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  1. #1
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Default Meaningful Friendships

    What are your most meaningful friendships like and how did you come to be friends? Are friendships the same with either gender, or do you approach the boundaries differently when in a relationship or when single? Are your online friendships different than those in your geographic location? I just thought it would good to have a thread to explore the topic in depth.

    I've almost never made close friends, and have actually done better online in general. Recently I decided it would be healthy and important for my life to make an effort to establish friendships, and I don't feel particularly expert and experienced on the topic. I can be a bit clumsy irl like being unexpectedly too nice early on, or not responding in the right social rhythm. I'm making friends with other musicians and trying to be open to anyone I can connect with. I tend to be a bit cautious when interacting with the opposite sex, so I don't send the wrong signals, but I also think it is healthy for people to have a variety of friendships, but I know I want to approach everything the right way. I am doing more collaborative professional projects to start with and hope to be able to move to some casual interactions with some people, rather than just work in a friendly way which is the only social interaction I do now.

    Hearing other people's experiences and approaches will be useful to me and hopefully to others as well.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  2. #2
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    My most meaningful friend I met in a very superficial way. We had a mutual friend we would watch basketball games with and he was my wingman for a few years. Over that time we had a lot of disagreements and arguments (he is NF psychology guy and we would argue epistemology a lot and morality). I think because he was so argumentative and challenging it was interesting. It wasn't fake and bullshit interaction like most interaction is between two people. We had a lot of fun and were always there for one another. So, if I had to give one piece of advice it would be feel free to disagree with others even vehemently however, always do so respectfully recognizing that the other person isn't there to avow or discredit your worldview, but is just a person who you may enjoy spending time with and learning something new in spite of the differences.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    My best friend is the only person I would consider close. The only person I feel
    Comfortable being somewhat emotional around. W
    Met in our first college class. It took a whole for me to warm up and eat lunch with everyone. We did some things with the group and out of nowhere she asked to be roomates. It was actually really crazy. We are really extremely close. Not to be cliche but its like family. Our families vacation together. But it was just kind of a happy accident.

    Most friends I have are people I'm forced to be in close contact with like classmates. Otherwise I don't take enough initiative to meet people. I have a few new friends from the last two years who I met thought the BF. but I become closer to them through shared interest

    I think I've learned that you shouldn't be afraid to be interested and reach out. Most people will respond
    Positively.

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    My Nigerian lover I met in fourth grade. He is smart, charming and driven to success.


    Not many in the world add up to his caliber, and I love him for it.

  5. #5
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I hope more people will post in this thread. It would be great to hear about their friendships.
    Last edited by labyrinthine; 10-16-2012 at 10:18 PM.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  6. #6
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Have you considered asking her for... not advice, but just tell her the things you admire about her (as a passing remark & genuine compliment) and asking her how she became the person she became. I find most people enjoy talking about themselves/sharing their story if they feel the other person is genuinely interested and it sounds like you admire her and wish to be more like her? If she is genuinely nice, then she may just be curious about and inquire about you. Maybe a shared activity that she too enjoys where you can show off one of your strengths? (so that you can show strength as well so the dynamic does not become of of you seeking something from her causing a sense of imbalance in the dynamic)
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  7. #7
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    My friendships mean so much to me. Right now I have 3 really close friends - the kind where we tell everything to each other- and 1 of them I met in early high school, and the other 2 I've known for about 8 years now. I'd say that I'm closer to them than I am to my family, but that's only because I confide in them when I have family problems and vice versa. We've had moments of ups and downs but we always weather through them and come out closer than ever.

    I've not done well online and realize that that doesn't suit me. I have an intense need to communicate through voice and body language and favor people who do the same.

    I've not done well with male friends either because attraction always gets in the way, either from me or him.

    As for where you meet them, I think you meet them by chance and when you're least expecting it. It was very organic, at least that's how mine went. Anytime I've ever wanted to deliberately make friends with people, it never worked out, which kind of sucks. I could use more, since I know life brings about changes.

