Friends vs. Acquaintances

So as I was leaving the gym the other day, looking for my gym in the parking deck (how I forgot where I parked it at just a few hours earlier, I can't explain), I was approached by this mid 20s female and was like aren't you Chris' friend. She then jogged my memory and reminded me that we had met at a dinner party a couple months ago and then went into 20 questions about how Chris was doing. I had to stop her because, while me and Chris are cool we were only acquaintances and have only hung out a few times.

So I had lunch last week with two of the few black people that work in my building and the topic of friendships came up. After listening to their stories... I asked a simple question that made everyone go quiet for a few minutes. Are these people we are discussing friends or acquaintances?

I must say that I tend to use the word very loosely... but I know and recognize the real meaning. And for me there are three levels of friendship: Friend, Confidant, and Acquaintance. Now an acquaintance is someone you hang out with from time to time. They are often confused with friends cause you are often seen out and about together. A confidant is a step up from an acquaintance, not only do you hang out with this person but you actually share more of yourself, your secrets, and your aspirations with this person. And of course a friend is the top tier of friendship. For me a friend has no restrictions on the length of time that you know them, but it is more about not only knowing me and my secrets, not only being someone I enjoy hanging out with, but also it is about being someone you can depend on and whose opinion I seek out and trust. For me a friend compliments what I lack and not only sees what I need before I ask, but offers to help me meet that need.

I have had very few friends in my life time. Some confidants. And endless number of acquaintances. Here in Atlanta... I only have two friends (there were 3 but such is life). There is my girl, Tracee, that I have known since freshman year at Auburn and Damian, who I have known since my first summer living in DC. I have a couple confidants (with Larry being my favorite LOL).

I know you have read throughout the two years this blog has been around about a few people I have hung out with that are no longer around... those were acquaintances and for me those are the ones you often either outgrow quickly or your time together just seems to dwindle for other reasons in life. While I usually enjoy the company of the acquaintances when they are gone there is usually no heartache or missing. It is one of those situations where you enjoy it while it lasts and move on afterwards. Now friends are the only ones I truly have ever miss, I think you share so much of yourselves it is like loosing a part of yourself when they are gone. But I guess you take what you can learn from that person and your experiences together and let that make you a better person and eventually move on.

So what are you a friend or an acquaintance?

13 comments:

colinnyc said...

damnit im a friend... LOL

Cocoa Rican said...

I agree... I only have a handful of REAL friends. Unfortunately, I tend to be so entrenched in my acquaintances lives (advice, trusted ear, supportive, etc.) that they tend to think that I am a very close friend and accordingly, expect more from me. It's hard because as assertive and "aggressive" as I've been called, I am very aware of folks feelings and don't feel the need to break-them-back to let them know they don't mean as much. I think sometimes we may UNDERestimate what we mean to folks and that can be just as bad as overestimating. It's a testament to how we make people feel when we find we mean so much to them.

Anonymous said...

i agree with u and cocoa... some people think they are more important than what they really are.

Mr. Jones said...

I'm VERY guarded with the word friend and admonish everyone to do the same. Not every acquaintance earns friendship status in my book. Honestly, I'm not opposed to reevaluating people's friendship status and demoting them back to acquaintanceship if deemed necessary.

I apologize if that sounds pretentious at all, but I really believe very strongly in appropriately labeling people in my life.

In times of need most of the people we think are our friends will show that they are simply people we encounter on a daily basis. Often times friendships are masked by relationships of convenience.

dancehard said...

Wow, you hit it with this topic. I'm at a point in my life where I'm seriously evaluating several relationships in my life. I had to learn the hard way that you can't trust everybody with your soul, and the few people that do honor and nurture your body, mind, and soul (your TRUE friends) should be CHERISHED, and PROTECTED.

True friends affirm who you are at the core. A true friend knows you fundamentally and will check you if you start trippin. A true friend is deeply invested and entrenched in your life because they've worked hard on it and you want them there. A true friend would never take advantage of your weaknesses and shortcomings because their purpose is to strengthen and restore you. Hmm.....

Thanks for conjuring up a few thoughts....love the blog BTW!

KennonPurdy said...

I hear you bro....I've learned not call anyone friend until the relationship is tested!

El Alexander said...

WOW! I love this topic just because an acquaintance called me today and told me about her church service and how the preacher spoke about friends and acquaintances and how you should only have a few true friends in your life meaning no more than 3 and with your friends you should be able to have something in common and they should bring something into your life just as you would their life. So it made me think about how many people I do call friend and how they really don't bring anything in my life, so in saying that I need to sit back and look at who I have around me and what do they really mean to me in my life are they helping or hurting me? So as I take out my pen and paper, make my list I notice that I have more acquaintances then I do friends ummmmmmmmm makes me think!!!!! LOL.....

Darius T. Williams said...

I love this post because I use a level system. I know...sounds confusing but it's not. What's hilarious is when people think they're on the highest level of friendship - but aren't. I'm like...hey, I just know you and we rarely speak to each other...no phone calls, no hanging out, no anything...sorry, that's not my definition of a friend.

THE PISCEAN said...

Great post man.

I have three friend. I can honestly say that we have been through a lot together. The friendships have been tested and every time we all have passed the test. We laugh, cry, rejoice,fight and curse each other out. In the end we have each others back, we love each other and there is a bond that no once can break.

Frank León Roberts said...

Where does "Fuck Buddy" fall on this list?

ReddMann said...

Frank our relationship is not a part of this discussion. And should remain private... now shutitup!

Anonymous said...

Most people realize that the word friend is used too loosely. We just often don't know where we fall. LOL.


Uh ... can I join you and Frank?!

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