instagram has an option on its story settings where you can make your stories available to a group labeled ‘close friends’. There were a few stories that I wanted to share on my social media but I didn’t want my clients at work to see them so I decided to do what I had avoided doing out of sheer laziness, and filtered out my close friends. Now, I am no influencer, so I have about 1350 followers online (at the time of writing, that is. Who knows what my reach will be after this blog, am I right? No? Okay, moving on). After filtering through them to choose my ‘close friends’ I ended up with 122 in that group. That’s less than 1% of my total following. And that made me wonder- what % of the people in my life would I call close friends?
And that’s when I realised there is a variety of friends that everyone will make and lose at some point in their lives.
There’s the group of your closest friends- obviously it’s nothing like a sitcom and you don’t hang out at a bar or a coffee shop day in, day out, but there is a certain regularity in communcation- either on the phone or via text or in person (based on whether or not COVID restrictions allow for ‘in person’ to happen. Isn’t it funny, a year ago, no one would have thought of thinking about this, but look at us now). This group knows everything- literally, nothing is a secret. Well, maybe you have some secrets, but for the most part, your life is an open book and your friends are your readers. Maybe you even have a long held connection with them- you grew up together, or you went to school together, or maybe University, but there may be a certain longevity to this connection. This is the group that stays strong for most of your single life and then as you build relationships (ugh) you drift in and out of these friendships.
Then there’s the group of friends that you would only ever go out drinking with. I don’t know if this is the case with everyone, but I feel like you need that in your life. This is the group of people that is way too fun and cannot be expected to have serious, life-affirming conversations with you. But when you’re looking for a fun time, they will be there. They won’t get super serious with you about life, but that’s the beauty of it- they don’t have to. They are here for a fun time in the here and now, and that’s always a good idea. This is the group of friends that is likely to appear in your life once every month or maybe two months, you have a great night with them, you decide you should do this more often, and then the next morning you realise you have no energy left for this lifestyle and hence you will not be doing this any more often than you need to. These guys are hella fun but you need to push the brakes on it for a little while.
There are other friends you meet through shared interests- perhaps through a book club, or a fun class, or perhaps the gym. If you are fortunate, these friends might even share other interests and you might develop a social circle with them.
Another category of friends that is handy is your colleagues who have become your friends. You spend most of your life with your colleagues so if you get along with them enough to hang out with them outside of work, then that’s a huge blessing.
My personal favourite are the social media friends. They aren’t really friends, but more acquaintances, but because they have an insight into your life through your social feed and your stories, they seem kind of like your close friends. These are the people who will comment on your stories. These could be motivational stories, or maybe it’s a picture of your dog, maybe your favourite team won the game and they support the same team so they send in a ‘clapping’ emoji as a reply. Sometimes, it’s people who slide into your DMs and whenever you post a picture of yourself online, they’ll be the first to comment with a hearts in the eyes emoji. Some of these people are your ex-love interests, people you keep in touch with through social media because you can. Some of these you went to school with but were never really close with so you don’t speak to them other than when they or you share something fun on social media. You can’t have honest, open, fulfilling conversations with this group of friends but you can always count on them to stick around.
There’s also people you’ve dated that have become your friends. These are people who have a strange insight into your life and they can actually come in quite handy because when you are about to screw things over with the next one, they can always tell you when to tone down the crazy. Now I kind of wish I had one of these friends.
What’s great about having a combination of these friends is that it lets all the parts of your personality shine. The way you are with your close friends, you probably aren’t with your drinking friends. The way you are with your colleagues, you probably won’t be with your social media friends. And that’s the beauty of it. Somewhere down the line we will lose some and we will gain some but if the bond is strong, it will transcend time and space. Even if you lose touch, and no one makes contact for a year, the next time you come together, things will be just as you had left them. And I find that so beautiful.