  8. #8
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    My friendships mean so much to me. Right now I have 3 really close friends - the kind where we tell everything to each other- and 1 of them I met in early high school, and the other 2 I've known for about 8 years now. I'd say that I'm closer to them than I am to my family, but that's only because I confide in them when I have family problems and vice versa. We've had moments of ups and downs but we always weather through them and come out closer than ever.

    I've not done well online and realize that that doesn't suit me. I have an intense need to communicate through voice and body language and favor people who do the same.

    I've not done well with male friends either because attraction always gets in the way, either from me or him.

    As for where you meet them, I think you meet them by chance and when you're least expecting it. It was very organic, at least that's how mine went. Anytime I've ever wanted to deliberately make friends with people, it never worked out, which kind of sucks. I could use more, since I know life brings about changes.
    I relate to a lot of this. I've mostly met my closest friends through my church, and then a few from high school - or even all the way back to elementary school. I have one elementary school friend who I'm still good friends with and that's been about 25 years, and we're only in our early thirties. We did have times on and off when we weren't much in contact but we never stopped being friends. When I think of the two people I consider my best best friends, I've known one of them for almost twenty years (and she's more than ten years older than me), and one for about 12-13 years (the same age as me.)

    My friendships tend to be slow-developing. In the case of those which have lasted, I've usually had a good first impression or good acquaintanceship, but sometimes it's been months or years of acquaintanceship before we got closer. Which can require patience but then you generally have a friend for life and I value those so much.

    I have friendships where there's more of an emotional connection, and friendships where it's more shared interests. Both can be very good but the best ones almost inevitably include both. Reliability and loyalty are also very important, and similar values.

    Like Giggly, I'm not very interested in close friendships online, although there are certainly people on this forum I have a degree of friendship with or fondness for. But i find it's limited if you don't know them IRL. You are missing out on loads of important aspects and you miss the "vibe" or "aura" that people have IRL, which can be crucial either in friendships or relationships.

    I also don't tend to have much success with male friends. I've had a few good close ones, but not many. Most guys I consider "friends" are really just acquaintances. The closer friendships have an unfortunate habit of going to hell sooner or later. Either I fall for them, or they fall for me, and it's one-sided; or even if we had a decent platonic friendship, he eventually ends up with someone long term and the friendship just drifts because he doesn't have time, or his wife is jealous and he needs to be careful (which I totally understand and agree with), etc.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Like Giggly, I'm not very interested in close friendships online, although there are certainly people on this forum I have a degree of friendship with or fondness for. But i find it's limited if you don't know them IRL. You are missing out on loads of important aspects and you miss the "vibe" or "aura" that people have IRL, which can be crucial either in friendships or relationships.

    I also don't tend to have much success with male friends. I've had a few good close ones, but not many. Most guys I consider "friends" are really just acquaintances. The closer friendships have an unfortunate habit of going to hell sooner or later. Either I fall for them, or they fall for me, and it's one-sided; or even if we had a decent platonic friendship, he eventually ends up with someone long term and the friendship just drifts because he doesn't have time, or his wife is jealous and he needs to be careful (which I totally understand and agree with), etc.
    I'm relatively "free" with friendships, that is to say that I make friends with people easily and am prepared to work on a friendship, ie get in touch with people, start over, get in touch again after long breaks in contact (in part because I know that my work schedule and interests consume me sometimes and I dont make time for friends). I've got about half a dozen uber friendships, these are people who despite differences in culture, distance in geography or other ways, I just consider important and significant besides the difficulty. There's only one or two people whose friendship is important enough that I'd risk my neck, break the law, break with principle for. It could be that I keep that group small unconsicously because its not possible to be that way with everyone but to be honest most people do not fit that frame and fall short, it doesnt mean we cant be friends its just not the same.

    I've always been naturally extroverted and wanted friends but I can honestly say that I didnt have any until I was seventeen, I had lots of school acquaintences, a lot of which were the kids of people who were friends with my parents and one or two of them were actually bullies (not even when I think about it, I may have known it at the time and I knew none of them would be people I would keep in touch with). I never panicked about friendship or its lack of though because I had family. I'd never have forged a good or lasting friendship with anyone who wouldnt be a "fit" with my family or meet with their approval or at least be well mannered around or about them.

