Happy Friday! With that I have a fun and amusing concept. Equating different types of relationships (I will focus mainly on friendships for this article) with varying foods. The purpose of food being to provide you with energy, vitamins and nutrients your body needs, and general sustenance. Different foods offer varying kinds of energy (short bursts versus longer and more slow burning). Some foods offer us a lot of bang for their nutritional buck while others taste awesome but wreck havoc on our health.
You get the idea.
I realized that different types of relationships in our lives can be equated with a different food or dish. This went from being a vague idea to shaping into an entertaining list. Hence, I decided to share said list. Here are some of the different types of friendships in our lives and the food that type of friendship is most like:
1. The Fun To Be With But Lacking Substance Friends. I like to call these the chocolate cheesecake friends. The ones that, while entertaining to hang out with and pass the time, frequently leave you wanting. Thats why they their time and place. Dont expect these types of friends to truly fill you the way other friendships can and will (I will get to those shortly). The chocolate cheesecake friends are great for someone to laugh with and share a fun evening, but they probably arent the ones with whom you will share deep heart to hearts or have a significant understanding with.
Like chocolate cheesecake, they can be immensely satisfying in the moment and when enjoyed sparingly. They go down smooth and sweet. But when eaten while hungering for something of substance, you will find yourself hungry still. The empty calories not having done much to truly fill you.
2. The Comforting Friends. These are the ones whose company feels cozy, easy and comfortable, like slipping under a warm blanket. They are the friends that make you feel cared for, supported and loved when you need it most. These are the ones you may often turn to in times of need. They also might be the friends who tell you what you want to hear and not necessarily what you need to hear. While they always have your back, they likely arent the ones who will give you the whole truth (which sometimes, we actually really need). These are the Mac n Cheese or Soup and Grilled Cheese friends. Hearty, comforting, filling, these meals make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. However like these dishes, while delicious and immensely satisfying in the moment of consumption, they do not lead to real nutritional growth. They just make you feel good in the moment, which has its time and place, but isn't something nourishing or that will help you grow.
3. The Realistic, Down to Earth, Honest, Emotionally Healthy Friends. I call these the turkey-sandwich-with-all-the-trimmings friends (with lettuce, tomato, onion, a slice of avocado, the works). They are a well rounded, healthy, satisfying yet still delicious meal. These are the friends you can count on. The ones whose advice is more often than not insightful, wise and mature. These are the friends who are grounded, have solid values, generally make good decisions and make for an inspiring, positive influence. They aren't fake, they don't only tell you what you long to hear. They are honest but loving. Like a stacked turkey sandwich, which not only tastes awesome but is great for your health as well.
4. The Longtime Friends That You May Have Outgrown. These are the friends who, while there is likely nothing inherently wrong with them, they may no longer be the best fit for you. Yet, you struggle to find the guts to let go, using excuses of having lots of shared history and time invested with this person. I call these the chicken nugget and fries friends. Nostalgia inducing, they taste great when youre eating them but afterwards, make you feel sort of, meh. Despite enjoying them as you chow down, you realize after the fact that these were a childhood treat for a reason.
5. The Rare Friends. These are the ones who are truly intent, focused listeners (a rare thing nowadays). With whom you have a close connection and easy click. You generally have great fun with these friends. They are honest and loyal. Reliable. Emotionally healthy. Inspiring and a positive influence. They hit nearly all the checkpoints of being a fantastic friend, influence and person.
(Of course, no one hits all the checkpoints. There is no perfect friend. But these rare friends are the diamonds, the truly awesome ones that if you are smart, you make major effort to hold onto).
I call these the gourmet, well rounded, meals-meant-to-be-savored friends.
As an example, this might be a plate with a filet of salmon, a side salad piled high with colorful vegetables, and a baked sweet potato with a side of fruit for dessert. Or, they might be a perfectly cooked steak, a side of green beans, a salad and baked apples with cinnamon for the finale.
Something hearty, cozy, satisfying, filling, well-rounded, while also nourishing and healthy.
6. The Unexpected Friends. These are the ones you looked at initially and thought, nah. But then lo and behold, to your shock the two of you became friends. Possibly even great friends. Often enough, people whom you least expect to grow close to, you do. These friends are the food you were apprehensive about and avoided for years but upon finally trying, found you loved.
A few which can fit the bill: Brussel sprouts, Sushi, Lavender- used in baked goods, the list goes on.
7. The Friendship with Attraction Factor. This is the friend that, for whatever reason (and there may be just one or two, or there could be many) you would never date but despite that, you have frequent moments of attraction to. You know that as a couple, it wouldn't work. It would go down in a plume of smoke and flames. You are content with being just platonic friends. Yet still, an attraction surfaces from time to time. This is the cream puff friend. Lightly sweet, comfy, satisfying, but not something you would eat every day. You enjoy this only sporadically, but when you do, its great. However when eating this sweet treat, you are careful to take small bites so it doesn't implode in your hands, cream spilling out the sides and all over the place. Instead, you take small controlled bites keeping the dessert intact. You gotta be careful with these or will end up with a major mess.
8. The Colleagues You Like Just Fine but Wouldnt Be Friends With Outside of Work. These are just what the title implies. At work, you enjoy chatting with them, you like their company, you may even look forward to seeing them. However for whatever reason, they are not the type of people whom you would pursue a friendship with outside of work. Maybe you can pinpoint the reason why. Other times, you cant. You just know they are a "work friend" and nothing more.
I call these the canapes friends. A canape being something you enjoy eating in a specified situation but almost certainly wouldnt find yourself making or chowing down on outside of said special situation. You wouldnt make up a plate of canapes for a solo breakfast at home. Nor would you whip up canapes in any number of other meal based situations. Canapes are typically relegated to social gatherings and parties. Outside of such, they would feel ill fitting and strange, just like those particular friends-at-work-only people.
(Note: there are of course some colleagues you will want to be friends with outside of work. Then, they fall into one of the other categories ;-)).
8. Toxic Friends. So actually, these shouldn't even be on your "friend" list, hence the word "toxic," because you only surround yourself with healthy people and relationships, right? However, many of us have a few toxic people or friends in our lives whom we struggle to cut out for any number of reasons. I liken these people to be the Martini friends. Sometimes they offer what we convince ourselves to be a pleasing taste in certain occasions or moments (maybe this toxic friend is someone who brings out the worst in you, which initially can feel freeing, even good. But this quickly takes a turn towards feeling crappy and unlike your best self). Like a martini, these friends might go down smooth initially but after a couple, you are hit as though by a fright train, with the pressing knowledge that ingesting them was likely a bad decision. The next day? Headache, bleary eyed, you feel like garbage, vowing never to drink one again.