What’s that title you ask? Oh, it’s just the broken heart necklace that my friend and I had in the 6th grade. (We weren’t really Best Friends, but it made us both feel belonged.) I always wanted the one that said “ST ENDS,” because that was my sense of humor…even at 13.
This is a graph of eight types of friendships (based on Liz Spencer and Ray Pahl’s research and book). I love a lot of things, graphs and research are two of them; both can lie and be misused, but I usually love them anyways. It’s one of the things I hold to deeply, that truth or false, everything offers something to take away, something with which to enrich your life. I’m not sure if this chart or these definitions are accurate or conclusive, but I know I appreciated stumbling across this a few weeks ago.
The eight types are:
- Associates were people who only shared a common activity, like a hobby or a sport.
- Useful contacts were people who shared information and advice, typically related to work or advancing ones career.
- Favor friends were people who helped each other out in a functional manner, but not in an emotional manner.
- Fun friends were people who socialized together, but only for fun. They didn’t provide each other with a deep level of emotional support.
- Helpmates were a combination of favor friends and fun friends. They socialized together and helped each other out in a functional manner.
- Comforters were like helpmates, but they also provided emotional support.
- Confidants disclosed personal information to each other, enjoyed each other’s company, but weren’t always in a position to offer practical help, for example if they lived far away.
- Soulmates displayed all of the elements.
Three things that hit me while I was processing this information. First, it would save time and energy if we knew where we stood with other people on this chart. Second, soulmates could potentially be a platonic friendship; there’s no need for that term to be intrinsically tied to romance; which is a step up from my college days in which I had a ‘soulmate list’ instead of crushes. Third, my life is full of a lot of soulmates, and perhaps that is why I’m so happy in my friendships at the moment.
It was this last realization that has really stuck with me. Mostly because I’m a fairly private person, slow to make friends and to let people into my inner circle. I knew some of my best friends for years before I actually considered what we had a friendship. I’m at a rare point in my life, in which I need more than one hand to count the deep friendships I have.
I probably have more soulmates and confidants on this chart than I do any of the single-category friends. This is likely to do with my personality (INFJ, if you’re a Myers-Briggs fan), I just simply don’t see what is valuable in sharing part of myself with someone who only meets a shallow need, or to whom I can only serve one function.
Now knowing this about myself, I am perplexed. It definitely shines a light to why for the first time in my life, I feel somewhat dependent on the people around me, why sometimes alone time isn’t enough (it always was before) and the idea of leaving my life here is intimidating, though still tempting. I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently thinking about sharing my journey with someone and sharing in with someone’s journey. I suppose I’m perplexed because don’t I have that now? with the people I love the most? with the friend soulmates and confidants?
It’s overwhelming to realize that even though you’d prefer to be guarded and closed off to most of the world that a few good people have medled their way into providing for those emotional needs and wants that everyone has; overwhelming and awesome.
I am one of those people who truly believe that everything in my life has happened for a reason, and everything had to happen the way it did or I wouldn’t have ended up as me. I’m overcome with gratitude that somehow I got to have some really great friends that really care about me, and who I honestly care about too. I’m not sure what lead my life on a path to interact with those handfuls of soulmates and confidants, but I am so glad it did.
So to all my soulmates and confidants, this is a digital broken heart necklace to symbolize our friendship. I’d even give you the “ST ENDS” part, I like you that much.