Different stages of friendships

Stages of friendship

There is no plan; they just show up in your life one day. They drift in on the East Wind, or through a new work schedule. You play volleyball on the same team, or attend the same drawing class. And before you know it, these once new faces become dear friends. It’s the different stages of friendships.

But then that day arrives, and we feel an emptiness. After years of partying, talking, traveling and consoling, we see that the tree just isn’t blossoming anymore. In a study that included more than a thousand Dutch participants, sociologists in Utrecht discovered that over a time period of seven years, approximately half of our friends disappear from our social network. These are mainly people we met at work, at parties or on holiday, and when we change jobs or when the summer is over, we can literally lose track of them.

But other friendships seem to fade away without our being able to understand why, without knowing for sure if we want them to. Without our feeling okay about it. De Haas, a philosophical consultant and the author of Vriendschap: Een tweede ik (“Friendship: A Second Me”) says investigating that nagging feeling you can have about a friendship is a perfect chance to get to know yourself better. “There is almost no better place for gathering self-knowledge than in the mirror of a friend,” she says. “By mirror, I mean that you sometimes can see your friend do certain things or say certain things that you wouldn’t do or say. That can give you some food for thought about your own thoughts. Which values do I have in life? Because the other person is different than you are, and by experiencing that difference, you can become aware of your own qualities.”

  • You can read the complete story ‘Is this friendship still okay’ in Issue 13.

Text Peggy van der Lee Photography ©Taylor Ann Wright/Unsplash