Know your Friends! 




Friends form an important part of our lives. They play a significant role in various aspects of our life, influence what we do and also contribute to our thought process or in shaping our personality. Given this high place that friends occupy in our lives, it is important for us to know our Friends and have clarity on the relationship we have with them.

In Finance domain, there is the concept of Know Your Customer (KYC). KYC is an important part of the documentation process for opening an account or availing financial product like a loan. Knowing a customer well is instrumental for a financial institution to extend a financial facility because they don’t want a customer who does not fit into the scheme of things avail the financial product, as that may cause inconveniences or losses to either the Financial Institution or to the Customer. In our personal lives, we do not follow such a process. First because it is not appropriate to do so and second because relationships are not transactional. However, the concept itself carries a lot of value, as it allows us to know the other person better and understand the fit of the person in our lives. So extending this concept to Knowing your Friends, may help You and Your friends to have a lot of clarity about the relationship, understand each-other’s place in either’s life and also save you or your Friend from inconveniences in the future.

Here is the 10 Know Your Friend list curated from the experiences and wisdom of our experts, aimed at help you figure the fit and the place of your Friends in your life and how to handle these sensitive relationships effectively:

  1. The Straightforward friend: The straightforward friend is someone who is more often than not clear about the friendship both in terms of his/her behavior in the friendship as well as the communication they have with each other. Straightforward friends are easier to understand and deal with and they do not cause you to stretch your time and energy in figuring them out or handing them. So if you have straightforward friends then consider yourself lucky. Remember that straightforward friends are so because they understand straightforward ways and if you aren’t being straightforward with them, then you may not be able to sustain the relationship over a period of times
  1. The Stubborn friend: The Stubborn friend is one who likes to disagree. He/she would have ended up in a friendship with you but you never could agree on much. The stubborn friend can be of different extremes. The gentle stubborn who disagrees with you but doesn’t cross the line. The extreme stubborn for whom disagreement is an obsession. He/she is neither able to let go off the friendship nor able to come to any agreements in a friendship. The extreme stubborn friend feels like he/she is a bitter pill that you have to swallow to get better. The earlier you bring the extreme friend in terms with the reality, the better for either of you as it may lead to a toxic friendship over a period of time
  1. The Close or Intimate friend: What are Friends for. Yes to be around or be of help when you need the most. Many of us are fortunate to have close or intimate friends in our life. They might offer emotional, financial or physical support to us from time to time in our lives making them an important part of our lives. And we inturn feel indebted to such friends and reciprocate when we can. Such friendships are very close to our heart and we put every effort in ensuring they stay so. But remember to differentiate a reciprocal friendship that is in exchange of a benefit or advantage vis-à-vis a close or intimate friend. If the friend has taken a credit from you or has a benefit of being around you, then the nature of the friendship should be clear, and that neither of You are in a close or intimate friend relationship unless you put real efforts to face the reality of your friendship and get it right through mutual engagements
  1. The ‘Always Right’ friend: There are friends who feel that they are always right. The ‘Always Right’ friend may glorify his/her approach or achievements and make you feel belittled and that they are the gateway to your success; which in reality will never happen through them or because of what they did. You should clarify to the ‘Always Right’ friend that this may be good or right in his/her reality but you are a different person, have different ethical beliefs, live in a different reality and are in a different situation. That they saw what you did and how you managed to get bailed out of a difficult situation may itself look like a risky or unethical proposition to them. Explain that What he/she feels is a necessity or the right thing, may be very wrong in your point of view. What you have gone through or that friend has gone through is different so he/she needs to acknowledge each-others differences.
