Thursday, June 01, 2006

Friends, Best Friends and Close Friends

I often hear people calling some of their friends as close friends, best friends and all that. For instance, how many times have we called foo** is my best friend and bar** is my close friend and all that. I have always wondered how best is best and how close is close. Recently, i met with a friend of mine and we were having a conversation on this subject. Not that either of us were psychologists or cognitive science experts, but nevertheless we needed to kill time and what better way to kill time than bitching abt people and their opinions.After about an hour or so of terms like "lets take the following scenario", "consider this" and "consider that", we started summarizing about what we understood on this subject....that usually people choose to have/form friends based on their perception of what is known as their circle of trust henceforth being referred as COT here. A COT is basically a set of like minded people doing similar things. For instance, you might not wish to invite your manager for a movie with your college friends. Neither, would you invite your family members to a pub with your other friends. So the idea is a common belief(or disbelief) in doing certain things in certain ways. On the other hand, you cannot invite your college friend for a team lunch in your company. Neither can you invite ur friend to a family function dinner.

The first thing to note is that we don't have one COT. We form many. Strange as it sounds, it is true so as to support the varied activities in one's life(going to pub, watching a movie, having a team lunch, family dinner etc....). This needs to be explained. Let's understand this through an example....

My friend with whom i was conversing is 24 years. She has formed several circles of trust.How does she develop and manage so many circles? I was curious and i asked her. Her reply was spontaneous and deep. So she says, she has at least 4-6 friends in each of the circle. They are not exclusive though. Some friends are present in more than one COT while others are strictly confined to just one. The circles of trust are merely logical and none of the participants (read "friends") know that they exist. Only she knows. And she plays the circles of trust to her benefit. Then comes the obvious question. How does she differentiate once circle from another? Here lies the beauty....

Every circle of trust (COT) has a set responsibility.The responsibility is sometimes implicit while in other cases, my friend takes the responsibility of assigning the responsibility to the COT.In our case, She has pre-assigned these responsibilities to the COTs and she invokes them when the need arises. This needs to be explained again. We have simplified the functions so that it is easy to understand. Here it comes .. in her own words ...

~ So when I feel like spending an evening by having a cup of coffee, I will invoke the services of COT #1.

~ Wanna watch a movie? That would be COT #2.

~ Oh I met this wonderful guy! I want to talk about him .. The listening pleasures are reserved to COT #3.

~ I'm so drunk. I want to be dropped home. Time to call COT #4.

~ I feel like bitching and complaining the whole day. Need COT #5.

~ I'm feeling low. Feel like crap. Time for some wallowing in self-pity and more. Think I'm lost and eventually slipping into a major depression. Desperately want COT #6.

~ I'm so high today. Everything around me is upbeat. I definitely need to be with COT #7.

~ So I wake up with a strong feeling to travel to some place quite mystical .. I will choose the company of COT #8.

So you see, the whole list is *morally* ambiguous. I used the term morally coz it may not be too immoral according to my friend. The concept of friendship is very superficial and the role you play in her life through these COTs defines who you are for her. I also realized that it is from one of these COTs that the notions of best friend and close friend stem from.Some "friends" over a period of time, come to know of her grand design and they refuse to be placed in certain COTs. So they leave. She and she alone can determine who gets placed in what COTs. Really, it is a matter of what her heart tells her than any planned analysis of someone's abilities.

From all these, one can easily look around and map your "friends" into circles of trust. You are either playing someone into a COT or someone is playing you. As simple as that. So the next time someone calls you his/her best friend just try to see if which COT of his/her do ou fit it. As they say.."Life moves on"...Enjoy the ride.


Pallavi Damera said...
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Pallavi Damera said...

wonder how these COTs correlate with ur way of organizing your IM friends lists... u set urself visible or invisible in different contexts to different groups, share particular kind of links...