Kinds of Friendship

By Andreas N. Bjørndal

There are dif­fer­ent lev­els and kinds of friend­ship. I would like to share a few ob­ser­va­tions from life and clin­i­cal prac­tice. I have also or­ga­nized them ac­cord­ing to ar­che­typ­i­cal qual­i­ties.

Friends since child­hood

Have you no­ticed those long-time friends that peo­ple have known since kinder­garten or pre­lim­i­nary school? They are like broth­ers and sis­ters, they just be­long to your life. They linger and sur­vive de­spite long breaks or liv­ing in dif­fer­ent coun­tries for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. When they re­unite the deep child­hood roots con­nect them in a way sim­i­lar to a brother or sis­ter you had not seen for years.

From the out­side peo­ple can re­ally won­der how these two can re­late at all, they seem so dif­fer­ent, and most likely if they met for the first time to­day, they would not en­gage in a friend­ship.

These friends feel like com­ing back to the house they grew up in, the home of their child­hood. They rep­re­sent home, child­hood, and un­con­di­tional ac­cep­tance.

Pro and cons:

These are re­li­able friends and al­ways there, but they might rep­re­sent a re­gres­sion to the past more than stim­u­lat­ing fur­ther de­vel­op­ment. The best about them is that they rep­re­sent child­hood and home in a way that gives you peace and rest of mind.

The ex­plorer friend

Some friends spend their time to­gether jog­ging, bik­ing, climb­ing moun­tains, or watch­ing foot­ball or other sports. They might go to a club or pub, or spend a week­end in a cot­tage. It seems to be a fac­tor of rest­less­ness that needs ac­tiv­ity in these friend­ships. These mates are sim­i­lar to the child­hood friend but are of­ten peo­ple you meet in sec­ondary school, col­lege, or at work. These re­la­tions are of­ten based on a com­mon in­ter­est, ac­tiv­ity, or sub­ject. They can spend hours dis­cussing the scores and dates of their sub­ject. It is like they are on the go walk­ing about in na­ture or in their minds shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences or facts.

Pro and cons:

These friends keep you young and ac­tive but it might be su­per­fi­cial or lim­ited to a small area of life. They can chal­lenge a re­la­tion­ship in the sense that some tend to at­tend more to their mates than their part­ners. Like child­hood friends, these re­la­tions can last through­out life.

The party friend

The party or din­ner friends are peo­ple you hardly meet ex­cept for spe­cial oc­ca­sions, spe­cific days of the year, like birth­days, new years, na­tional days and sim­i­lar. These friend­ships seem col­ored by the party mode. It is all about nice food, fancy clothes, per­fume, jew­elry, etc. The party friend is al­most al­ways en­joyed with your part­ner, boy- or girl­friend, while the ex­plorer friend of­ten com­petes with the time spent with your part­ner.

Pro and cons

Of­ten these re­la­tions are so much about nice­ness and hav­ing a good time that they do not en­dure much dis­agree­ment or chal­lenges, but they nur­ture you with love and care. They also serve to en­rich your re­la­tion­ship with nice friends and dou­ble dates.

Men and women

Men seem to tend more to­wards the ex­plorer friend mode and women more to­wards the party friend mode when they gather with their guys or girls friends.

The “want to be like” friend

Some peo­ple are peo­ple you re­gard as role mod­els as some­body that has knowl­edge, com­pe­ten­cies, or per­sonal qual­i­ties you would like to have or cul­ti­vate your­self. If this is mu­tual it can give a very nour­ish­ing, stim­u­lat­ing, in­spir­ing, and sup­port­ive re­la­tion­ship on equal terms and of long-stand­ing.

Pros and cons

When there is an im­bal­ance in the re­la­tion­ship one needs to be ad­mired, ap­proved, the cen­ter of at­ten­tion, while the other will al­ways be in the shadow di­rectly or in­di­rectly. One might end up as a wannabe the other the boss of the re­la­tion. You ei­ther use your friend to shine more or you are in the shadow of your fa­mous ad­mired friend. Hav­ing a nar­cis­sist in your life is sim­i­lar to al­ways be­ing in the shadow.

The en­emy friend

Some re­la­tions are full of quar­rels and con­flict, but de­spite the war, they are bonded to­gether and the friend­ship is re­ac­ti­vated again and again. These re­la­tions are like roller­coast­ers. It can be amongst sib­lings, it can be seen in cer­tain cou­ples that break up again and again, but find back due to a strong at­trac­tion. These are cou­ple that starts to quar­rel dur­ing love­mak­ing or start to make love dur­ing a quar­rel. These peo­ple en­joy quar­rel­ing to­gether at the least ex­cuse.

Pros and cons

The good thing about these re­la­tion­ships is that they can make you strong, in­de­pen­dent, and self-as­sertive. They can let the steam out. On the other side, they might be very drain­ing and ex­haust you com­pletely.

The group friend

For some peo­ple, the group they be­long to is their best friend. They do not have many per­sonal friends if any and they might be very en­gaged in a sports team, a re­li­gious or spir­i­tual group that is cov­er­ing most of the needs of a friend­ship. They share meals, songs, rit­u­als, ac­tiv­i­ties some of these peo­ple are hardly ever alone and spend most of their life with the group they be­long to.

Pros and cons

For some peo­ple, this is what saves them from be­ing lonely, and friend­less. It might be an es­cape from self-re­al­iza­tion or learn­ing to be­come self-as­sertive. For oth­ers, this helps them tran­scend the lim­i­ta­tions of the in­di­vid­ual and go up into a higher and big­ger holon. Singing in a group or other group ac­tiv­i­ties can lift you up and in­spire you in a unique way.

Child-par­ent friend

There are some re­la­tions where it seems like one part takes the role of a par­ent and the other stays like a child. The par­ent has the an­swers, takes de­ci­sions, and comes with sug­ges­tions and reg­u­la­tions, and rules. The child is de­pen­dent and needs sup­port and guid­ance.

Pros and cons

The child part of the re­la­tions might never grow up or might get the sup­port and time needed to grow up. That might end up chal­leng­ing the re­la­tion. The grown-up part of the re­la­tion­ship might need to get in touch with their own needs and in­ner child and might learn more about these as­pects of life from the child part of the re­la­tion, but they might also end up with a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Holon, unity and wholeness, holonistic knowledge, self-development, spirituality, nature and mysticism as the way to truth

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