There are a lot of things that I learned from my four short years at Clarkson. I learned way more math than I ever knew existed, I learned that foods you never tried can be good if you get over the mental barrier of that “unknown food” syndrome, and I learned that those child hood video games like Pokemon or Mario or rather just video games in general are still cool to play. But I think that one of the most important things I learned is choosing your friends.
I think this one might turn out to be a longer post, I have a lot of thoughts on this because I’ve had a lot of experience, and I’m gonna lay out a little bit of my life too.
When people say “friend” it’s always hard to determine what they mean. I’ve realized that there are several different types of “friends.”
There are the friends you just see every day but don’t really talk to, kind of like acquaintances. There are the friends that you see every day and talk to, but it’s merely superficial. Next come the friends that you consider close friends, you know the ones you tell some things to, but not everything. Then come best friends, best friends find out a lot about you, and you about them as well. Then come best friends forever. Now best friends forever are a little bit different, you see they know a lot about you, more than the others up to this point, but the key thing here is if you go for three years without seeing each other, the next time you see them it’s like those three years never happened. You talk as if you were never even separated. Our next layer of friendship is family members, hopefully it’s pretty self-explanatory. But there’s one more level of friendship, closer than family.
So our friendship hierarchy from most distant to closest, from lowest to highest, from least knowledgeable to most knowledgeable is as follows:
- Superficial Friends
- Close Friends
- Best Friends
- Best Friends Forever
- Closer Than Family
So, let’s go into each of these just a little bit more.
AcquaintancesAcquaintances are those people that you see everyday. You know their name, what they look like, maybe even a little bit about them. But the thing is you never talk to them. At all. They’re there, and if you needed to you could talk to them, but you usually don’t.
Superficial FriendsSuperficial friends are the guys and gals that you talk to. The casual exchange in the hallway. The wave when you recognize them away from home. Basically if you say anything at all to them, they’re just about superficial.
Close FriendsClose friends, ah those are the ones who sit at your lunch table or would have or basically any person you have more than a casual conversation with. It’s more than just “Hey, how’s it going,” followed by a “Not too bad.” You honestly care a little bit about them.
Best FriendsBest friends. Who doesn’t know what a best friend is. You see them all the time, you tell them all sorts of things. You hang out with them when you can. They have your number and you have theirs. They know how to push your buttons, but it’s okay because you can do the same thing to them. Everyone has them whether they realize it or not.
Best Friends ForeverBFFs, I think just about everyone has one. I have multiple. I care a lot about each one of them. I have helped them through a lot of things, a lot of hard times, and I wouldn’t exchange them for anyone. They know a heck of a lot about me, and likewise I know a lot about them. The beauty of best friends forever is that it truly is what it says. I’ve discovered that no matter how long you’re away from those bffs you have, when you see each other again it’s as if you never left. You catch up and life goes on.
FamilyFamily is where is the second most serious friendship. There’s only one level above it. I have been trying to remember all day some saying that I think is “I can mess with my brother and sister all I want, but when you do it, you’re messing with me.” I don’t know if that’s the exact saying, but it’s true nonetheless. I have two siblings, and I can get away with doing almost anything to them, but if someone else starts dissing them, that’s where I have a problem.
Closer Than FamilyCloser than family. The highest level of friendship you can have with someone. The people in this group mean everything to you. You think about them constantly, you wanna make sure that they’re okay. You splurge on them, not because you have to or sometimes even when you can’t afford it, you splurge on them because you want to. You would do anything to protect them. No matter what the danger was, who it was, or if it was even real. If they asked you to come get them, you’d do it even if you were passed out from exhaustion only a couple hours before. You get a little excited when they contact you, and you could talk with them for hours and never run out of topics.
Each one of these categories generally holds people for each individual person who reads this. You’ll be able to identify who they are. I can tell you that I personally have only two people in my life that I consider closer than my family. They hold a very rare position in my life.
But the most important thing about friendship is who you choose to become friends with.
Here’s a little secret I discovered. When you become friends with someone, you become like that person.
It doesn’t happen fast, and it’s a long process, but it happens. Very slowly you begin to pick up on the good qualities they hold.
For example, I became friends with a very active and fit guy while I was at Clarkson. He inspired me. The more I hung out with him, the more I wanted to act like him. A lot of the changes he affected in my life, he did without knowing, and I performed without realizing the mentality behind it.
So that brings me to the value of choosing friends. You can choose to be friends with whomever you want. My advice is to be careful. You will become similar to the people you’re friends with. That’s why you must value who you choose. You must respect them, and treat them as if you love them completely. Friendship isn’t easy, there are undoubtedly bumps in the road. But let me tell you, if you ever find those people who you grow to consider to be closer than family, hold onto them. Those people will be there with you through everything. They will never leave you, and you’ll never leave them.
This is one time in life when I would personally suggest that you choose carefully, for there are friends that you must value far more than others.