Monday, 29 June 2015

Hierarchy in male friendships: A treatise

Hello cretins. Google analytics tells me you guys didn't miss me, and that's just fine because I didn't miss you either. Either way, I present to you, a treatise about male friendships.

So what is friendship? It's a relationship of mutual affection between two people, an interpersonal bond. Male friendships are instrumental in nature, we share activities (not feelings!) and we don't always feel like staying in touch and don't always manage to stay in touch but things don't change drastically. Things remain pretty much the same.

Male friendships are of many types and depths. From that random guy who challenged you to a game of FIFA and with whom you proceeded to play four hours of video games to the guy you call your best-friend, we meet so many people and form different types of bonds.

Here's how I'd like to break them down for you - 

The 'Look and Nod'
This is somebody you know, but don't really know. On most days you see this guy, though you might know his name and he doesn't know yours, or vice-versa. The extent of the bond is a quick look and nod. These are the guys who bump into you during your daily schedule.
You don't know these people, but technically you see them more frequently than you see close friends or family, which does bequeath them with some life relevance, no matter how random.

The 'Hey, how've you been, bro?'
However feigned the interest in the question may be, the fact that either party demonstrates the keenness to even ask that question is in itself a stepping stone above the 'look and nod'. Oh, and the use of the term 'bro' also helps the cause.
At first, this kind of relationship is kept for the sole purpose of not coming off like an asshole to the other, not genuine interest.
It should be noted though that this kind of friendship - a pretty surface level one - doesn't limit what sort of content is available for discussion. For example, there was a guy in the mess who always came up with deep comments like, "Life's going to start now, bro" in reference to how life changes after college and I listened to him, while we hardly knew each other.

The 'Let's do this together'
I'd argue that 'Let's do this together' is the implicit kickstart to an actual friendship. Once this line is dropped, it's been established that the potential for friendship exists on both parties and hanging out may actually happen. 
This in a sense is a transitional phase in any friendship. One either falls back to the 'How've you been, bro' or takes it to the next one.

'He's my guy'
After the 'Let's do this together', there lies an opportunity for parties to take it to the next level and strengthen the newly formed friendship. 
You actually have fun talking about career, women, football and other random shit and tell each other you should do it again.
Congratulations, you've made a new friend.

Close circle
This sacred circle consists of an ensemble of friends you can kind of count on to support you, just as much you can to have them make fun of you and most probably invade your personal space unapologetically.
Life can be pretty shitty and lonely without this genre of friends.

Bonus: The best friend
He's the one who stands out in your close circle.
I've noticed something very mysterious and odd happening to guys and their best friends at a certain point - which is, they're no longer actual best friends. They might still employ this title and use it to describe each other (which is definitely justified and understandable), but their actual time spent together wouldn't evoke best friend quality.
It shares a resemblance to how a lot of people feel around certain relatives and exes. The weight of history, memories and arguments has the propensity to make the relationship less enjoyable and a bit uncomfortable.
In sum, the highest level of friendship is the best friend who isn't actually your best friend.

That's all I've got for you this time.
Leave a comment, even if you don't want to say anything. They just make me happy.

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