  1. The Sly friend: The sly friend is the one who has one personality on the surface but thinks or does something. Or he/she may say or portray one thing but behind your back may behave or do another thing. Sly friends in an extreme case may even go to the extent of believing they are your friend and can influence your life though they are neither in touch with you physically or virtually, nor in their friend list but knew you at one point of time. Such friends may also do things behind the curtains without discussing or taking your view. Once may be inadvertent or a mistake, but if you find that your friend is being sly time and again, then please clarify to him/her that this is not acceptable and if he/she repeats it then you should take a call on the friendship. The extreme ones who are not even your real friends today need to be indicated in a subtle manner that they need to make amends for what they have been doing and they have no right to exert control on your life till the time they can face you, discuss with you and be your real friend. Also beware that if sly friends appear to be habitual or it seems to be in their nature to be sly, they may stab you in the back at an opportune time for their own benefit.
  1. The Deceitful/Jealous friend: Like it or not, at some points of time or the other, we may come across deceitful/jealous friends. We ourselves may be deceitful/jealous of some of our friends at times. Friendship is a complex and emotional process and if you are being reckless with your friends and the relationship with them, then you may end up deceiving them. It may cost your friendship but you may also end up mending it. One may have deceived a friend but you may not be deceitful at heart. But if a Friend is being deceitful again and again, or doing things behind your back, intentionally/unintentionally putting you in difficult situations and found treading on the non-compromisables of friendship, then the friend is indeed deceitful/jealous and the earlier you express to your friend that it is not working out because of the same, the better it is for either to prevent heartaches or trouble later
  1. The Casual friend: The Casual friend as the name suggests is in friendship for casual purposes. Casual friends may be good to have depending on what you expect of the friendship. Casual friendships are transactional but either should be clear that it’s a casual friendship and agree that either would not want to get into anything serious. The casual friendship should be time bound, if you find that you agreed to a casual friendship but are being friends beyond, then it is better to take a call. Discuss early that this is where we agreed it would end, rather then let it prolong, leaving the friend assuming that you are his/her close or intimate friend.
  1. The ‘Brute Force’ friend: There is a concept in computer hacking called Brute-force approach where in you try to crack a password/encryption by trying all possible random permutations and combinations till the right password is found. This is known as a costly and theoretically improbable process for cracking stronger passwords/encryptions. Brute-force friends believe in getting you to do something come what may. Irrespective of how much time or cost it takes for him/her or You. Brute force friends may also manipulate you into getting into what they want. They may make promises to themselves or others without even taking you into consideration in the discussion or understanding your life-stage needs. As soon as you realise that you have a brute-force friend, clarify to your friend that he/she needs to let you be and everyone has the right to live life their own way. And if there is anything that you would agree with them for or compromise your stand for, then express your term/condition or the deal that you expect; stating that this is what I will need in order to do what you expect from me, and draw the line there.
  1. The Judgmental friend: The judgmental friend she finds the reason to observe and judge you when they get a chance. You may or may not know why they are so judgmental of you. They may appear inflexible and may sound insensitive and critical of what you do. It is as if something transpired with them that has made it their nature to be judgmental. They seem to have every reason to be suspicious and averse to what you say or do. They never trust people as they tend to take what the person has done in past as a reference for a future. The extreme ones may go to the extent of noting, recording or storing what you have done and recall or refer about it to you at a future point of time. To handle a Judgmental friend well, you will have to determine the reason why they are so Judgmental of you and avoid repeating what you did in the past that would spur their judgmental thought process. Or helping them change their situation so that they are not relatable to the past issues or actions may also help.
  1. The ‘Service exchange’ friend: Just like a currency exchange allows you to deposit one currency in exchange for another currency of equivalent amount, the Service exchange friend believes that friendship is an exchange of services. It’s a give and take of one thing with another. Like for example a service exchange friend may help you in your studies in exchange for a treat. Friends often do this, but with a service exchange friend this is not one-off. This is how they look at your friendship more often than not. There are various categories of service exchange friends and some may even feel that they can exchange anything for anything they feel like without the need for any discussion with you.

 So friends, hope you could relate to and realize what friendship is all about and that this article will be helpful for you to Know Your Friends. Friendship is a delicate and precious gift of life and does not deserve to be typecast into categories. It is a dynamic process and friends change from time to time and may also make amends over a period of time to move to more desirable types of friendship. So give your friends a chance and always try to be nice to them.