when it comes to friends, i think that i have three levels of friendship status.
the first level is pretty easy to get into. it’s the acquaintence-level friendship. these are people who i may know by name, but not really know too much about. most people i meet generally tend to fall into this level of friendship pretty quickly if i get a good vibe from them. it’s the launching point to the other levels of friendship. because of the broad nature of this level, most people i know probably fall into this sphere of influence.
the second level is what i what start to consider as my good friends. these are people who i can depend on and who i go out of the way to be nice to. these are also probably my “everyday” friends…that is, these are the people who i probably talk to on an almost everyday basis. these are people who have the potential to be in the inner circle of friends who i hold very dear to my heart.
but the last level, the inner circle, is the most interesting group of friends that i have. these are the people who i trust implicitly. these are the people who i would do anything for and these are the people who i go to when i am in need. it’s a very small, select group of people who i feel i can trust. entry into this part of my life is heavily guarded.
i’m a pretty private person. when it comes to some of the more important things in my life, it becomes more difficult for me to share these things with people. it wasn’t always like this…no, i used to be quite a trusting person, confiding in others when i needed advice or help, but over the years i’ve been burned many times by people who i thought i could trust and this has forced me to reevaluate who i can trust.
trust comes in many forms. how one obtains this trust also can come in a variety of ways. some will gain my trust when they have trusted me. it seems a little unfair that other people would then have to expose themselves to gain my confidence, but that’s one sure fire way that i feel i can guarantee that this person is trustworthy.
some of the people who are in my inner circle were trusted after years of knowing them and as we got to know each other it became easy for me to trust them because i know the kind of person that they are and i know that they would never betray my trust.
others still fall into my inner circle because of some kind of history that we have. maybe we both went through some hard times together, maybe we dated and are still friends, maybe one of us was interested in the other and while we played the dating game and realized that we weren’t a good match we realized that we were great friends. who knows what the circumstances are, but they can all lead to having that bond of trust.
there are some people in my life who have bounced from level to level. some have gotten as far as the inner level only to fall down and out into obscurity. some have always stayed at the first level of friendship and will never really make it any further. someone told me once that i have unreasonably high expectations for my friends. it made me think about how true that statement is and whether or not i was expecting too much of my friends.
generally speaking, expectations can lead to dangerously bad situations, but i think that part of the responsibility of being in the inner circle of friends is that you respect the other person and you take them into consideration before you act in a manner that may affect them. for example, if i were to tell a friend about something i’ve been struggling with and it was something hard for me to talk about, i would expect them not to tell everyone else in the world because i may not be able to talk to other people about it. or perhaps i just needed to rant to other people about someone…and after ranting i feel better and it isn’t much of an issue anymore. it would then aggravate the situation if a friend tells the person who i was ranting about what i had said because i was already over it but now i have to relive the whole ugly situation.
so, yes, i do hold a high bar for those who i feel are my closest friends. i guess that’s the burden that they bear if they become that close to me. for me, i don’t feel that it is so much a burden as it is just a courtesy to just take the other person’s feelings into account. i mean, they’re a dear friend of mine, isn’t that just a given?