Tier 1

July 23, 2008

At a party last night, I was introduced as an “old friend”. I could tell that the person who I was being introduced to was looking for a less nebulous frame of reference but I liked how no more context was needed. It was sufficient for him to know that the friendship had stood the test of time and moved beyond its functional description. I wasn’t a classmate or a colleague or in the same cell group. I am defined by the strength of our friendship and not its context. No further explanation required.

I know I’ve been blessed far beyond I deserve in friend department and so this got me thinking a couple of ongoing conversations I’ve been having about friendship. In particular about Tier 1 friends. The people you can stand enough to hang around. The ones who can stand you long enough to hang around. The ones who you worry irrationally about when they travel.  The ones you picture at your wedding (before you can even begin to fathom the groom!).  The ones who will be godparents to your children.  The ones whose parents you will visit at Chinese New Year.  The ones who bring out a side of you few people do – the playful, childlike side; the crazy, neurotic, ranty side; the vulnerable, heartbroken side. The ones who make your eyes light up when they enter the room, who brighten up the worse of days, who understand without words.  The ones you can call at 4am in the morning (and have).  The ones you will always be there for, no questions asked.  The ones who know the difference between you needing a hug or a bop on the head.  The ones who dare to challenge, to rebuke, to reprimand you even though they know how foul a temper you have.  The ones you would actually listen to.   The ones who will diffuse, mediate, catalyse.  The ones who you will pray for even when you have lost the ability to pray for yourself.  The ones who you always know are praying for you.  The ones you fight like dogs with sometimes but the ones you will always apologise to because the friendship is more important to you than being right. The ones who you can say “I love you” to without it sounding like a come on or totally corny. 

The drop to Tier 2 (and worse) is pretty far.  Those are the relationships you would be generous with but only as long as the value-proposition to you makes sense.  And when it doesn’t, you smile and make a mental note that the relationship has hit a plateau.  No need to be sentimental or a bitch about it.  Just not Tier 1.  And membership has its privileges. 

The chap at the party yesterday probed a little bit more.
“How long have you known him?”
“More than 10 years.”
“Wow. That’s long.”
I didn’t think it was so I just smiled.
“You can tell a lot about a person who has old friends.”
I smiled again.
“Yes, you can.”

You are Tier 1.


One Response to “Tier 1”

  1. J Says:

    Quick thoughts on tier-one friendships.

    1) The loose undefinable criteria each of us has in escalating tier twos into tier one zone. I’m referring of course to new tier two friends whom have not been cast into permanent tier two oblivion status.

    2) Previous tier-ones that did not make the cut. Those are the toughest. Especially when you’ve given a slice of each other at same point past.

    3) Personally for me, friends that bring out the best in me get accorded instant tier one status (well…almost). But then again, if they are female, it may be tier one gf/friend rolled into one 🙂

    4) Which brings me to the next qn? Can an ex become tier one? Can a tier one be converted to gf/bf?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: