The Three Tiers Of Friendship

Like I have said previously, romantic relationships are important, but friendships matter too. However, friendships are a little more complicated. Of course there’s a bit of a grey area when you first start seeing someone, but once you’re together it’s pretty much black and white. With friendships, there are all shades of grey. A friend can mean anything from seeing each other every day and being Godmother to each other’s children, to hanging out at a party once every few months.

A couple of weeks ago, I was with one of my friends on the bus, we got talking about the different levels of friendship, and managed to break it down into three tiers. They say you should never make someone a priority when you’re only an option, I’m one of those people who has a tendency to do everything for everyone which has resulted in me being used and abused. I’ve had to learn to reign it in over the years, and I think a categorisation system is a good way of doing that.

So here are the three tiers of friendship.

three tiers of friendship

Tier I – The Best Friends

Your BFFs. Your besties. Your baes. Perhaps it’s someone you’ve known since childhood, of perhaps it’s someone you’ve met recently and just clicked. But either way, your best friends are your life blood. If a new development happens with your crush, you HAVE to message them and tell them ALL THE DETAILS. If you get dumped, they’re the people you cry to. If someone hurts them, they’re cancelled. They’re the people you laugh with, have deep meaningful conversations with, and fume about the people who wrong you with. If you got married they’d be a bridesmaid or a groomsman, and if you don’t have any same-gender siblings you’d pick one of them to be the maid of honour or best man.

The term may sound a bit primary school, but I think best friends are important no matter what your age particularly if you’re single. Some of the times in my life when I’ve felt the loneliest were when I had a lot of party friends and went out 3 times a week, but didn’t have a best friend. While my social life was very active, none of those people really cared about me or would fight my corner when I needed it, so it all felt very hollow. Parties and nights out are great, but none of that can beat spending time with someone you really connect with and would help you out if you needed it.

Tier II – The Good Friends

When the discussion that led to the making of this post began, I thought there were only two types of friends. But then I had a think, and there’s definitely a level in between. The Good Friends. Or perhaps just the Friends. The people who aren’t quite a best friend, but there’s more to your friendship than just going to the same parties. Perhaps they’re part of your main group of friends, or maybe just someone cool you’ve met through work or hobbies. You go for dinner or drinks from time to time, but not bi-weekly. They’re the people you have a good chat on your life happenings, but you don’t tell them everything. If you got married they might not make bridesmaid or groomsman status, but they would definitely be invited.

Your good friends arguably make up the core of your social circle. If you’re organising a night out, having people over, or celebrating a big event, they’d make up the bulk of the attendees. These people are great because they add variety and fun into your life without the pressure of having to be the one who sorts out their life dramas. In addition to one of 2 BFFs, I also have a handful of good friends who, while we may not agree on everything, will generally come along if I’m having people over and vice versa, and we enjoy each others’ company.

Tier III – The Party Friends

And finally, the party friends. These are the people who you aren’t besties with, but if you had a party you’d invite them. The people who are part of your friendship group, but you’re not especially close with. The work colleagues you get on with, but don’t really see outside work. The bloggers who you hang around with if they’re at the same event, but you don’t meet up one on one. They’re the people who weave in and out of your memories, you have fun with, who add the spice of variety into your life, but you don’t have regular one-on-ones with. If you got married, you’d probably invite them to the afterparty but not the main meal.

Some would argue that you just need a few close friends but that’s it. I disagree. Of course close friends are the best, but party friends have their place too. When I’ve gone through phases in my life where I’ve had a few close friends but not a wider group, putting a social life together was a right ballache. I’d be reliant on one or two people for nights out, and they would often flake or not want to come, and I’d end up stuck at home. For my 21st birthday, I ended up going out with two close friends and one of their boyfriends, which was fine, but it would have been a lot more fun with a large group. When it comes to friends, I reckon the more the merrier, and not everyone has to be your BFF.

The Bin

I used to think relationships come and go but friendship lasts forever, but the truth is that friendship can be transient too. If you have an issue with someone the best thing to do is speak to them about it and try and sort it out, but sometimes, there’s no place for someone in your life other than the bin. The people who make plans with you then just don’t turn up on the day. The people who you get to the point with where you’re the one making 99% of the effort and they clearly don’t give a shit. The people who are downright vile to you with no remorse. And the people who aren’t necessarily nasty to you, but have shown themselves to be a bully and you don’t want to endorse that kind of behaviour. In the past I’ve clung on when trashy behaviour has started rearing it’s head and desperately tried to get back the friendship we once had, but as I’ve got older I’ve learnt to set boundaries, and now chuck bad friends right where they belong: in the bin.

What’s your social circle like? Do you feel there are three tiers of friendship? Let me know in the comments!

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9 Comments

  1. July 13, 2018 / 6:21 pm

    i think you summed it up perfectly.

    too many of us keep on trying to be friends with people, who we should have jettisoned years earlier.

    • aliceeriley
      July 17, 2018 / 8:03 pm

      Story of my life.

  2. Zara
    July 13, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    There is a saying that ‘friends are either for a season, a reason or for life.’ Sometimes people think that people are in their lives for a short period for a lesson. I find letting go of people who have moved on very hard, as it’s like a form of rejection. When I was at uni a girl I was friends with, it seemed like I really had to work for it, but she was always late or cancelled plans. It’s also weird being friends with someone at uni and then when I work with them, they are not so close.

    • aliceeriley
      July 17, 2018 / 8:03 pm

      I find it hard to let go of friends too as it means something to me if I’ve had a history with someone. I’ve had friends like that in the past but as I’ve got older I lose patience and I’m not really interested in one-sided friendships!

  3. July 14, 2018 / 8:57 am

    What a great post. I completely agree with your point about best friends being so important when you’re single; the loneliness often doesn’t come from not having a partner, but rather not having the intimacy with someone you’re really close to. Also, people often say you don’t need loads of casual friends, but precisely for the reasons you’ve mentioned like people flaking, you can’t always rely on your very close friends because things pop up and plans do get cancelled, so having a larger group of friendly friends is still important. Really enjoying reading your blogs – keep writing!

    • aliceeriley
      July 17, 2018 / 8:01 pm

      Totally agree- the times I’ve felt loneliest being single were when I didn’t have any close friends! And yeah people can be flaky so it’s good to have more people you can invite to things so you aren’t to reliant on 1 or 2 people.

  4. July 15, 2018 / 10:43 am

    Friendships can be hard to maintain especially in big cities with busy lives.
    I’m glad you wrote this though 😀

    • July 17, 2018 / 7:58 pm

      Yes sometimes in a city you can technically live in the same place but still live an hour away from each other!

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