Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tier One

I once read an article in a forgettable magazine, about friendship.
Although the magazine was forgettable, the message in this article (I read it
about 15 years ago), has never left me.
It talked about the "levels" of friendship that women cultivate, and now, as I get
well into my thirties, I'm finally starting to see and experience that.
No, it's not a "people come into your life for a reason/season" type-thing, but more of
a comment on how dynamic, and how, for lack of a better word, malleable friendships
between women are.
I recently had a conversation with a very dear (and long time) friend of mine on the phone.
We were talking about how, at a certain point in your life (usually around 28, 29, 30) you
go one way or the other. One way being the Marriage-and-Children route; the other being the Not-Marriage-and-Children route. It often isn't even a decision you "make" yourself, like choosing what career you want to commit to, or what you're ordering off the wine list. It's
sometimes kind of made for you. You might get lucky, fall in love with a great, committed partner at 22, and that sort of maps out the next few years--you build a life with that person, marry them, and have children with them. Alongside that, you may very well be constructing the early years of your career, and then bam, you're 30. Or the opposite may happen. You may be barrelling along, just as much in search of love and acceptance as the other gal, and guess what? It just doesn't happen. Or it does, it just happens wayyy later than you thought it would.
Your career (which you have plennnttty of time to devote to) benefits hugely. Your personal life...ahh. Not so much. You have wonderful friendships, as do your married counterparts, and for this you're grateful. But you wonder about the great divide. Because whose kidding who? In our socially-structured world, we are expected to reach milestones, especially as women.
The Great Divide ensues.
You're at the point where tiers of friendships begin to emerge.
Tier One is the top point--you talk to them everyday. Or at least every other day. They hear it all, your fears, your successes, your best and worst moments. You can finish each other sentences. You have tonnes in common. You can make spontaneous plans, ie, an hour before, and don't give it a thought. You may have very good highs with these girls, and sometimes severe lows. But you know they are in your life for good.
Tier Two. There are usually, when you have a good friendship base, alot of Tier Twos. They are amazing people, you've usually known them a long time, and no, you're not on a daily phone call; but you may be on a daily email, they connect through other tier twos and can catch up on your news without a conversation, and the internet in all its' email and Facebook glory, can let you get solid glimpses of one another's lives and keep up to date. In short, they are constants.
Tier Three. You may have once been tier one with this friend, and vice versa, but something has changed. Sometimes it's a misunderstanding, or a life changing circumstance, sometimes it is the Marriage and Children thing, and, usually through no ill will or recognizable sudden shift, you're not the person she calls on to have dinner with, and she's the last person you call when you need a serious opinion, because you know she's busy and over-extended. You think of each other fondly, but things have changed.
If you've managed to read this far, you're probably asking yourself, where is this going?
Well, as my friend on the phone proved to me this past week, there are sometimes when the tier system simply does not apply.
There are some people, if you are lucky enough to find them, who just get you. They just do. They always have.
They always will.

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