Monday, October 15, 2012

Is there a difference between a friend and an acquaintance?

What is the difference between a friend and an acquaintance? Is there a difference? What about a best friend, what criteria determines who obtains the status or title of a best friend, bestie, or BFF? Often times many categorize people they associate themselves with as friends, when the reality is most are just acquaintances. I am guilty of this myself, when I’m asked, “Where are you going?” I generally respond that I’m going out with friends, even though I know the vast majority of those who will be in attendance are acquaintances.

During an interpersonal communications class the differences were defined as how close one allows a person into their personal life. It was described as having a castle where each person has a different amount of security. Some have the water around the castle, varying in distance from their castle, while others have nothing but the outer wall. Some of us keep our gates down welcoming in everyone, while others keep their gates secured and limit access.

I know for me I have a large water gap between my castle and keep the main gate closed, with walls that cannot be breached. And this is just the outer perimeter; the inside is like a computer with mass firewalls; each one allowing only a fraction of information to be disclosed. It takes a long time for me to trust and let people into the core of my castle so to speak. I learned most people create these barriers based on circumstances and situations that have happened to them over the years. I can say that is the case with me, often when my guard was down was when I was hurt by those who I thought were ones I could trust.

As time goes by the barriers or firewalls so to speak may become less intense, I know for me even though I still have a maximum amount of security; it is not as intense as it used to be. Letting people into our personal areas of our life makes one vulnerable, and no one is comfortable with that. But sometimes the risk needs to be taken, otherwise opportunities for relationships may be missed. This is something I am continuously learning and trying to get better at and encourage anyone struggling with this to take baby steps like me to slowly breakdown the barriers created over time.

Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

“Be polite to all, but intimate with few.” – Thomas Jefferson

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