Buddy System

Understanding men and their friendships.

When friends are just acquaintances

Friendships can be put in four categories.

The February, 2009 issue of Men's Health Magazine quotes my four categories of friendships (see p. 24 of that issue) from Buddy System: Understanding male friendships. 

The categories are just, rust, must, and trust friends.  In today's blog, I will briefly describe the lowest level of friendship - the just friends (the highest level are must friends - people you must call if there is a crisis or if you hit the lottery).

Your just friends are people who live with you in the dorm, work with you on the job, or men you know from the community. They are your acquaintances.  You might hang out with them if you are free but you most likely will not make plans to see them in advance.  You won't invite them over to your house.  This is usually a large body of people as they can encompass most people who you know but do not feel very close with.  You may wish to establish a closer level of friendship with them (a trust or must level) but have not done so at this point.  OR they may be people you are happy to keep at arm's length.  You may not share their world views, politics, or like how they treat other people.  You know them but they are just friends.  In the next few blogs I will talk about the other levels of friendship.

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Geoffrey Greif, Ph.D., is a Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and author of Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships.

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