Tag Archives: surface level

Friendship Growth Cycle

Invisible boundaries; Are there such things? Not the awkward social kind that some people like to poop on, but the invisible limitations on the strength or length of a friendship.

What do you do when you think you have hit one of these limits? Press on? Pull back? What creates the limit? Are they permanent, and based on universal incompatibilities between two people?

A friendship is a relationship of enjoyment and trust between two people, right? Of course right.

If you have a friendship based only in enjoyment of the other persons company/personality, but you don’t share any trust between you, then no kind of intimacy can ever grow. Without any kind of trust and intimacy, the friendship is only going to ever be shallow and on the surface level. You have now reached the current limit of your friendship.

FriendshipCrap - Graph01On this graph I happened to have lying around, you can see the same thing goes for if you have a friendship based solely on trust. You might trust this person completely, but if you don’t actually enjoy being around them, then the friendship is boring.

So here is my dilemma, what if you have a friendship that has a great level of enjoyment which is continuing to grow, however the growth towards trust has stalled.

Maybe a new level of trust was extended, but someone breached that somehow. You pull back for a minute, maybe you’re a little hurt.

FriendshipCrap - Graph02You re-evaluate your friendship… is the level of enjoyment worth pursuing the trust again? How much trust are you willing to put forward?

Are some friendships supposed to not grow beyond a certain level? Who sets the level? Is it subconsciously mutual?

Surely the more trust you share with someone, the more you get to know them, and then the more you enjoy about them? So a friendship should be self perpetuating, it should continue to grow of its own accord, shouldn’t it?

Yes and no. The friendship scale isn’t one dimensional; there are at least 5 graphs that could be charted based only on trust as an example:

  1. Actual Outgoing – (The level of trust I extend towards you.)
  2. Perceived Outgoing – (The level of trust you think I extend towards you.)
  3. Actual Incoming – (The level of trust you actually extend towards me.)
  4. Perceived Incoming – (The level of trust I think you extend towards me.)
  5. The overall level of trust in the relationship. (The other 4 combined and overlayed)

The same goes for the enjoyment, there’s the actual enjoyment for each person, and the perceived enjoyment for each person. I may think that you enjoy my company more then you actually do.

I might be afraid of that. This insecurity will lower my enjoyment of your company, no matter if its true or not. So you see the perceived level of trust and enjoyment plays a big role in the overall friendship.

– – – – – – – –

So although the start of a friendship will grow under its own power, its when it hits some sort of limitation that you have to choose if you will let it stagnate there.

If you’ve reached your current max level of enjoyment of someone, in order to grow the relationship further, you have to choose to purposefully look for things that you enjoy about who the person is, and what they are like.

On a low level of intimacy, maybe its something as shallow as liking their accent.

If your friendship is closer it might be something more personal like the way they tilt their head ever so slightly when they’re confused. Or the sparkle in their eyes when they think of something funny.

If your friendship is lacking trust, what can you do to make yourself more trustworthy? How can you forgive them and safely extend your trust towards them without being naive? Being vulnerable with your heart is a risk, and takes trust… how much of your heart are you willing to risk hurting?

Maybe they are not trust-worthy at that level yet.

That is all.

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