Friendships come in three levels, let’s talk…

Over the years, I have developed a working theory. Friendships come in three distinctive categories. I will call these categories “tiers,” More specifically, it looks like an upside-down triangle. All three tiers are essential to a certain extent. The first two are crucial to a well-rounded person. These add to or take away a person’s mental, physical, and social well-being.

Tier-three friends are the most common and the most uncomplicated friendships to form. These friends are referred to as “aquatints,” which I believe is incorrect. Acquaintances would be the fourth level if there were four, but in my mind, three is the correct number. Tier three are friends you work with, live close to (like a neighbor), or meet because of a tier two friend. These friends come and go due to life and work changes. If they were to call you, it would pertain to a specific need related to the connections, like work. Tier-three friends could appear to others as tier two, but when life changes, so do these friends.

Tier-two friends are the ones that do not come along too often, but when they do, you know it. Connections are made with little effort. It could be a common goal, sport, lifestyle, belief, or any combination. These friends could be close or far away, but when you can meet up, you make all efforts to accommodate. I have a group I ride bikes with every week. This connection supersedes all social levels. These individuals off the bike are all different, but on the bike, we are all the same. If one of them were to call or text me to meet up for a beer, I would go at the drop of a hat. If they needed me to help them move, build something, or work on their car, I would drop everything and help. Tier-two friends are the best! You can go months without seeing them, but when you do, you pick up exactly where you left off as if nothing had changed. They know everything about you and a few things you wish they did not :-). Tier two friends are the glue that keeps you going when time gets tough. I guarantee these friends have seen you ugly cry more than once. I do not have many tier two friends, but I would hate to lose the ones I have.

Tier one friends are the toughest to find, and most people may never find one. I will call this friend a soul mate. These friends know more about you than you even know. They have been with you from the beginning and have seen you grow into who you are. They have picked you and your tier-two friends up at places when you could not pick yourself up. They are your biggest advocates and critics. They only have one goal, for you to succeed. My tier one friend/soul mate has been with me for 36 years, 27 years as my wife. She has seen me at my worst and supported me at my best. You may not have this friendship level yet, but I believe everyone will at least once in their life.

Amber has been in all three levels of my frendship tier theory, but I am happy she is still my tier one/soul mate.

Your friend in education and parenting,
Douglas Greek EdD

Be Kind

The status of “working” is odd now. You can see this when visiting any restaurant, big-box store, or grocery store. I know the pandemic made it tough for people to go to work. Patients were shortened and empathy was not very common. Masks and protocols made everyday life tough to navigate for most if not all, I’m not sure anyone like mask-wearing. But, still today finding workers or help is tough, why? Is it that we are too close to the pandemic times to move forward like an orbiting rock not able to break free from the pull of a planet? Have people become custom to the “home” life or seclusion? The world is different, I know this. The economy is hurting, people are hurting, and families are hurting.

I say all of this to help me grasp where I believe we are going. Education and the private sector are dealing with burn-out. People are acting out in ways that are unmentionable. We have to find something to hold onto or this out-of-control downward motion will not stop. My dad worked for the same company for over 30 years. His work was concrete and it was VERY taxing. I have seen him throw up sick and still not miss work. I like to think I have the same work drive as he did, but I don’t. He was strong, mind and body, I am not. Society is not the same as when my dad grew up in a two/three-room house without running water or a bathroom. Stong is not a “strong” enough word to describe him; tough maybe. I on the other hand am resilient.

Resiliency is why I write this. We all struggle at some level. Some hide it better than others, but we ALL struggle. It could be a child that tries us every day, a work environment that does not support us, a relationship that may be toxic, and so many other factors that are causing undue stress. The question is how do these people (teachers) get up every day and put a smile on for students? The world right now is tough, but if you look at a teacher’s smiling face and assume they are “okay” you would be wrong. We all struggle but not everyone has to hide it, so be nice. Resiliency is all about how you face obstacles and continue to move forward. When we don’t move forward the negative aspects win. Try your best to be kind today, it could make a big difference in someone’s life.

Be kind.
You partner in education and parenting,

Douglas Greek EdD

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