10 Types of friendships-for-convenience

I don't know whether to laugh or cry about having come up with 10 types of friendships-for-convenience. As soon as the friendship is no longer convenient, it ceases to exist. These friends only know you when they need you.

1. Contextual Friendship
We encounter people in various parts of our lives, e.g. when we were studying in a particular school, working in a particular place or part of organizations such as religious groups. We spend a large part of our time in school and at work so it's normal for people to make friends with others whom they come into contact with.

Some of them are friends because it is helpful for them to be friends to help them pursue their own interests, e.g. sharing homework, doing one another favours at work.

I might have gone through difficult times with these friends but once the context no longer exists, e.g. we graduate from school or change jobs, friends start to drift apart and most don't bother to keep in touch. I have tried to ask some of my friends out but they always say they are busy and don't ever bother to ever ask me out.

I do remember our shared experiences and the things that they have done to help me. But as much as I would like to fondly hold on to those memories, I need to acknowledge that those times are long over. I am no longer of use to them.

2. Activity Friendship
Some things are more fun or safer when done with friends, e.g. diving, travelling, rock climbing, sex, etc. People get together because of common interests.

Don't mistake such friends for your real friends. Of course, some of them could turn out to be real friends but most of them are only there for the fun of it. Once they or you lose the interest in the activity or you become physically disabled, you won't be friends any more.

3. Boost-My-Ego Friendship
Such friends enjoy being with you as long as what you say, do or possess helps to boost their ego. They either enjoy bragging to you about how knowledgeable or good-looking they are, how much money they make, their sexual conquests, their latest expensive purchases, etc; or they keep quiet and relish the fact that your partner isn't as good-looking as theirs, your handphone is of an older model, you are not carry a designer bag, etc. They will be your friends as long as they can feel they are better off than you.

4. Naggy Friendship
Some people enjoy being nagged at and scolded in the same way some guys enjoy being henpecked. It takes 2 hands to clap so of course there people who are like hens around to peck their friends.

5. Backup Friendship
Let's face it: most people don't want to be alone. There are people who would rather be with someone whom they detest rather than to be alone. When someone better comes along, they'll drop you like a hot potato.

6. Foot-the-Bill Friendship
These friends like being with you because you're willing to buy them a free meal or a KTV session. They are always the last to take out their wallets. They pretend to have the intention to pay. I'm surprised to know some people who would always foot the bill for such friends. I hope they know that once their money is gone, so are their friends.

7. Gossiping Friendship
For the latest scope of the day, hang out with these friends. If you're in the mood for gossiping, join in. They pretend to be concerned about you but they are just kaypoh. Don't expect them to keep your matters confidential. They would even twist your words to sensationalize matters. It's only fun while you're in the group. If you offend any of them, watch out.

8. Complainer-ship
These friends are constantly complaining to you about something. They would never do anything to improve the situation. Sometimes these people form a group of complainers in which everyone just complains endlessly. However, there are others who want you to lend them a listening ear but when you are upset, they would just tell you to cheer up, not to "think too much", to eat chocolate or to go masturbate.

9. Damsels in Distress
There's always some drama, sob story or emergency in their lives. You are expected to help and be understanding towards them. They have the right to be moody and get angry with you because they are in distress and don't mean all the horrible things that they said to you. If you need help, they won't help you - because they have another emergency to attend to. The damsels are better left to be saved by the knights in shiny armour.

10. Goby and the Shrimp
Ever had people telling you that they are the friend of somebody important or famous? Such people are the shrimps. They will agree with everything that their friend says and even do the dirty work for their Goby friends.

[From Wikipedia: Some goby species live in symbiosis with burrowing shrimps. The shrimp maintains a burrow in the sand in which both the shrimp and the goby fish live. The shrimp has poor eyesight compared to the goby, but if it sees or feels the goby suddenly swim into the burrow, it will follow. The goby and shrimp keep in contact with each other, the shrimp using its antennae, and the goby flicking the shrimp with its tail when alarmed. These gobies are thus sometimes known as watchmen or prawn gobies. Each party gains from this relationship: the shrimp gets a warning of approaching danger, and the goby gets a safe home and a place to lay its eggs in.]

I question myself as to whether I have been a good friend myself. There are times when I said inappropriate things and distanced myself from others because I had tough decisions to make, when I had no energy to do anything else but work and handle things which I regarded as priorities during those times. I believe my real friends will cut me some slack.

I do cut people alot of slack if they are facing difficulties in the work and relationships but there is a limit to it before I start feeling like a disposable object and I need to cut them off.

I'm still hopeful about forging new friendships with people. I allow myself to be pleasantly surprised when people whom I don't know very well eventually become my true friends; and allow myself to be unpleasantly surprised when the people whom I regard as friends treat me like dirt.


David said...


You are an interesting series of related posts. The condition of your friends, thoughts about true vs temporary (fake - hanger on types)friends, and now types of friendship.

The idea to keep in mind, and this has been expressed in different words, is that true friendship usually does not develop quickly. You noticed the sometimes the unexpected friendship develops with someone you did not expect anything from.

This a key concept. Real friends, life long friends do not expect anything out of a friendship. They do not define themselves by counting how many friends one have, whether they have approval for what they wear, who they associate with or where they live or even vastly different opinions.

Expect less, look less hard, and take the time to consider people who you initially do not consider attractive, but somehow are often nearby.

One thing people detect, is whether you like yourself. Are you really happy with yourself? If you are generally satisfied with you life and life path, this will be expressed in your behaviors, speech, email, and here.

One cannot fake happiness with self. Look at friends with constant problems. Many seek to blame everything around them for thier personal failures that they cause.

You appear to a young women who takes responsiblity for your own life.

If your public persona as most of us glean by reading what you post here, (face it, being on opposite sides of the world make our meeting in person completly unlikely.)
then you are a happy person most days.

Consider that even people who like themselves, and are happy do have bad days. However such individuals acknowledge they cannot control what others say or do.

I look forward to your thoughts as they develop on this topic. Which BTW is important, as your attitude and beliefs on this are part of you for life.

Best wishes in your life journey!


Anonymous said...

well said David.....

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,
I like David's insight on this subject. I presume that David lives in the USA where, generally speaking, the members of his social grouping have experienced little hardship or prolonged trauma like war or starvation, or a dog-eat-dog society like Singapore.
Here, we must compete very agressively to survive. In such an atmosphere, there is very little incentive for members of our society to behave graciously. If you try to be nice or gracious towards others, you can be certain, very certain, someone is considering an oppotunity to make a meal out of you!
My experience has taught me to notice whether a person has basic courtesy and humility; like thanking the cleaning staff who clear dirty dishes from his/her table at a canteen/cafe/restaurant. After you get to know such a person better (David is absolutely spot on - it takes time to find a friend), you would find that he/she would have valuable qualities such as; not critical of others, can be relied upon, does not crave the latest materialistic gaget, etc. Learn from such a person - they are very rare; and we are frankly not that great as a friend too!
Be patient when cultivating friendship - trust is never earned overnight.
I learned from one friend, forgiveness is a pre-requisite of a true friend - nobody's perfect.
A materialistic society is usually a very ugly one. Behind the facade of the country club membership, BMW, designer clothes is usually a neurotic, insecured, and hopelessly unreliable 'friend'.
Avoid them at all cost.

Yu-Kym said...

Anon, I agree with your statement "we are frankly not that great as a friend too!"
And also agree with having patience and forgiveness. Sometimes I'm the one who seeks forgiveness.