Should friends be put into boxes?

January 3, 2022

My husband (it feels weird to write the word!) believes in a certain form of social categorization. Not because he judges people based on their social status, wealth, or education, but merely because he believes it helps to avoid disappointment.

I’ve previously written a post where I talk about how I have circles of friends – check out the article here. The inner circle being my most intimate, relied-on friends, with the outer circle dedicated for the more social acquaintances that I tend to have a drink with once in a while.

My husband’s box theory isn’t very much different. The friendship box theory – or so I have coined it as such – believes that all friendships and relationships are formed when two individuals need something from one another, whether that be love, acceptance, someone to hang with on Saturday evenings, or maybe even just someone who knows all the good restaurants in town. The friendship box theory goes even further in saying that all of your friends should be put into a specific box based on their purpose in your life. 

For example, some of my friends may be the type of friends always up for a good time and love to discover new places. My friendship with them fulfills my need to socialize and discover hot spots. However, should I be going through something difficult in my life, they may not be the best people to talk to, not because they don’t care, but because my relationship with them doesn’t fulfill that purpose.

Okay, I know you may be rolling your eyes at me right now. However, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Why do we put so much pressure on our friends to fulfill all of our needs and be there for us in good and bad times? Yes, a handful (or less) may be those all-or-nothing type of friends, but we shouldn’t expect this from everyone or we will end up extremely disappointed very often.

I’ll be honest. I was extremely disappointed by some friends and family members in the last year. Because I hadn’t put them into a box. I expected them to treat me with the same love, affection and care as I always had. I had this all-or-nothing mentality and that led me to being immensely disappointed when they didn’t show up for me as I had expected. Had I categorized them into the appropriate boxes, I would have realized they wouldn’t be there for me in the way I expected them to, because that’s not what our friendship was all about. Not because they don’t care, or because they are self-centric, but because their box was for something else. In the end, that doesn’t make them bad people, and it doesn’t make me anything less for believing that the scope of our friendship was much grander. 

Before you jump on me, take a moment to seriously think about it. 

After some introspection, tell me, what do you think of this friendship theory? 

3 thoughts on “Should friends be put into boxes?”

  • I honestly think we should embrace not calling everyone a friend if they haven’t earned that place. Someone who I go out with but, cannot rely on when I need help isn’t a friend. This is an acquaintance or someone that I go out with. I think the friendship theory places to much emphasis on friendship when that is not what it actually truly is.

  • I think it is so true. Like friends with kids and without kids….some friends without kids have empathy for parents but others don’t. I am not saying they are wrong because they don’t know how it is like to be a parent.
    Others friends open up about theirs live and are good listeners as well and others are only for having fun and we ended up labelling their as friends

    • Exactly! No one individual can fulfill all our friendship needs. Each friend is special for what they bring to our lives.

Leave a Reply