Getting on Course; Understanding our friendships

I had a dinner with a friend late last year. I had set aside the later part of that evening for a catch up with her which later turned out to be a discussion of its own kind. I remember at one point my friend telling me that the secret of friendship lies in putting people in their rightful places. I mean you need to know what type of a friend every person you know is to you.

For her case, she was on a journey towards self-discovery. At any single point, she has defined the association your share with her if you are her friend. I found it rather interesting yet intriguing at the same time. I mean it is like grading our friendships on a standard scale. Looking at it again and you realize it is not bad as it looks.

A few weeks after our meeting I was on my usual online fishing spree when I noticed something close to what we had shared with my friend. I do fish online for some juicy ornamental fishes from part of my online lake of knowledge and inspiration. On Facebook I read every post by Dr. Strive Masiyiwa, I also read Bill Gates and I always go through Charles Lipenga’s posts. On this day, Maestros Chairman Charles Lipenga had written about the various types of friends we usually have.

Charles Lipenga is a Malawian architect, social entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was voted among the top 100 most influential young people in the continent last year which means he has several people he associates with. His understanding of the various kinds of friends we have is undoubtedly unquestionable.

Now last week I happened to be reading a book proposed to me called Waiting and Dating _ A Sensible by Myres Munroe. I came face to face with the types of friendships we have at any point in our lives. The topic was about building friendships and under the subtopic on questions for building friendships, the classification was done. I decided that I was moving into the New Year with a clear understanding on the type of associations I needed to have with people.

I have often discovered too late that I placed people in the wrong places in my life. I am not alone in this I am sure. Some of us can proudly talk of having a thousand friends but end up counting on just five of them of whom we can count on for help in times of need. At the end of the day, what matters then is not the quantity of friends but rather the quality of friendship. It narrows down to what type of friends the thousands of them are to us.

The first kind of friends we have are the acquaintances. These are the friends we have general knowledge of. We know them superficially. We run into each other occasionally and talk about general topics to a level not to make both of us uncomfortable. With acquaintances, it is about retaining the status quo and nothing like getting to understand and know each other beyond the surface. We know them by faces and sometimes forget their names because that is what we are to them too.

This is the most basic level of friendship. How we treat each other from here and the length we go with learning about each other determines to what extent we can build our friendships to. If we can encourage acquaintances to talk and open themselves up to us, then we get to build better relationships and the value of our associations with them improves. If this does not happen, they simply remain occasional friends and should be treated as such.

Then there are the casual friends. These are the friends of a higher order and we are brought together on the basis of common interests. For this level, casual friends can ask us more personal questions concerning our opinions, goals, dreams and other personal aspirations. They are people we go watching movies with, we go hiking together, go to watch football with them or participate in outdoor activities with them.

Our friends don’t measure equally to us. We need to put everyone in their rightful places. Photo Courtesy of updatepedia

In as much as we are attracted to each other, it is more on the basis of the interests we share with them rather than on the emotional basis. Casual friends praise each for the various achievements concerning the areas of interests shared. For instance a friend congratulates another friend for successfully doing a breakthrough research on a common area of study. Primarily it may be because they both enjoy doing research around that area and the success of one of them means a stepping stone for the other one.

Casual friends are often very close but not attached emotionally. They are attracted very closely to each other on the basis of the common things that draw them together. Simply to say that if the common interests are removed, the attachments they share can as well be not there.


At some point, the casual friendship often progresses to the level of close friendship and fellowship. At this point the friendship has moved a notch higher and connection is often based on mutual objectives and friends. This is the level where friends work on mutual projects with an aim to achieve a common goal(s). Myres Munroe hints that many friendships never reach this level.

Close friendship involves close fellowship. It is often based on mutual interests and life goals and the people involved are traveling in the same direction in the journey of life. They are people who have agreed to walk together and build on mutual objectives. They share common values, ideals and could be potentially compatible partners.

I have never thought seriously about the various classes of friends before. And now we can agree there is need to begin thinking about the classification seriously. If we are to make 2019 a year worth of value and success, we have to know where each of our friends fall in our lives. Let us know who we can count on when everything else is gone and spend more time with them.

Let everybody occupy their rightful place. We have to stop spending so much of our precious time with those friends who disappear when we need them and spend more quality time with those who matter to us. Yes we may not see each other often, but as long as we are close fellowship friends, we can count on each other always. I am sure this is going to be helpful to us and as the year goes by.

Let’s us make as many acquaintances as we can, enjoy our time with our casual friends in the things we enjoy most and finally build a life with those select close fellowship friends. I am sure life will never be the same again.


Copyright @ 2019

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at
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