Ten months ago I learned that Friendship is all about Access. Today I invite you to consider friendships from this unusual angle. The Newcomer finds a person who could potentially be a Good Friend. It is up to that Good Friend to give the Newcomer a certain amount of access to his or her already busy life. Good Friend has the choice to give the Newcomer three types of access: Audience, Back Stage or Total. Please know that no matter what kind of access you have, you are always entitled "friend."
Audience Access • This is the most common type of access that Newcomers are granted. The audience pays for a ticket and sticks around the concert Good Friend is giving until the show is over. You may have access to his person in church or at the golf club during functions where everyone else is invited and welcome. After the meeting or function is over, everyone goes home and no real contact is made. It is common for Newcomer to hear things such as 'I love you Newcomer' and 'let's hang out soon' but the meetings outside of this main function rarely happen unless you have this next kind of access: the Back Stage Access.
Back Stage Access • people with Back Stage Access to Good Friend's show are plain lucky. While there, they take photos so they will never forget the experience. They are treated as royalty and given more personal attention by Good Friend. This kind of access gives you the ability to ask more questions about Good Friend and learn a little more about his or her accomplishments. The key thing to remember here is that Back Stage Access is all about you going to Good Friends' turf. The relationship is mostly about them and again, once they get sleepy or hungry the party is over. Unless you have this most envied type of access: Total Acess.
Total Access • you will find a few people with Total Access to Good Friend's life. If you have this type of access you get to see everything about this person's life. You see them without makeup, hungry, after a good cry as well as during their best and proudest times. The circle of people with Total Access passes to Good Friend's life is really small. One just dreams of being part of it. This circle is the most influential of all because there is the chance of developing a healthy, two-way relationship with Good Friend. Others may see you as part of the entourage but you are really an influencer, a shoulder to lean on and piece of reality when needed.
Think about the friends you have. How much access do you really have to their lives? How much influence do you really have to make a positive impact? Is it a two-way relationship or is it plain Toxic?
*Photo credits: Flickr. Click on photo to see specific credit info.