When you are navigating a new season, you need a Person, besides your spouse, to share your time with. Who, and how, will you choose?
Who are your friends?
Your friends know. You have just gone through the worst experience of your life. Your mind is reeling. Your emotions are numb. Life as you once knew it will never be the same. You. Can’t. Even.
Which friend stepped up? Tried to help but didn’t quite have the words? Who brought you meals? Or took you away from it all? Who surprised you? Who made you feel…worse?
Different Seasons, Different Types of Friends
In Friendships Don’t Just Happen: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends by Shasta Nelson, she discusses different types of friends. We have to have all of them, and we have to be all of them.
Contact Friends: These are the moms we see at the pick up line at school. With most of them, we share limited vulnerability, and limited consistency.
Common Friends: At times in the pick up line, we make an effort to see a certain mom and chat daily, so we then become Common Friends by increasing our consistency. Or we could become Common Friends by escaping after drop-off for coffee and conversation, which increases our consistency and vulnerability level.
Confirmed Friends: We all have this friend. She is the one who we may not see for months or years; yet, when we get together it’s like no time has passed. The conversation picks up right where it left off. We experience high intimacy, and low consistency.
Community Friends: When you show up once a week at a small group, a play date, an art class, and the same people are there, you experience increased consistency and more vulnerability is possible. This makes you Community Friends. We often have them at work, but not every co-worker is a Community Friend.
Committed Friends: These are the friends you wouldn’t do life without. We are lucky in a lifetime to have a handful of these friends. We experience the highest vulnerability and the highest consistency with our Committed Friends.
In the good times, all of these friends rejoice with you.
What about the bad times?
In the bad times, we don’t expect the Contact Friends or Common Friends to be there for us. If we do, most likely, we will be disappointed. In fact, it should surprise us when they are.
When Contact and Common Friends move closer in consistency and become more vulnerable, they may move to the next circle.
Confirmed Friends would be there if they are geographically able. There is a reason you don’t see them often and geography is usually one of the reasons.
Community Friends will cover for you at work. They will be there to make sure you are okay. Some will pray and deliver meals.
Committed Friends are the ones we expect to be there when the going gets tough. To ugly cry with us, or at least hide their shock when we do. They will drop what they are doing to be with us. They are our “person.”
Let’s answer the questions at the beginning of the story:
Which friend stepped up? Your Community and Committed Friends.
Tried to help but didn’t quite have the words? Your Common Friend – she’s still getting to know you.
Who brought you meals? Your Community Friends. Food is the fastest, easiest way to help.
Or took you away from it all? Your Confirmed Friend. They show up at the best times!
Who surprised you? Your Contact or Common Friend, because she cared enough to show up at all–because she hardly knows you!
Who made you feel worse? The Community or Committed Friends who ignored you and your situation.
It’s pretty important to keep growing friendships so there will always be someone to share your joys and get you through bad seasons, especially as we age. I want to challenge you to determine which of your friends is in each of Shasta’s circles. Reach out to someone new this week–someone who is a Contact Friend that might be fun to hang out with–and ask them out for coffee, a drink, or a hike.