Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Explaining and Understanding Friendship

There are all sorts of people in this world, and the odds are you have to associate with some of them. From the freaks, to the dorks, to the jocks to the senile old man who won't stop pestering you to repent your sins, this mortal plane is certainly full of diversity. I, however, will easily break down most people into 3 groups, because grouping by sexual orientation, skin color, place of birth, or actions are so gosh darn simple!

There are three types of friends: School friends, party friends, and friends. The last, which really should be listed first because of its importance, is the blanket type of pal; the one you can take anywhere. These friends you can end up having classes with, end up going to parties with, or just hanging out with. They are the all-purpose campanion, who in snow, sleet, rain or armaggedon will be there with you (I was warned to repent, so I can't say I wasn't given a heads up). The other friends, though, do not fall under this all-encompassing blanket. Oh no. Not at all.

The School Friend
Description: School friends are people in your classes who you are friendly with, but nothing too solid. While not prevalent in most high schools--at least small ones like mine--where the people you learn with are usually kids you've grown up with and are forced to be your school, party and overall friends. In college, the stakes are drastically different...especially one with 16,000+ undergrads. The school friend is someone who you'll hang around with in class, make jokes with, maybe study together. But that's as far as it goes. When you are outside of your college any ties to that person are immediately tossed aside. Walking to class and they're there? You walk by, and they're excited because they don't want to walk with you, either.

Pros: If they're annoying, you're done with them as soon as the lecture or discussion is over with. One such disposable friend from last year saw me the other day, and the experience was...incorrect. He's the kid that you don't really like, but you met at orientation, so you feel some obligation to be nice (98% of people from orientation you won't even acknowledge once school starts) and talk to them. You find out that this person is annoying, with a terrible sense of humor, and isn't very smart, which makes him a bad choice when it comes to group projects. But, you keep him along because you sorta feel bad. Next year, you see him, and you make an effort to be nice and say hi, start some small conversation, and this fucker blows by you, making it seem like it took too much effort to say hi back. ...THAT'S NOT YOUR JOB, THAT'S MINE! I'm pissed on the "cool" principle alone being ruined, not the fact that he was rude. The positive? I rarely see this fucker, and I'm happy.

Cons: If you like the person, the transition from school friend to all-around friend is a difficult bridge to create, and usually fails. You have to befriend people you can only stand for no more than 3 hours at a time - that's the trick. People you'll life, but get on your nerves, and luckily you won't have to see them anymore until your two classes tomorrow, and thank god for that.

The Party Friend
Description: You're drunk, I'm drunk, we're having a great conversation. Later, I see you on the street and I realize that without copious amounts of alcohol, you're a bore. Uh-oh. It's hard to rekindle the magic you get when you first meet someone when you're both trashed. There is this sort of social lubricant quality to alcohol that makes meeting people new and exciting on its own, let alone someone who is interesting. Once the drinks are done, the party cleaned up, and dude that no one knows who was passed out on the couch has left, this friendship is dead. Until next weekend, and then you're best friends again, saying things like, "this fucking guy...he's fuckin...this dude is fucking crazy man!"

Pros: "They're sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it's better than drinking alone" -Billy Joel, Pianoman. When you drink on your own and don't have fun, well, you should start thinking about attempting something with 12 steps. Drinking with people you don't know is fun, too, because almost none of your actions have any rammifications outside of that party. Nicknames like "weird tall dude" and "guy that freaks me out" are ok because everyone's jovial and who cares if you see that guy or gal ever again! Unless they're the one angry drunk, then it's wise to call them "sir" or "ma'am."

Cons: Paying up at a party when you don't know who's throwing the party, and it turns out it's the person who you're asking "whose house is this, and do you think we have to pay for the beer?" Also, when you meet a kid at a party your frist weekend freshman year and have a 10 minute conversation with, and then realize he's in every one of your classes. This is what I'll refer to as "friend crossing," and crossing a Party and School friend is like mixing vodka and rum - you're gonna end up regretting the whole affair. So I never talked to that kid again. I think he was lonely, but I'm not going to end up vomitting up what tastes like sour OJ just because he doesn't have friends. The bitch.

The Friend
]Description: Buddy, chum, pal, compadre, brother-or-sister-in-arms. Many names, same meaning: someone who will hang out with you when you're sick, watch after you if you vomit everywhere, and will do stupid, potentially dangerous things with (I should write one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul things, I'm touching). They are the ones you turn to when things go terribly wrong and you need guidance, a laugh, or some substance to make you forget. They'll eat with you, see a movie with you, and be ok with the fact that you two men pretty much just went on a common date. The people you care for, the ones you mess when you're away, the ones that know you like few others do. And the one guy that you hate but you're friends with because you always need someone close in relation to you to dislike.

Pros: Spiritual guidance, companionship, help meaningless tasks go over in a somewhat entertaining fashion. They keep you company when you want it, or when you think you don't, but you really do. There are few bad things about friends.

Cons: ...Except for when you want to cut them loose. There is no easy way to stop being friends with the kid who's juuust too annoying, who talks a liiiiittle too much, who criticizes you for tooooo many things. Through the years, I've tried the "don't talk to them for a month" (with girlfriends, too), the "we're going to publicly embarass you and make you feel like you're less than scum...and you can't hang out with us anymore, either" technique, and have fallen victim to, "you're banned from the lunch table, go away." There is no easy way to deal with getting rid of a friend, or being the friend who's rejected. Hopefully, you'll just "drift apart," "go your own sepearte ways," or "grow up at different speeds." Usually, though, it's full of tears, sorrow, and either a horrible break or you just decide it's not fucking worth it so I'll just stick around and bitch to everyone about it. The latter is almost always the solution.

There are other types of friends, of course, but they usually fall into these categories. For example, a School Friend could also be an After-School Group Friend, an Athletic Teammate Friend, or a Marching Band Friend, which isn't a group, and most certainly is NOT a sport. Work Friends I would file under Party Friends, because usually working involves going out afterwards and gettin drunk or high to try and cope with the menial work you all survived. Drama Friends, however, are a group that defies logic, description, and any semblance of reality. Things you would never think you'd do, say, or feel happen when you're locked up with people playing dual roles as you and the person on stage. They are like War Friends, just without the blood, but all the pain. After going through all of this shit, you feel a bond, like you were in the 'nam, just without pot and The Doors.

If you have any sorts of other types of Friends, or stories to share, do so in the lovely comments section - that's what it's there for YA SILLY GEESE!!!


Pam said...

How bout the abnormally tall friend who always drags you to hockey games and makes you play beer pong with him? Oh man, that guy is the WORST.

jenkim said...

In archie speak, the two types of friends are "Non-architecture major friends" and "Archie friends" otherwise known as "The people you work with in studio, eat with, party with, and...work with in studio some more." So it's really a smuch between your three types based off the initial "school friend."

Ryan said...

i know i aint be that orientation chi you spoke of..pshhhh