One-way street or two-way? Nowadays, it’s easy to misconstrue the idea of friendship. We have social media, which has a way of blurring the lines between friends and acquaintances. So let’s start with what is a friend? A friend is someone that you’ve chosen to let into your life. They are people that you care about and vice versa. You share common interests, support each other, and talk regularly.
But, an acquaintance can be anyone from your colleague at work to the person who sits next to you in class. You might not know much about them or even like them for that matter, but there’s some form of connection there, whether it be through a location or mutual friends.
When we think of friendship, we assume that it means a relationship between two people who share mutual feelings and shared interests. While this may be true to some extent, there is more to friendships than meets the eye. This can be seen when looking at different relationships, such as friends vs. acquaintances. In today’s day and age, a friend isn’t considered someone who knows your personal life or secrets; instead, they’re an acquaintance with whom you have conversations on social media platforms like Facebook. Yet no matter what platform you use for interacting with other individuals (social media sites/apps), one thing remains constant: always remember that connections online or offline, for that matter, aren’t permanent- people come and go.
Nowadays, there are many ways to make friends. You can find friends through social media sites/apps, school, work, or by doing boring stuff like going out and meeting new people.
Many different friendships can be formed between individuals, depending on their social circles/groups or who they know in real life through work, school, etc. These relationships may start as strong bonds with both parties regularly interacting by sharing memories, experiences, and supporting each other. Still, things change over time where some will pull away from others due to busy lives or not having enough commonalities. There are no hard feelings when this happens because these are natural changes.
I see there are four types of friendships:
Close Friends- this is a special kind of friendship that comes with a higher level of commitment, trust, and emotional intimacy than the usual ones you have from your social circle or group of friends. You can expect them to be there for you when needed the most, even if it’s not convenient for them. They would go out of their way to help you somehow make things better. When close friends share the good news, each person listens & takes an active interest in what’s going on regardless of whether it’s big or small because everyone wants to know how someone else is doing anyway!
Casual Friends- these are friends you can call on when needed but don’t usually spend time with outside of what is convenient for both parties involved (e.g., meeting up at a mutual friend’s place). They can range from acquaintances to people you know very well. Still, there isn’t much emotional intimacy between the two, and it’s based on doing things together because it’s fun/enjoyable or they have something in common that interests them.
Strong Enemies- individuals who are not friends whatsoever and never will be no matter how hard either party may try to make amends. The relationship is filled with negative emotions such as resentment, anger & bitterness. Often one person is hurt by the other, and it isn’t easy to move on.
Neutral- these are individuals who you’re indifferent about or don’t care enough about to form an opinion or feeling. You may say hi and goodbye, but that’s as far as it goes because there’s nothing else that attracts you to them, which is why they fade into the background over time.
I get it; I do. Sometimes we don’t want to give something without expecting something back. Our interactions are based on a delicate balance between giving and taking. And although many people would like to believe that they give and give and do not take — this isn’t accurate. There is always some taking involved. That’s the way life works. We need to be careful not to let this interfere with our relationships and distort them to become unhealthy for the parties involved.
When most people think about friendships, they think about the two-way street type of friendship where both individuals give and take from one another. This is considered the ideal type of friendship because it allows for mutual growth and support. Yet, a one-way street friendship can not only be satisfying, but it’s the best kind of all.
Why do I say that one-way street friendships are the best kind? I say that because I’m referring to the type of person you want to be. Meaning, do you want to act as a friend even if the other person doesn’t? Or are you the kind of person that isn’t a good friend unless it’s reciprocated?
We’ve been taught that friendship has to be a two-way street. And that is correct for certain expectations to be met. But when you focus not on what you will get or gain from the relationship but instead on the kind of person you want to be. Then the only thing needed is a one-way street, yours.
We are lost in the world of wanting to meet our expectations. We are taking, taking, and taking. It’s not bad per se, but if we all continue to act this way, we are headed to a catastrophe.
We can give without expectations when we let go of our need to get our way and decide to uphold our ideal self over materialistic obsessions. And it’s not entirely without expectations. We may let go of expectations being met in the material world. We certainly have expectations to be completed in our inner world, but the beauty of that is that those conditions can be fulfilled without input from someone else.
And that’s the beauty of friendship. Contrary to popular belief, the best friendships are a one-way street. They are harder to maintain, but it’s worth more than all those two-way streets combined. It makes us better friends and, more importantly, kinder people. What do you think?
This article was first published on Medium.com.