    Online friendships are much like SR and Giggly describe, they are not the same as in person, and not live chats, not cam chats not anything like that can really stand in. Although I've made friends with people online and met them in person and travelled to meet them, only within in the UK so far. Some of those have gone on to be great friendships.

    The male-female thing is interesting, I have had great female friendships all my life and sometimes I prefer female company to male company, I dont find that female friends compete with me the same way that male company does. A lot of male friendships have foundered, broken down or withered away because of that, even acquaintences and working relationships have been threatened by it, and the whole time I do not deliberately compete myself, sometimes I've tried to alay any concerns of that kind but its not worked out.

    On the whole attraction, no attraction, mutual attraction thing, when I think about it I have experienced that, to begin with I was going to say I have from time to time developed crushes but they havent been reciprocated and that's been fine but a great friendship has developed besides, which has happened (I was great friends with one woman until she got married, we're less close now but that could be said for a lot of friends who've settled down and started families, plus I moved a couple of times during that time).

    There has been one occasion, years ago, someone I met online developed feelings for me, which did not pan out in person, although at that time I bought into it too, its funny, they liked me a lot, I wasnt interested in anything serious, then they changed their mind I think but I'd changed mine the other way. I've tried to friends with them since and its not worked, which is a shame. I think that was a learning experience and I've not repeated it with anyone else, whether its been someone I met in person or online or whatever.

    Sometimes I meet members of the opposite sex who I'd like to be good friends with but it is awkward, they could be used to men hitting on them or have other baggage, I've had really mixed success with that. Also I've known people who have poor boundaries or other the like and I've wondered about the amount of time they wanted to spend with me when they've got kids or partners or other commitments, that's not good, its worse than someone trying to tell you to dial it back because of a jealous spouse or something.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    Hearing other people's experiences and approaches will be useful to me and hopefully to others as well.
    My closest friends have come from all over the place. It's all about creating or recognizing opportunities to meet people, then balls-out seizing those that have potential.

    We all grow up with family, and so family presents us with great opportunities to get to know people pretty well. Some of us wind up getting on well with cousins or siblings. I'd consider my sister and my dad to be among my best friends--my sister and I hang out regularly and can talk deeply, as do my dad and I. Most importantly, my dad sees me as an adult and an equal. My sister's fiancee is a swell guy as well, and I'd count him among my best friends--not just because he's 'convenient' either, but because he's level-headed and mature.

    My dad's best friend growing up is one of my mentors, best friends, role models, and confidants. The two of us are closer than the two of them are; we're very much on the same wavelength. I had rejected him and some advice that he'd given me way back in my freshman year of college because I wasn't ready for it, but we reconnected after I needed a psychologist for a research project years later. He's one of the few who isn't afraid of true, true intimacy. We talk psychology, relationships, politics, philosophy, so on and so forth.

    Another.. friend(?).. of mine met at a personal development organization and started hanging out and talking pretty deeply. It turned out that he'd just gotten out of prison and needed a good role model. He credits me with pointing him in the right direction and helping him turn his life around. While it lasted, the whole dynamic was fucked up, a bit unhealthy, and largely one-sided--though I can't say that I didn't learn from him, too; we both grew from the experience. I regard the whole shebang as mostly a sponsor/sponsee relationship moreso than a friendship per se, but there it is.

    Speaking of, I've got a mentor/mentee relationship with many of my students, which tends to happen when we feel like we're not overstepping our bounds.

    Another great friend is my fiancee. We met at a party and she's now my best friend. [sappy romantic bullshit here]

    Other folks that she and I are both closest to are those that have shown up to Game Nights that I throw pretty regularly. They usually happen to be decades older than us because they're the ones with experience and maturity.


    I also have a pretty good pool of friends from an online 'community' of sorts. We've met up quite a few times, too, and we do talk pretty much every day.

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