We are so used to speaking about relationship status among our peers. I am sure it rings a bell with comments like “They are on the dating stage” or “Even though they have been married for a while, they are still on their honeymoon stage”.
It’s interesting how different we treat romantic love to platonic love, but the truth is that we also go through different stages with our friendships. We can even have the same heartbreak and frustrations that a relationship might give, or even more because usually breaking up with long-term friendships is equally or more painful than breaking up with a partner.
However, before jumping into the “not so good” sides of friendships, let’s explore the different stages a friendship goes through.
1. Role Delimited Interaction:
During this stage, interactions are usually limited by the role of its participants. One example is students in a class that talk to each other occasionally. They do have some relationships but it’s not enough to sustain that connection outside their student’s roles. But it’s still on first stage of friendship.
2. Friendly relations:
The second stage comes when still in your role of student or worker you start to interact more frequently with a certain person. Still behaving somehow similar to the first stage, the conversations start being more spontaneous and honest.
3. Moves towards spontaneity:
Conversations are now held outside the workplace or the class. We may walk with a colleague for coffee or grab lunch together after class. However, these interactions are still very limited and don’t occur so frequently to consider our peer friends.
4. Nascent friendship:
From this stage, we start considering a relationship an actual friendship. Now you might go to have dinner with your friend after work or grab a beer on weekends. Also, conversations are deeper as topics tend to be more honest and personal. In this stage, boundaries are set.
5. Stabilised friendship:
Nascent friendship can take months or even years to reach this stage. However, stabilised friendships are usually relationships where both friends see the friendship as something natural and don’t have trouble bringing more friends to hangouts or dealing with problems in the relationship.
6. Waning relationships:
From this stage, relationships start to cool down. The first sign of this stage is when two friends start to be cold to each other or decide to spend time with other groups of friends. It’s usually due to many reasons but some of the most common ones conflict, lack of interest or geographical distance.
7. Post – friendship:
The last stage of friendships. The broken-up point is finally passed and all you have is memories of your friend and maybe you follow each other on social media. Depending on the relationship, post friendships can be painful or just neutral with occasional chats.