I am so thankful for boundaries. There used to be a time in my life that I had unreasonable expectations of people. I realized that I was expecting an associate to be a friend. I think it is important to make a decision to know what the difference between a friendship and an association. Let us start by defining these two terms. These are my definitions and please feel free to make your own. Please give me feedback in the comments or on my new Instagram account (adascorner1). I want to connect and communicate with my readers.
An associate is someone who is in my life because of a commonality. We could work together, belong to the same organization, have a friend in common and so on. The key is that our connection is based on this common thing. So as long as we work together, we are associated with one another. If the common thing is removed, we may no longer be associated with one another. I think the problem is when we expect someone who is an associate to be a friend. If we only spend time with one another at work and never off the clock, we are coworkers. If I cannot talk to you beyond the thing or person that connects us, we are associates. There is nothing wrong with having an associate but you have to know the difference.
A friend is someone who is tied to you beyond an association. You may have started out as associates but connect on a deeper level. You sacrifice time to spend time with one another. You communicate regularly. Your friends and family know about this person. It is not unusual to go on vacations, eat meals together, exchange gifts and so one. A friend is someone who you should be able to call on during good, bad and in between times. If you only hear from someone during good or bad times, that person is fair-weathered and should not have the title friend attached to their name.
So since we know the difference, it is time to make a concerted effort to establish boundaries between your associates and friends. If you spend your time trying to convert every associate into a friendship, you neglect your true friendship. If an association organically grows into a friendship, that is great. If a friendship becomes an association, that is fine also. Sometimes during different seasons, a friendship that suites us a decade ago may not line up with where we are going now. That is okay. This is the perfect time to evaluate how we are spending our time and make sure that we are using our time wisely. I am not standing on a soap box but I am very mindful of how I am using my time when it comes to my associates and friendship. Have a great week and know that you are the prize.