Depth vs. duration of friendships

Josh Sherman
2 min read

This was supposed to be one of those grossly introspective posts that was originally drafted while at that “perfect” level of inebriation (somewhere on the down slope of Ballmer Peak if I had to guess ;) Well, simply put, fuck that noise, let’s talk about friendships!

This post had actually been sitting around as a draft for a bit of time and my interest in the topic was renewed after happening upon this post titled “10 Types of Odd Friendships You’re Probably Part Of”. I definitely have some of those friends, sadly, more than I’d like to admit.

There were two big takeaways for me. First, the concept of a “historical” friend. I have made mention to the wife on a few occasions that she has some friends like this. Now we have a name for it! Second, the graph that accompanied the article was just spot on for me in all aspects both positive and negative. The “not healthy, not enjoyable” quadrant in particular sums up the type of friend I’m about to describe.

For me, there is another type of friend that I didn’t feel was covered by the article (although it does have some aspects of the “non-question-asking” friend). This is the type of friend that you have known for a while (albeit not necessarily a historial friend) that feels they know a lot more about you than they actually do. The depth of the friendship is merely topical and for the most part, I have not let the person too far past the foyer of my psyche.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a relationship with someone that isn’t as deep and emotional as you may have with someone else. That’s just how the different levels of friendship work. Where this becomes a problem is when the person feels that your friendship goes deeper than it actually does. It’s the social equivalent of telling someone that wants to get intimate with you that you only like them as a friend.

Perhaps that’s just how those types of friends should be addressed. “I think it’s really great that you think we have this really deep thing going on here but in all honesty, I only like you as an acquaintance”. I generally shoot from the hip but that’s rough even for me. Actually it’s not, I’ve said some pretty shitty things to people that I know I am simply not compatible with.

So what to do with a friend like this? For the most part the level of interaction ends up being at a minimal just because neither party makes much of an effort because deep down, I think we both know our friendship is a chore at best. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to make some excellent friendships as an adult and have grown to realize that the depth of relationships is not simply implied based on the duration of said relationship.

Perhaps next year I’ll revisit all that introspective nonsense, Happy New Year!

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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