Over the years, I have developed a working theory. Friendships come in three distinctive categories. I will call these categories “tiers,” More specifically, it looks like an upside-down triangle. All three tiers are essential to a certain extent. The first two are crucial to a well-rounded person. These add to or take away a person’s mental, physical, and social well-being.
Tier-three friends are the most common and the most uncomplicated friendships to form. These friends are referred to as “aquatints,” which I believe is incorrect. Acquaintances would be the fourth level if there were four, but in my mind, three is the correct number. Tier three are friends you work with, live close to (like a neighbor), or meet because of a tier two friend. These friends come and go due to life and work changes. If they were to call you, it would pertain to a specific need related to the connections, like work. Tier-three friends could appear to others as tier two, but when life changes, so do these friends.
Tier-two friends are the ones that do not come along too often, but when they do, you know it. Connections are made with little effort. It could be a common goal, sport, lifestyle, belief, or any combination. These friends could be close or far away, but when you can meet up, you make all efforts to accommodate. I have a group I ride bikes with every week. This connection supersedes all social levels. These individuals off the bike are all different, but on the bike, we are all the same. If one of them were to call or text me to meet up for a beer, I would go at the drop of a hat. If they needed me to help them move, build something, or work on their car, I would drop everything and help. Tier-two friends are the best! You can go months without seeing them, but when you do, you pick up exactly where you left off as if nothing had changed. They know everything about you and a few things you wish they did not :-). Tier two friends are the glue that keeps you going when time gets tough. I guarantee these friends have seen you ugly cry more than once. I do not have many tier two friends, but I would hate to lose the ones I have.
Tier one friends are the toughest to find, and most people may never find one. I will call this friend a soul mate. These friends know more about you than you even know. They have been with you from the beginning and have seen you grow into who you are. They have picked you and your tier-two friends up at places when you could not pick yourself up. They are your biggest advocates and critics. They only have one goal, for you to succeed. My tier one friend/soul mate has been with me for 36 years, 27 years as my wife. She has seen me at my worst and supported me at my best. You may not have this friendship level yet, but I believe everyone will at least once in their life.
Amber has been in all three levels of my frendship tier theory, but I am happy she is still my tier one/soul mate.
Your friend in education and parenting,
Douglas Greek EdD