Friday, December 23, 2016

Friends vs. Acquaintances

Friends vs. acquaintances..........what's the difference?  I taught middle school for 19 years, and students seem to lump everyone they get along with in the "friend" category.  Then, they are perplexed when said friend stabs them in the back.  I have tried to teach them the difference between the two.

I have 1 friend...yes, 1.  Everyone else is lumped into " acquaintances." (My dad is my friend, but he is my dad, so I don't really call him a friend.)  Let me explain my reasoning.

A friend is someone you share life with--either in person or from afar.  A friend is someone who genuinely cares what you are doing and going through.   Let that sink in.  It's someone you know you can call and talk to, and she or he will be glad to hear from you and glad to listen.  A friend is also a confidante.  You know you can tell her/him anything, and it won't be divulged to anyone else.

I have written about my bff here:  While she doesn't know everything, she knows more than anyone else in my life.  If you read that other blog post, you get a sense of how loyal she is.  Yesterday, she totally shocked me....and I am NOT easy to surprise.  She showed up at my door at work bearing a McDonald's pumpkin spice latte (She knows that obsession!), a cupcake recipe book, and a Calgon take me away kit.  And a card....the card that made me cry.  Anyway, she knew I was feeling low yesterday morning, so she surprised me all the way from Sun City, where she lives in Bluffton.  We really rarely see each other; I had not seen her since August, but we talk daily, sometimes multiple times a day.

A friend doesn't have to be physically present, but she/he has to care.  That's why I lump everyone else into the "acquaintance" category.  I don't waste my time or anyone else's telling them my challenges or frustrations/problems because I know they really don't care when we get down to it. People are selfish and preoccupied with themselves.  It's not a cut against them; "it is what it is," as it says on a sign a former student gave my bff several years ago when she gave me the "Teachers touch one life at a time" sign (Thanks CH!). I also categorize acquaintances 

Middle school students seem to feel like they need a lot of "friends."  I could never relate to that because when I was their age, I was a loner; I'm still an introvert.  I'd rather than one genuine friend than a hundred would-be friends who are "fair weather" friends or back stabbers.