Friends!? How Many of Us Have Them?

Tools: journal, a few names, and an open heart

We often hear the terminology of “friends” used loosely. We have Facebook “friends,” LinkedIn “connections,” and Instagram “followers.” But, what do the categories mean? Quickly jot down the names of three to five people you see as “friends.” As you go through this list, see where they fit. Where do you fit with others?

Acquaintances: you don’t know me… but may be worth my time. These people are in your networking holding pen. If you ever see them again, they may be bumped up to an associate. For now, they are in LinkedIn limbo.

Associates: you know the ones, you just smile and wave. These are the people that help decrease anxiety in a networking function.They show up at the same events that you do, they have similar jobs, similar goals (you think), and they are pleasant enough. They are the Chit-Chat champions.

Partners: game time? Great! Potluck? Sure. Moving? You betcha…but only for 3 hours. These people are recognized by their willingness to rub shoulders with you at the BYOB canvas event or the fundraiser for work that ends with you both passing out left over wine. Consider them Potluck Partners (Bonus: if you would actually eat their food).

Conspirators: you are united under a certain cause. If you were a superhero, these are the people on the mission with you. They get the goals and are down for the cause. You are probably in a private Facebook group with them related to one cause, scheme, or travel aspiration. They may be your Fist- Raising Friends or your Protest Posse. They get ish done!

Friends: takes a while to cultivate an actual friend. To get this label their have been at least 3 tests:

  • Morning: could you call this person’s ridiculously early without them cussing you out with complete sincerity?
  • Afternoon: if you needed them to pick up your sick child, hit the streets to find a lost dog or help you get to the emergency room, would they be there?
  • Midnight: sick, drunk, or otherwise needy, do they pick up when you call? Do they tell you about how early they have to get up in the morning or do they let you know they just poured some tea and are ready to hear the whole story? Cup ready!

Best friends: if you have one keep them, nurture them and occasionally ply them with good food or wine or a spa trip. These are the people who keep you honest and have seen all sides of you-good, bad, ugly, and fabulous. They push you to greatness and pull you through hard times. This is not a category, as much as a lifestyle. Most best-friendships last longer than relationships.


Enemies: they don’t like you, don’t root for you, and can’t wait for you to fall. They sabotage your success. They sometimes pose as friends. They will never be truly around when you need support. Watch carefully, they probably develop a pronounced facial tic if they say something pleasant to you.

Frenemies: these are the people who check in on you. They call. They ask sweet questions about the health of your mom or love life. Then they insert a word or three about what a great meeting they had or where they will be traveling next or who is buying their company out next week. They didn’t really call to check in, they called to check out your progress and let you know they are doing better than you. You’re welcome.

Crabs in a bucket: you know the metaphor. “They don’t want you to be great!” These folks pull you down and keep you there. You’ll find that every time you were making progress, they were there when things started to go downhill. Losing weight…”Hey, let’s go to the buffet. Get our money’s worth.” Just met your saving goal…”Hey, lend me $5,000 so I can get this new car.” They may also invite you to places that you have to pay for…every single time. They need a babysitter every weekend, but can’t ever babysit. Find some scissors, and cut them out of your life right now.

Check your circle and check yourself.

You may not be living up to the title you think you deserve.

Tag a real friend and your chief conspirator below. Let us help you setup your executive board for your next challenge. Join us in the journey of finding your REAL 8.

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