For Kim, who helped me discover and test this theory, and who gracefully and quickly moved through the friendship hierarchy…landing herself one of a few spots in my “BFF” category.
My mom taught me that friends are fiercely loyal, 100% supportive no matter the circumstance, and would go to the ends of the earth for me. And while these are undeniable characteristics of close friendships, they are not the distinguishing attributes of *all* friendships.
I spent 22 years constantly evaluating all of my friends to make sure they measured up to my standards (most didn’t). In those 22 years I told off, reamed out, and cut off many friends whom I would later apologize to (or wish that I hadn’t been so abrasive, abrupt, and judgmental towards). I felt let down and miserable…
If only someone had said this to me,
“We don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change” — Paul Coelho
One day I put it into perspective and developed the Friendship Hierarchy – which seems pretty “I’m a 14 year old middle school girl trying to be popular” but might be one of my most brilliant philosophies to date (at least Kim thinks so). Instead of forcing all of my acquaintances and friends to become “best friends” I slowed down and valued each relationship as it was. I stopped trying to accelerate everyone into the coveted BFF category. I released the insanely impossible demands I placed on every person in my life. And I felt an immense sense of relief.