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Find Fabulous Friends Faster! (Part 2): The Four Friendship Rings

In Part 1, Christine Arylo helped us define the kinds of friends we would like to have. In part two, she takes it a step further by identifying four friendship rings and the expectations we should have for each. 

By Christine Arylo

Not all girlfriends are the same – we have different friends for different reasons. Some are closer than others… some you connect with because of work or shared interests, or because you’ve known each other for years. When you understand the different levels of friendships, a.k.a. your Friendship Rings, you’re empowered to ask for and get what you need from every friend. Unknown, unmet and unexpressed, expectations are one of the major causes of friendships failure.

Action: Define your expectations for each Friendship Ring. On a piece of paper, draw a set of four concentric circles, one for each ring. Then list your expectations for each. Your expectations should differ depending on the type of friendship.

 Soul Sisters: Your closest circle. You share your lives.

 You may all have different mothers but these women are your heart and soul. They’re here for you in the best and worst of times. You can expect that they will pick up the phone when you call at 2 a.m. with a broken heart; that you can share all of yourself with them—the good and the ugly—and they will love you anyway; and that you can be completely honest about your feelings, even when you’re angry, and that they will listen and work with you to create an even deeper friendship.

Good Time Gals. You have fun with these girls. You share a good time.

You chat. You laugh. You never go too deep. You can expect that they will invite you to do things with you and accept the invitations you give; that they follow through on what they say they are going to do; and that when you’re together you can share what’s going on in your life and get some good advice, but nothing too deep.

Affectionate Aficionados. You work at the same company, belong to the same club, or run in the same social circles, but that’s as far as it goes. You share common interests.

You can expect that you will have a good time when you are together; that you will share your enthusiasm for your common interest but maybe not much more; and that they add good energy to your life, not suck it away or create drama. You can also expect that when that common interests shifts, you may no longer stay friends.

The Original Class. You’ve been friends a long time. But even if you’re not really close anymore, there is still a connection. You share a common history.

You may only talk once a year, if even that, or maybe more, but it’s not the quantity of time that matters, it’s that you can always pick up the phone or email and you will get a response and still feel connected. You can expect that they will be happy to hear from you; that you will keep each other updated on your lives but probably not share the torid details; and that when you hang up the phone they will say nice things about you and not turn your conversation into the gossip of the week.

So now what? Recognize that not all friendships are created equal, and when we try to apply the same rules to all friendships, we usually end up unhappy. The key to any great friendship is expectations and each type of friendship should have different expectations. By understanding your various friendship rings, you can get clear on what your expectations are for each kind of friendship. This will allow you to discern whether your current friendships are giving you what you need and expect, communicate your expectations to your friends, ensure that you don’t have unrealistic expectations, and adjust expectations in cases where you want to keep the friendship but maybe not have it be such a close one.

Every relationship you have in your life is a direct reflection of the honesty, awareness, love, trust and respect you have for yourself. So if it’s fabulous friendships you want, start with creating a great relationship with yourself… it’s the surest way to attract and keep fabulous women into your life.

What do you think, girlfriends? Drop your questions, thoughts, and tips in the comments. We’d love to hear what’s on your mind!

Self-love expert Christine Arylo is an inspirational catalyst who takes a fresh approach to redefining self-love for today’s woman as hip, hot and hers. As an author, speaker, and coach, Arylo is an expert at helping women to get the success and happiness they want by living and loving their most real and wise selves first. She is the author of Choosing ME Before WE, Every Woman’s Guide to Life and Love (, the creator of the 20-day program, Create Fabulous Friendships, and the founder of the international Madly in Love with ME™ movement ( She has appeared on national television and syndicated radio shows across the country, and her opinions have been featured in places like the San Francisco Chronicle, and Daily Om.


  1. This sums it up well. Unfortunatly, I have only friends in the Original Class area. Maybe one or two in the AA area, but that is it. I LONG for friends in the top two areas and keep trying but failing miserably to have them. I’ve joined groups, I am the one who is ALWAYS there when others need me-I go that extra step-but no on ever seems willing to reciprocate. Suggestions?

    Comment by Chucker — June 14, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

  2. Hi Chucker, thanks for the post! In response to your request for suggestions… two things pop out to me in your email 1. I am the one who is ALWAYS there for others and 2. No one goes that extra step. Two warning signs for me that you are giving more than you are getting. Here are some thoughts…

    Whether we like it or not, every one of our relationships starts with ME, so the only way to solve your problem is to start with you. And you’ll want to address it on a few levels

    1. How you are showing up in your relationships. We teach people how to treat us. If you are always giving, and not getting, stop giving so much to people who can’t give back or won’t give back. Before you go that extra mile, make sure that you are going it for a friend who is worth it.

    which leads to #2.

    2. Pick people who want to have close relationships, not people who want to stay on the outer circles. It sounds like those rings are full for you. And know that the inner circles takes time to develop, so have some patience. The best thing you can do for yourself to start attracting other women who want closer connection (and there are alot of them out there) is:

    a. Write your Friend Manifesta — two to three paragraphs that describe who the women are that you want to be friends with. Get specific. Talk about who she is, what she cares about… paint a vivid picture of her, and I promise you that you will start attracting those type of women in your life.

    b. Ask yourself, what is it that I could be doing to avoid or push away intimate connection with other women. Often times when we arent getting the intimacy we want, it’s because we arent really able to give it or take it. See what it inside of you that could be causing a block.

    c. Set clear expectations for each level of your friendship ring – and the expectations will be different for each. This will help you stop giving yourself away in relationships that are meant to stay more casual, and will help you create the space to attract the deeper friendships you want.

    Finding and having great friendships is no different than finding and having great romantic relationships… so don’t despair, just get clear and claim what you want. You’ll be surprised how fast it shows up, without you having to work so hard to make it happen.

    Let me know how it goes!
    Christine Arylo
    Inspirational Catalyst and Self-Love Expert

    Comment by Christine Arylo — June 14, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

  3. Great article.

    I have a degree in Communication Theory and recall learning that a healthy person knows how to communicate with different people. Healthy people speak differently with their parents than their friends or children. The same is true for friends. We discuss different things with our Soul Sisters than those important Original Class gals. The trick is listening and learning which is which and enjoying them all. While Chucker may be longing for a Soul Sister, the truth is when you are that close it can be hard to be light and free of what is vexing you.

    Consider your feelings as you do your body. Exercise modesty until modesty is not required. Just as you wouldn’t strip naked out of the blue for the delivery boy (unless you are very naughty) don’t show your soul to a co-worker. But should you get to know that co-worker slowly over time and each step is interesting, meaningful and mutual than it will not be an emotional stripping but a respectful enjoyment of sharing great things with each other.

    It’s hard when you are lonely but I once took a man vacation and took all the effort and money I put into boyfriends and put it into pampering and caring for myself. It was the ticket. Do for yourself what you do for others.

    There was a movie where a lonely little girl told a story of how her mother told her to have the most fun by herself and others would want to join her. Soon she had lots of friends. My nephew (age 5) moved to a new town. He wanted to find new friends but no one was home. He told my sister (his mother) that he knew what to do and took his play guitar and started playing music in the front yard. My sister prepared for his disappointment and made cookies. She needed them because within 10 minutes there were 6 kids in her front yard.

    Have faith. Enjoy your own company. Be receptive to others for who they are. The rest will come. Best of luck.


    Comment by xine — June 15, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

  4. Thank you for the advice. Very good suggestions and I am going to do my best to explore them and put them into action! :-)

    Comment by Chucker — June 20, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

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