He characterized these four types as follows:
Must friend: a best friend, a member of your inner circle, a person you count on when something big happens in your life
Trust friend: a friend who shows integrity, someone you feel comfortable with, that you’re always glad to see, but not in your innermost circle; perhaps someone you’d like to be closer to, if you had the time or opportunity
Rust friend: a person you’ve known for a long, long time; you’re probably not going to get any closer to that person, unless something changes, but a part of your life
Just friends: a person you see — at book club, at your child’s school — who is enjoyable company, but you have no desire to socialize outside a specific context or to get to know that person better.
When I read this list I was able to immediately identify at least one person in my life for each category. Then I wondered how I might be categorized by people I know.
I’m not always a big fan of putting people into generalized “boxes,” but I do find it interesting and entertaining to see how people can be described. I don’t take it too seriously, but rather allow my friends to move closer and then not so close depending on how busy we all are. It’s sort of like reading and applying horoscopes…fun but not to be used for hardcore evaluation.
*Geoffrey Greif is the author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships.
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