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Organize your (Facebook) Friends and more...

What?!!

Organize my friendships, you say?

Well, Facebook asks you to do it, so it must be a good thing...(close friends, family friends, college friends, local friends).  Funny, they don't have a category for virtual friends....

And then again, perhaps organizing your friends is just a good thing to do because even this little act of "organizational insight," can help you to get a better night's sleep.  

Here's what our Queen of Organization, Amy Morris, has to say about it all...

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Is every "friend" a friend?  These days, the concept of "friend," has become somewhat diminished, perhaps by the constant and even cavalier process of "friending," Facebook-style.  I have even heard some friends (real ones) say, "Hey.  How come we're not friends on Facebook?"  The answer: because we are REAL friends.  But even with the heavy presence of social media in our lives, we must still remember the basics: friendships come in many different shapes and sizes.  Perhaps it's even more important now than it has been in the past to understand the dynamics and qualities of the friendships you do have so that you don't go to sleep unhappy or unsatisfied with the quality of those friendships. 

We all have friends, but not all friendships are alike.  We accumulate friends because of our children, activities and hobbies;  tennis, bridge, sports, classes, yoga, etc.  We have "old" friends; those who have been with us for decades and business friends; friends of friends who become our friends, and new friends.   And all these friends can be further categorized into close friends, acquaintances, needy friends, fun "party" friends, drama queen friends, attention seekers, "Debbie" downer friends (the pessimist), "me me me" friends - those who turn everything into something about them, and of course there is the toxic friend.  There are even categories for boyfriends and girlfriends; are they a friend with benefits, a causal relationship or something more serious?  Learning what type of friend the friend actually is can help to organize our boundaries with them so that we do not expect more from the friendship, are not disappointed, do not over commit of ourselves in the friendship, and maybe learn to say goodbye when it becomes unhealthy.  Clearly, the toxic friends belong in the "delete" file.  Do not waste time with this.

A close friend does not need to live in your community or be someone you speak to and interact with daily.  Nor does it have to be a friend that spans decades with you.  A true friend is someone who is there for you through thick and thin, who you can share anything - judgment free - without the concern of being thought of differently.  They will not share your story with others and know you will also treat them with the same respect.  A true friend is someone who cares unconditionally about you, who is genuine in their affection toward you, and is not someone who is looking to compete with you.  They are happy with your accomplishments as if they were their own and likewise they hurt when you are hurting and are sad when you are sad.  They revel in your happiness, they protect you and wrap their arms around you, and they have no ulterior motives. 

The rest need not be a part of your inner circle of close friends, but they are still important and needed (well, most of them), in your day-to-day life.  Since our closest friends may not live nearby and we may not have the ability to talk or email them daily, it is wise to make friends that are available. Know how to categorize these friendships in order to keep them healthy and enjoyable.  Take, for instance, your activity friends.  It's great to make small talk or even talk about something more serious in nature when you are together, but it doesn't necessarily translate into going to dinner in each other's company or including them on the guest list for your upcoming family milestone, such as a child's wedding or college graduation party. 

In today's world of social media, the word "friend" has become skewed.  Do we really have 2,000 friends just because our Facebook page says we do?  And of the 2,000, how many are truly close friends?  Do we want to share so much with these people?  Are they only virtual friends or do we actually make plans with these people and look forward to getting together?  Alternatively, do we cringe when they make an unflattering comment, or any comment, on a Facebook post or consider getting together with them an unpleasant experience?  And when we do make plans, is there a hidden agenda on their part?  Does the party friend just need someone to go along for the ride - and you are that person?  Does the drama queen need to tell her story again and again to anyone that will listen?  How about the "me me me" friend?  Does she hear what you are saying or is she so self-focused that she only hears and talks of herself?  Is "Debbie" downer ever positive?  Answering these questions can expose a friendship for what it really is and help us to organize them and understand what we are and are not getting from the relationship.

In the words of Oprah Winfrey, "Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."  A true friend is the one who will ride the bus.

Now that summer is in full swing, (and hopefully there's a slowdown in your normal manic daily routine), take some time to think about the people that surround you.  Consider "organizing your friendships," as a gift to yourself.  Play nicely in the sandbox with your "friends," and place the toxic relationships in the recycle bin.  Let someone else recycle, re-use and re-purpose these people, and instead find those who will ride the bus with you.

Never go to sleep disappointed in your friends again.  Understand what they can give in a friendship, and what they cannot.  Don't lower your expectations of what a friend means to you; just know your friends' limitations so you can minimize hurt or sleeplessness if and when they don't measure up. 

~Amy