The 4 Levels of Friendship

Over the course of time, friends come and go. Some will stick with you through anything, they’ve been by your side since childhood and may even take a bullet for you. Others are “fair weather” friends and will likely be gone tomorrow.

I believe my desire to start writing now, at this point in my life, stems from the close friends I have today. I work with some of them and we hang out often outside of work, we go out to bars and clubs together, we gather to watch Charger games every Sunday and generally fun times are had! I spend so much time with these people, but I’m still unable to open myself up fully to them. I thought at first I must have trust issues. But here I am sharing this with complete strangers, so that can’t be it.

Late one night last week, when as usual I couldn’t fall asleep, I lay awake in bed and devised a theory I’ve since named “The 4 Levels of Friendship.”

Level A – Acquaintances   These are people you see regularly, you know their names and a bit about their lives, you share small talk with them about the weather or what team won the game last night. A good example of this level of friend is the barista at your favorite coffee shop or the server at your favorite restaurant that knows your “usual” order. You’re on a first name basis and are always friendly toward them, but you wouldn’t invite them to your weekend BBQ.

Level B – Buddies   These are the friends you play with. They’re always up for a night out on the town, going to the beach or starting a recreational softball team. It’s a group of mutual friends and their families who get together often for social events. However, you rarely have serious discussions about happenings in the news, religion and spirituality or major life events. This level of friend is strictly for having fun.

Level C – Consultants   This level of friend is one you turn to for advice. You trust their input and value their opinions. They may be more educated and well read than your Level B friends. They stay abreast of current events and are most likely going green if they haven’t already done so. You’re comfortable with these friends and can bounce any idea off them without fear of being laughed at.

Level D – Dearest   Your dearest friends are the ones that have been through it all with you. The best friend from childhood that still lives next door to you. You consider this friend a part of your family and you know they will always be there for you. This is the friend that, to put it simply, gets you.

Each level builds upon the ones below it. I admit there are gray areas between levels and of course friends can move up or down from one level to another. This is only version 1.0 of my theory and it will evolve as my friendships continually change.

Utilizing the 4 Levels of Friendship theory, I see that my closest friends, the ones I spend a majority of my time with, all fall into Level B. This completely explains my desire and need to write. I’m Level C and D friend deficient! It seems my current group of friends meet only one kind of social need, leaving a deeper and more intellectual need unfulfilled.


30 thoughts on “The 4 Levels of Friendship

  1. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my friends! I’ve only known my current group of good friends for about six months or less. So as more time goes by we’re becoming closer and they’re moving up the ranks.

    Love ya’ll!

  2. i hear ya man, i dont know how to get to that next level with friends. Yes, acquaintances i have plenty, conslutants i have a few, buddies i have none it really actually sucks. Not having buddies to some it may come easy but not for this big guy, ive longed for some buddies i can gather together and go and do things as a group….this is something that deeply bothers me and has for a long time, what i should do? Not sure… Any ideas

  3. I agree with the system you have presented. What really sucks is when someone claiming to be your friend acts more like an acquaintance or less.

  4. Pingback: On friendship « The Ramblings of a Redhead…

  5. Thank you all for the comments. I haven’t checked my blog in quite some time. Since writing this, my number of Acquaintances has grown, Buddies declined, Consultants are still missing and my Dearest has become my wife. As people, relationships and yourself evolve, so do your friends’ status in your life.

  6. This truly inspired me! I have learnt not to invest too much time and emotion in the acquaintances and buddies as it often is unrequited and leaves me feeling unwanted. These classifications help me to gauge and navigate my social connections with ease. i know how to relate with my acquaintances just as well as my dearests, the level of disclosure varies and this is saving me many a heartbreak!


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  10. I like the 4levels of friendship. I had 2 levels of friends and aquantance, pal, colleague were separate. Another way to look at it and I like it.

  11. hey cool, they are awesome tags.I admire friendship really and i love my friends very much very very much.I really glad to come to know about this. expecting more about friend this is varshini

  12. Here is a link to what J’s post inspired for me.

    I’ve had some more experiences since then, so I may revisit and revise, but his categories have helped me escape some of the hurts that I didn’t know how to avoid. And like Brenda said (Nov. 4, 2010), “i know how to relate with my acquaintances just as well as my dearests, the level of disclosure varies and this is saving me many a heartbreak!”

    Truthfully, I still get hurt, but I choose hurt over a barricaded heart that doesn’t feel alive.

    To friends!

  13. I had a bit of laugh when I read your blog mainly because I can relate to this . I was discussing with a work colleague one time about friends , and did mention to him that friends come in different levels. He was quite astonished that I said that. There are people that you meet , that even in the initial interaction with them , you can tell what level they are in.
    No offence , it’s just basic instinct I guess.

  14. Hav u never progressed furthur that level 4…go on nice article very precise write more.
    You may want to explore the you mudt post your articles there for better purpouseful coverage…
    thank you for this

  15. Since you’ve thought about this so much, have you ever thought about what happens when you move a buddy back a level of acquaintences because of personal hurts or chronic dysfunctional behaviors.

  16. Pingback: Friendship- The different levels | yen4n

  17. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative.

    I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  18. I think what you posted made a ton of sense. But, consider this, suppose you added a
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