Like all other relationships, stronger friendship too develops with the passage of time. If you are always around people who don’t make you feel over-conscious or let you down, you will likely develop a unique friendship bond with them over time. However, all friendships essentially grow or pass through six stages. These stages of friendship depend upon the level of comfort that settles in between you and your friend. They also essentially depend upon your communicational and emotional development; thus, they are dependent on age as well. The friendship stages in middle childhood, for instance, will be different from those in your early teens and so on.
What exactly a friendship centers around
The pivotal point for a friendship is chemistry. Like romantic relationships, friendship also needs to be between two compatible, sensible individuals who empathize and lift each other. They are sure to bring out a light-hearted, more comfortable mutual vibe.
On average, there are six main stages of friendship, from acquaintance to best friends.
What Friendship Means in actual
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”–Walter Winchell
Friendship is described as a close association between two people of mutual feelings and understanding. This is the bookish knowledge that we possess on friendship, but can we even define friendship between us? George Herbert Mead, an American philosopher in social psychology, proposes the theory of symbolic interactionism. His theory suggests that we behave towards things based on the understandings we possess of them. But, how do these understandings develop? Moreover, if understandings of things, situations, and phenomena are based on individual experience, does friendship mean the same thing for all of us? I think true friendship is above all these questions. Rather, friendship is understanding, friendship is support, and friendship is a good time; friendship is not generic. It is a close kinship that brews out of a cherished interaction between two individuals. It is rightly said:
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”-Amy Poehler
Pre-requisites for a close friendship
It’s no secret that we choose the people we want to keep in our lives. These choices are based on our interactions with them. Friendships hold up due to distinct factors specific to each friendship based on past experiences and personalities. However, there are a few pre-requisites for a strong emotional and mental connection with a person that we may call a close or a true friend. These are fundamentals:
Throughout the different stages of friendship, these factors that keep developing themselves side by side are meant to make your friendship closer and stronger. These developments of mutual feelings allow your friendship to flourish into cherishing memories.
What are the Stages of Friendship?
On average, there are six main stages of friendship, from acquaintance to best friends. The stages of friendship develop like any other romantic relationship. It starts from stimulating conversations, and eventually, an understanding of another person builds up. You will know each other’s likes and dislikes and know what you need to do to have a good time together.
However, one of the most significant differences between a romantic relationship and a friendship is that labels don’t always matter for a friendship. Here are the main stages of friendship:
Acquaintance: one of the very basic stages of friendship
These are the kinds of friends you don’t know very well; you might have met once at a friend’s birthday party but nothing more. You might have had a pleasant generic conversation and might wave each other a hi or hello when you’re passing by.
This is the stage of a friendship where there is practically no emotional connection involved. They are someone you know but won’t necessarily go out to dinner with just yet.
People who enjoy each other’s companies might often push to take their friendship a little further. You might invite each other out, talk or text on chat. During this stage of the friendship, it is wise to keep your expectations from the other person in check.
Mentor: an intermediate stage of friendship
This isn’t necessarily a typical friendship stage. However, it is somewhat more than an acquaintance and somewhat less than a friend. You might associate the term mentor with a teacher or an older sibling. However, this isn’t always the case. This is the communication stage between two individuals when they start to know each other and share their experiences and knowledge.
You have started to interact with someone in the office from a completely different department and maybe even on a higher corporate status. They will undoubtedly tell you about their departmental environment and official duties, and there might be something that you can learn from. This is when they have established a mentor relationship with you.
“He was a dear friend, a true mentor, and the epitome of a gentleman.”-Julie Andrews
The most common of stages of friendship: a friend
We all have more friends than any we realize. There may be a friend in our siblings, friends in our classmates, and friends in the street. We all have someone we can call a friend. And by our definition, a friend is someone you can have a good laugh with or someone who can confide in. Not everyone will have the same kind of friendship with you, and there is an absolute beauty to that fact.
You tend to create a particular bond with each and everyone you meet. What’s even better about friendships is that they are unique and continuously flowing. They evolve through time as we change. So, the same childhood friend with whom you once enjoyed eating popsicles with and playing video games is now someone you sit around to have an intellectual conversation with.
Internet Friend: a good pastime like stage of friendship
This is the kind of friendship that sustains primarily on an online platform. You met someone passing by and decided to exchange numbers or your account IDs on different social media platforms. You might chat every now and then or like each other’s pictures, etc. An internet friendship can hardly ever replace actual friendship.
One of the vital stages of friendship is a good friend
A good friend is someone you would love to hang out with, specially on Saturday nights and Sundays and who knows enough about your life. They are someone who have probably been around you for a while and probably is not just compatible to a satisfying degree but also understands and trusts you too. It takes years before you can become good friends with them for some people while for others, it takes a few conversations to hit it off!
Best Friend: the loveliest of all the stages of friendship
Among all the friends that you might have, there always has to be that one person that you think about whenever you are too happy or too sad. This is the person who doesn’t just know you best but has also been through ups and downs with you. This kind of friend is rare, and it often takes a certain amount of trust and understanding to build this kind of friendship.
“Things are never really quite as hard when you’ve got a best friend.”-Bill Waterson
How to make new friends
Making friends isn’t a skill that a selected few of us are gifted with. It is rather more like a social necessity for the communicational nature of our needs. Being social animals, no matter what stages of friendship we are in, it is essential that we sustain a certain level of communication with other people. It helps us grow emotionally and mentally. It is no secret that some of us are better at it than others. Some might have several friends and a few best friends as well. Others might struggle to make friends at all. Here are skills that may help you with making better friends.
To make new friends or keep along your existing relationships, you must maintain good communication with all. Communication is vital and effective communication is the way to move forth and enhance your love.
Without an ounce of empathy, it is doubtful that you’ll be able to keep much of any of your close relationships with people. You must empathize with them and understand the people around you to make sure that you are offering a right shoulder or a helping hand in need. This may also mean even to offer a meaningful laugh or joyful moment to them.
When you exchange a few awkward “ HIs ” and make small talk, that first conversation is the phase that requires the most courage. This is the phase that causes many people to drop out and instead stay in their comfort zones. It takes a level of courage to walk out of your shoes and approach someone.
Well, a person might have many friends in life and believe me majority of them might not be there just for you. But, out of the bucket, if you are lucky enough you might be able to pick one or two friends who are really sincere and true to you. And among them you will find your best friend in life. But for that you should most certainly know what is actually a friend?
- A friend is some who is sitting with you without any reason and doing nothing but still you are satisfied just by his or her presence.
- Friend is someone that whenever you and your friends’ interest clashes, he or she would without any hesitation decide to leave their interest and join yours.
- A friend is someone who is already ready to do that is rightfully better for you.
- He is someone who will always be ready to give away his life for you.
- Friend is someone who will always give you a chance to do good for yourself.
- A friend is someone about whom you will always know if they are hiding something in their hearts.
No matter what kind of friends you have and what stages of friendships you have with your friends, make sure that you allow yourself a healthy interaction with people. Secluding yourself completely is never the answer to any amount of discomfort or fear you may be in.