When I was in high school and university, I had lots of friends. These people were important in my life then because they were people I knew and hung out with everyday and had fun with. Knowing lots of people and hanging around them doesn’t mean that I was popular. I was simply just part of a crowd.
As the years have gone by, I have noticed that my “friends” have fallen neatly into 4 different categories (including new people I meet):
#1 – Close friends. These are the few friends that I kept in touch with and feel comfortable speaking to them about my feelings. They are people I can rely on if I need help. A few of my close friends are relatives as well like my cousins. I have friends in this category who live overseas and we don’t see or speak to each other often, but still consider each other close friends.
#2 – Normal friends. These are the friends that I occasionally meet up, call or email with but don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing my heart with. They are friends to hang out with when I want to have a good time. I feel comfortable being myself around these friends.
#3 – Extended friends. These are friends I meet with when someone organizes a big gathering (eg a reunion) or when a friend from group #1 or #2 above attends as well so I tag along. Or they may be work colleagues that I see often but don’t feel like letting down my guard because of the need to act professional. Some of these people are people whom I may not want to say hi to if I saw them on the street and vice versa, so to avoid an awkward conversation. I may have them on Facebook or MSN but by no means talk to more than once a year.
#4 – Acquaintances. These are people who I have newly met or have met many years ago but don’t know well at all. They are the people who if I see them face-to-face, I may just give them a knowing smile. I work at a big organisation within a small industry so many colleagues and work contacts fit into this category.
I used to wonder if there was something lacking in my life when I saw shows like Sex and the City or How I Met Your Mother where a group of close friends hang out a lot. I never had that. My close friends don’t know each other and the funny thing is they probably won’t gel well if they did. I always found it awkward getting a group of friends who don’t know each other together especially if I know that they are very different people and am sure that they won’t get along. I never liked going to my friend’s parties where a whole big group of random people get together and never see each other again. It is so awkward making small talk..etc so I don’t want to do that to my friends.
As I grow older, I feel satisfied that I don’t have lots of friends or one big group of close friends. Just a few quality friends here and there is enough. Do you agree? I would love to have your views. How many best friends do you have?