“In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips”
— Unknown (and rightly so).
Truth be told, I haven’t really had too many friends in life. And worse, I’m very bad at staying in touch with the ones that befriend me. But the little luck that I’ve had in the world of ‘companionship’ has given me quite an indulgent experience of friendship as a concept. While I’ve had some amazing friends over time, I’ve also been blessed enough to have had some intriguing friends — ‘friends’ who’ve always had me second guessing their actions (or inactions). While I have probably not been a ‘good’ friend to anyone, and not even stayed in touch with more than two or three friends at any point in my life, I have been able to put together a rough set of categories into which (most) friends could fit.
P.S. All the characters and incidents represented here are purely fictional, and any resemblance to individuals is purely coincidental.
a. The Keepers
As the name suggests, these are your go-to-partners and soul-connections whom you can count on to be there, no matter what. They don’t judge you, don’t question your actions and don’t care about how big (or small) you become in other facets of your life (your career, for instance). The keepers may not always be there all the time, and may not even know everything about you but they are most likely the very few people you have in your life who can turn a frown upside down by just saying, ‘What’s up boss?’ :)
It’s important to know and appreciate the keepers in one’s life. They’re hard to come by and even harder to lose. We may also take them for granted many a time. It is also possible that this becomes a one way relationship and you may become a keeper for someone who is not a keeper for you. A unique situation to be in, but an interesting one, nonetheless.
b. Action Buddies
There are some friends whom you may not speak to for ages, but more often than naught, they’re the first ones you’d call to go for a bike trip or a trek or just grab breakfast from an old haunt in a city you used to live in. And even when you meet them for the first time after months (or years) of not even having said a ‘hello’, you’ll pick up from wherever you left off last time. It is as if you’d just met them last evening. A couple of hours of laughter, fun & good food, and you’re all set to never see each other again for a few more years!
Action Buddies are such a chilled out blessing to have in life. The ‘no strings attached’, friendly version of Friends with Benefits.
c. Cold Coffee Partners
Okay, so there is a set of friends with whom you may not have any relatable connection whatsoever. They could be gym buddies with whom you used to discuss fitness. Or they could be random acquaintances you started hanging out with at work, enjoying a good conversation, making light of each other’s stressful experiences and just sharing a cup of cold coffee together, every now and then. These friends are similar to ‘Action Buddies’ but without the deeper personal connect. ‘Cold Coffee Partners’ are great to be with, for those short spells of time, when you don’t want the baggage of a lasting friendship but still want to get some weight off your chest. And who doesn’t like a good old glass of cold coffee, every now and then?
d. A friend (always) in need
Ever received a sudden text or call from a really old ‘acquaintance’ asking you about how you’re doing, how your family is and if everything was well with you? I’ve always been really weary of such situations. The egoist inside me knows that the only ‘humane’ thing to do is to swipe & archive the text or ignore the call. But the ‘human’ inside me is a hopeful soul. Always believing in the deep-rooted goodness of people around him. He replies, and invariably the next topic normally hovers around helping refer the ‘friend’s friend’ for a job or lend some money or check if they can get a discount for whatever your company sells. (That’s why it might be a good idea to work in B2B).
It’s fine though, many of us are in a position to help and lend a hand. It is always good to be able to do good, get in that good karma and keep life moving in a direction that is more positive than it was yesterday. At the same time, it is also important to be careful, take care of oneself and know where to draw lines, even with ‘friends’.
e. La famille
Families come in all shapes and sizes. So do family friends. It’s always a blessing if you have some good friends within your family. You already know enough about each other’s background, there’s nothing much to hide (or hide from) and there is an inherent obligation to be nice to each other. Friends in the family can be a great support across various domains of life. They can also turn out to be your coach or cheerleader or mentor, depending on the stage of life you’re at and the stage of life they’re at.
The one thing to ensure is to never become overbearing on family friends, and let them have their space, and also to maintain your space around them.
While this brief summary does cover the types of friends I’ve encountered, it’d be a good idea to remember that the best kinds of friendships are the ones that come without any baggage, make you feel happy inside and give you a sense of security for when things don’t go as you’d planned them to.