Monday, April 21, 2008

FRIEND or FIEND??!!!???....

For reasons we can never know, fate brings friend to friend, then leaves the rest to human nature. The results are mixed. While a few special friendships last a lifetime, the vast majority prove easier to leave behind. Some take years to fade away; others end spectacularly. Research shows that the quickest way to end a friendship is betrayal; the second-quickest, a canoe trip. In fact, we have to lose a few friends before we can appreciate their most important gift: the stories we share. In hearing these stories, you may begin to sense a deeper truth, that our friends and friendships are not as unique as we first believed. They’re more like summer movies: the dialogue changes (kind of) but the plots and characters keep recurring. Here’s a catalog of the archetypal friends that over the course of a life you’re likely to encounter again and again. BEWARE of your considered FRIENDS!

The Best Friend: The gold standard of friendships. A best friend listens but never judges, helps you out of a jam, tells it to you straight, and often forgives a debt. Best friends resemble invisible friends in that both are most common in childhood (and may not really exist).

The Old Friend: Ideally, a lifelong bond that stirs fond feelings and cherished memories—unless you’re a celebrity or out on parole. In reality, most old friendships are embedded in a complex economy of favors.

The Wild Friend: The friend whose bad behavior never ceases to entertain and may at times inspire you, for better or for worse. Though wild friends get a bad rap, they save as many lives as they ruin. Boring people—writers, for instance—desperately need wild friends. (lol)

The Ex-Friend: Don’t ask, but if you do, the answer may well involve money or sex. Or both.

The Scary Friend: Someone who never fails to nudge you out of your comfort zone—way out. Scary does not mean quirky. If a friend likes to spend his weekends re-enacting Civil War battles in period dress, that’s quirky. If he shows up at your door in uniform late on a weeknight, that’s scary.

The Boss Friend: A person higher on the org chart who thinks your brittle smile and the startled look in your eye is an invitation to further terrorize you outside the workplace. One reason golf is popular in the business world is that it gives underlings a way to pal around with their superiors and still stay 30 yards apart.

The Train or Bus Friend: A person who apparently shares your unquenchable interest in the weather and the fortunes of the local ball team.

The Confidant: Someone who wheedles more out of you than you planned to share. Sadly, many confidants are also talented gossips who will soon be bartering your deepest secrets for someone else’s.

The Single-Modifier Friend: Any companion you proudly describe, if only to yourself, with one word: for instance, "my gay friend" if you happen to be straight, and vice versa. You can train yourself out of the habit by slowly adding modifiers, as in "my neat gay friend" or, with practice, "my socially inept and secretly homophobic straight friend with a god awfully bad haircut."

The E-mail Friend: A digital update on the kind of letter-writing friendships that thrived in the era between the invention of ink and the arrival of cable. If the medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan claimed, then the message of most e-mail friendships is goofing off at work.

The Special-Interest Friend: Group friendships form around a shared passion—for soccer, French cooking, sky-diving. Special-interest friends often go by nicknames, usually be-cause they don’t know real names or anything else about each other be-yond their common interest. This can create problems. If you run into your softball team’s home run leader in the courthouse, it’s probably not a good idea to shout "Hey, Killer!" You might influence the jury.

The Friend-You-Only-Drink-With Friend: A subspecies of the special-interest friend. In extreme cases you might not even recognize such people in the harsh light of day, having only seen them in the barroom glow—and from the side.

The Treatment Friend: Same as above, but in that harsh light. Like bonds formed at summer camps and religious retreats, treatment friendships may soon dim outside the virtual reality from which they grew.

The Road-Trip Friend: From Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady to Thelma and Louise, the rolling duo is ingrained in American myth. Romantic notions aside, a good road buddy can read a map, is willing to bathe, and has a credit card and a driver’s license—preferably in the same name.

The Secondhand Friend: When someone introduces you to someone else, supposedly because they think you’ll hit it off, it could be a clever strategy to ditch you both. Which is good: Secondhand friends are a better deal than new friends, which, like cars, lose 20 percent of their value once they leave the showroom floor.

The Dormant Friend: Every so often a dead friendship will spring back to life, bringing two people even closer together than they used to be. The reawakened friendship speaks to the mystery of friendship in general—especially if you’ve forgotten why you drifted apart. But give it time; you will be reminded.

The Friend with Benefits: Not the kid down the street with a trampoline or a parrot that swears. So long as someone is gaining something out of you, he’ll/she’ll surely stick around.
The judgmental friend: These are the kinds, those who give their opinion when it’s not asked for and is holier than you. You feel she’s passing judgment on your partner, house, job and decisions. She annoys you because she imposes her values on your life and seems to think that you can’t make a decision yourself.

The dependent friend: These kinds of friends can call you in the middle of the night with a crisis and even rings your mobile on a holiday. You feel responsible for her and often feel your life isn’t your own.

The smug friend: If you have this kind of friend then life’s a constant competition when you’re with her.

The frenemy friend: She’s supposed to be your friend, but sometimes you’re not sure, she won’t come out and say things but she makes dogs that dent your self-esteem.

The moaner friend: No one’s situation is as bad as this friend’s; no one works as hard or has such a stressful love life. She ignores your positive advice and certainly has no time to listen to your woes, they don’t compare.

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