Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fostering Friendships

This week I have said goodbye to a new friend as she stops being a work colleague and we begin a life long friendship!

Throughout our lives we meet all sorts of people with whom we come in contact. We may see these people for only one day, or perhaps two, may be even a month one year or could be a lifetime, but each and every individual forms part of our lives and we have different relationships with all of them. I categorise these in three buckets:

·      Everyday fillers – those who you know as part of your everyday life
·      Essential Relationships – these you need to function every day
·      Long Life Friendships – rear and add meaning to your life

Everyday fillers

These individuals are those you don’t care much but they are part of your life – in other words you deal with them as part of your transactional everyday life. They may be customers, neighbours, work colleagues or people you come in contact with during your day; you are polite to them and they are polite to you back. They make little contribution to your live or have no effect or impact on us, they are there as part of our routine, but will not miss them when they are gone. You may see these individuals for one day or a lifetime, but you never forester that relationship and never moves form a greeting or chitchat to anything meaningful.

Essential Relationships

Then we have those who we interact more and build a relationship with and become essential for us to function. Those may again be customers, work colleagues, schoolmates, or simply someone we see on a regular bases in social circumstances (a bar, a club or at the occasional dinner party). We may share things in common; our children go to the same school, we visit the same church or live in the same area. We probably care a little bit more about these individuals than the everyday fillers and, unlike the fillers; they have an impact in our lives. This is usually as a result of us choosing to build a long-term relationship (we worked together for a long time or have lived in the same street for years) we have clicked with them and have form an alliance that makes us feel comfortable with them.

With this people, while we are with them we enjoy their company, due to the more in-depth relationship their behaviour affects us (we slightly care about what they think or do) but at the end of the day when they are gone we would probably not miss them and may never see them again, unless circumstances brings us together in the future in which case you are pleased to see them. But you wouldn’t go out of your way to keep in touch. Social media has widen the scope to stay in touch with people so perhaps we will continue to communicate with them but this essential relationships become everyday fillers, we don’t really care and we just scroll pass their posts on Facebook unless we want to bitch about their new job, friends, houses or holidays.

Long Life Friendships

These are those we care about, and have a massive impact in our lives. These people are generally those we have chosen to be part of our lives. This group are instrumental to our day-to-day life, long term plans and in general they are part of who we are. We enjoy their company and respect them for who they are; we care about their opinion and we value their input. These individuals may not be in our lives every day, but they are present and always there. Everything about them matters and distance or time has no effect on how we feel about them, they have a special place in our lives.  We, and they, have chosen to build a long life relationship and will forester that relationship for the rest of our lives.

And fostering relationships starts as everyday filler, moving to an essential relationship before you become a long life friend!

Many of the people I consider important in my life started as everyday fillers, becoming essential relationships and gradually I cared enough to continue having them in my life. They moved from someone I knew to someone I liked to someone I care about. And I may only see once these individuals in a blue moon, but having them as part of my life makes a difference and I work hard to continue fostering those friendships for a lifetime.

I am grateful for all the people I know and have met in my life, whether they are everyday fillers, essential relationships or long life friends, I think being able to have people around you is important to keep us going and remain sane. Foster each of those relationships individually and how you want them to affect your life, they will make you who you are and bring that richness in your everyday life.

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