Of the Female Friendship Ladder

Friends

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In the female world, whether you happen to be gay or straight, there is a ladder of friendship. I’ve chosen the 10 most frequent (at least in my life experience) types of friend to encounter. We lesbians just happen to have the extra “girlfriend” or in my case “love interest who ended up being either straight or taken” that gets tacked on the top of the chart in the same place where “boyfriend” would be for the straight community.With men there’s only three levels (Can’t stand you, you’re okay, or we’re buds), that’s it! Of course with females we’ve made it more complex and challenging with layers and rules.

  1. “Absolute Bitch.” This is the girl that makes your skin crawl. When she enters a room you sigh in disgust and immediately start whining to your friends. Should she so dare as chew gum or eat a banana in your presence you shiver in annoyance, how dare she eat like that? Didn’t she ever learn how to chew? This hatred is not without reason, maybe she insulted someone you care about or slept with your partner. Maybe she’s just mean to everyone and has no regard for humanity. The point is, you can’t stand even the sound of her name being called.
  2. “Resident Annoyance.” You don’t particularly like this girl but you can’t seem to get rid of her. Typically these people latch onto you in the work environment or during a class. She’s like the lice you got in third grade – you can’t get rid of her until you isolate yourself and go through an uncomfortable treatment (or get a new job).
  3. “Friend of a Friend.” If there’s going to be jealousy or awkwardness within a friendship, this girl is the reason. She’ll show up for a weekend to visit your friend. If she’s awesome and you all click – consider yourself lucky. Most the time there are lots of uncomfortable conversations. The natural cadence of your social circle treading water as this new person has a different rhythm. Still you smile politely, carry on conversation, and probably actually like the girl. But seeing as she’ll be gone in a matter of days there’s no point in developing a deep bond.
  4.  “Acquaintance.” You met this girl once, you got along great, and you friended her on Facebook. The catch is that you know nothing about her and you see her, on average, every other month at a party.
  5. “Class/Work Friend.” You love this girl (in a strictly platonic way), the laughs shared between the two of you seem to be endless. Only you’ve never seen her outside of the classroom or work place. Regardless, you know the details of her weekend, life, and opinions. In theory you two would get along great chatting over a cup of coffee, odds are you’ll never find out.
  6. “Distant Friend.” You two have known each other since you were wee tots, but as you developed into women you grew apart. Even so, there’s still a connection and catching up often turns in a “Hey, remember when?” session.
  7. “Instant Friend.” These are rare, but spectacular. Remember in elementary school how you would meet a classmate during recess and within five minutes you were best friends? This is the adult version of that. Somehow you and this girl cross paths maybe at a party, bar, work, club, school, dance, etc. And something clicks, for a moment you’re back in kindergarten and this girl is officially one of your favorite people. You just know you’ll be friends with her till your both gray haired and wrinkly. Instant friends quickly jump ahead to a deeper level of friendship.
  8. “Dear Friend.” Over the years you two have become incredibly close. This is the level of friendship where frequent phone calls and impromptu visits (or adventures) begin. For some reason amongst women there’s unwritten rules about who you can call, ask to hang out, and how often. Should you break these laws you will be considered a creeper or rudely invading their space. With a Dear Friend you don’t have to worry about such nonsense.
  9. “Best Friend.” Back in kindergarten you were only allowed one, as a teenager you struggled defining the term and balancing multiple friends while deciding who was truly your best. Now that you’re an adult you’ve learned the secret – you can have more than one best friend. I’d say you can have up to 5 before you come across as greedy or delusional. This is the girl you can count on to answer your phone calls at 3am, drive to pick you up no matter where you are, let you cry on their shoulder, and still love you after you’ve drunkenly thrown up (even if the puke got in their hair).
  10. “Sister.” This girl surpasses the ladder of friendship – you have known her literally since you were able to remember. She is immersed in your life so deeply that the family even considers her an adopted member. My Sister has gone to family functions when I was unable to attend, is included in family portraits, and is beloved by everyone (except my grandmother, but that’s a different story). Think back to the episode of Boy Meets World when Mr. Matthews is in the hospital. I don’t remember why he’s in the hospital, only that it was sad and everyone was worried. But I do remember that the family waited for hours and when the doctor came up to them he wouldn’t let Shawn in to visit. “Sorry, family only.” The doctor said. Mr. Matthew’s walked up behind the doctor and said, “He is family.” And the doctor let him through the doors. That’s what a Sister is – she’s not a just a friend, she’s your personal Shawn Hunter.
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