Friend is a term that I see thrown around carelessly on a daily basis. I think that as children, we are ingrained with the notion that friend should be used in a broad sense. Anyone that you didn’t hate, but knew randomly, was a friend. As we grow older and experience these so-called friends disappoint, deceive, and diminish their value to us, we realize that friend needs to have a deeper connotation. Many of these “friends” are actually associates or acquaintances. Some people still will use friend in a broad sense, and may even ask what the difference between the two terms? Well no worries, I’m here to help!

Here are a few ways to know the difference between a friend and an associate.

Coworkers vs. Friends

This one has some gray area. Most of the time, you see your coworkers more than your own family. You all spend enough time with one another. You get to know them better, understand their likes and dislikes, and have a grasp on their personality. This might cause you to consider these people friends, but answer this: Can you bring your coworkers around your current non-work friends and not feel uncomfortable? If you can’t then they are strictly coworkers, nothing more. If you feel the need to separate your coworkers from your life outside the workplace, then they are far from friends!

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The Test of Time

I’m blessed to have great friends in my life. The older we get, I realize that we can’t just hang on the block, passing the time talking about nothing for an entire summer. We all grow up, get busy, and eventually have to tackle real life problems. I may go months without speaking to some people, but when we do speak, we never miss a beat. The cordiality of the conversation is never false, and the love never wanes. Meanwhile, I have trouble remembering people’s names I met yesterday! In my experiences, if they cannot stand the test of time, you merely associate with them.

 The Money Test

If the person you called a friend needed money, a place to stay, the clothes off of your back, or a decent meal, would you provide it for them? If you were in dire need of a loan or needed a huge favor, would you feel comfortable asking them? We all know that we have friends who can and cannot be counted on in certain clutch circumstances. If the intentions are pure and you aren’t hesitant, then you can consider them friends. If this seems foreign to you, then most likely your friend is really an associate. I don’t lend money or anything like that for people who didn’t need or deserve the problems.

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Trust is huge. This is a strong, if not THE strongest determining factor to differentiate friends from associates. Do you feel comfortable leaving this person in your house alone? Would you give this person the password to your email to send a time sensitive message while you’re unavailable to reach a computer? Would you put your life in their hands in any way, shape or form? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then chances are that person is an associate. The friends I have in my life, I know that I can trust them with any and everything. No hesitation or doubt crosses my mind because they have proven themselves throughout the time we’ve been acquainted and built enough credit for me to trust them unconditionally. That’s a real friend.

How do you differentiate between friends and associates? Is there a grey area? Discuss with us today!

This is another exerpt from my e-book Fly On The Wall. Go HERE to download if you haven’t read it yet! Let me know what you think!