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The 12 Types of Friends at HBS

1. The “Text-Message Only Please, No Calls” Friends
My cell phone minutes are precious. You? Not so much. I mean, we’re friends, but let’s be honest. The information that you and I need to exchange is minimal. “Meet me here.”, “Party’s at 8”, “Bocce on OWA lawn?”, “Movie tonight?” Don’t even think about trying to actually call me. I won’t pick up. I’ll screen your call and text you back with a “What’s up?”

2. The “We Should Do Something Sometime” Friend
Your intentions are so pure and if there was more time in the day, I’d probably do stuff with you more often. Fun stuff. Head-splittingly fun stuff. But, come on, nobody can have more than three inner circle friends at any one time. We’re in each other’s outer circles. We’re pinch hitters, backup catchers, perfect for when your inner circle is out of town. So let’s make a deal, ok? Let’s see each other in passing once in a while. Maybe it’s in between classes. Maybe it’s out at a bar when we overuse phrases like “Seriously” and “I mean it.” Wherever it is, we just have to promise each other that we should do something, sometime, soon. Seriously. I mean it. It’s been way too long. We have to hang out. Maybe next week or the week after?

3. The “We Should Do Something Sometime” Friend-With Access To A Calendar!
Uh-oh! This is the “We should do something sometime” friend, but they have their calendar right in their cell phone! Your “Maybe next week or the week after?” prompts them to flip through their calendar and call you on it. “How about Wednesday in 7 weeks at 1 PM for a 25 minute lunch?,” they ask. What do you do? You have to say yes. PDA’s suck.

4. The “Do You Want Ice With That?” Friend
What a great friend! This is the person who — while sitting on the couches in Spangler — announces that they’re going to get a glass of water, and wants to know if you want one, too. When you say yes, they ask if you want ice in it. Sometimes they even ask “How much ice?” Thanks, Icy. By the way, Icy friends have mastered the two-cups-at-the-same-time fill up move. Veteran move. Always a pretty sight.

5. The “Waiting For Someone Outside Spangler Cafeteria For Lunch Friends”
We’ve all seen them. We’ve all been them. Perhaps darting eyes glancing at the TVs, text-messaging on their cell phones or looking at their watches. These are the people who you meet for lunch in front of the cafeteria, instead of inside of the cafeteria. Your buddies from the section? Inside the caf, inside the caf. Your RC or EC friend? Person you’re asking for job help? Rando #2 in your Learning Team? In front of the caf, in front of the caf. Don’t worry. You don’t look like a loser waiting there. We understand.

6. The “Other Year” Friends
These friends always start out well. Friends from your college days, your past job, or your old high school turn up at HBS, too! They’re the year ahead of you or the year behind you, but that won’t keep us apart! Now’s the perfect time to catch up, hang out together! But then.it happens. The section pulse starts beating, pumping, throbbing, sucking up your free time. Social calendars collide, retreats beckon, and Hell Weeks and vacation days just don’t line up. I’m sorry, Other Year Friends, but I know you don’t have time for me, either.

7. The “Bathroom Line” Friends
Maybe this only happens to guys, but we hope not. The rush happens after class and you race to that One-Urinal architectural joke in Hawes or to the one men’s bathroom servicing five RC sections. Suddenly you’re in the same ole line, with the same ole faces. Over time these faces start to look familiar. You start to be a little more friendly. Hey, our bladder clocks have something in common, maybe we do, too. Why are you staring at me? Please stop.

8. The “We Do All The Same Things So We Know Each Other’s Faces But Not Each Other’s Names” Friends
I play squash, you play squash. I’m on the back left treadmill, you’re on the second treadmill from the back left. I eat facing the wall in Spangler, so do you. I like the Alcoves on the third floor of Spangler, and I know you’re gunning for the sunny one with good cell phone reception, too. I know your face and I know you know mine. But we don’t know each other’s names. How could we? We’re friends by association, through our mutual love of whatever we do. We’re also enemies by association, since if I lose the squash court, back treadmill, sunny alcove, or corner table, I know it’s your greedy face that took it from me. Damn your no name face.

9. The “We Met Before Once or Twice, But I Forget Your Name” Friends
I always say “What’s up” to you when I see you in Spangler. Maybe I overdo it a bit and do an overly effusive “HELLO!” to make up for the fact that I don’t know your name. Sometimes, whether you realize or not, I say “Hi, Gerar.hkshna.” and just mumble an unintelligible form of what might be your name. You don’t flinch because you don’t remember my name either. We share something. A lack of memory. An innate inability to care enough. Realistic cordiality. It’s something. One thing we do know though: I won’t ever forget that I forget your name. And you know, that is something.

10. The “Section Divides Keep Us Apart But We Could Be Awesome Friends” Friends
I see you across the section room laughing at the same jokes. We give the obligatory nod and smile as we pass each other in the tunnel from Spangler to Aldrich. We even chit chat occasionally about how funny our BGIE professor can be. So much potential for us to be friends, but the section barriers to friendship entry will forever be high. We can crack this divide! Perhaps through a Facebook.com message. Or a cup of Fro-yo? Wait, you’re lactose intolerant? It will never work.

11. The “Awkward Moment In Our Past” Friends
You hooked up once. Not that awkward. Just a fling. That was fun and harmless. Twice. Still ok. You’re adults! Are you though? Oh crap. Maybe you’re not. Three times. The rumor mill goes into overdrive. It’s anyone’s game now. Jake’s probably told everyone. Four times? Well, now you’re just being silly. Why did you go and do that? Wow. Now you have to either have a talk or never talk to them again. Pick one. More than 5 times. Um, yeah. You’re dating. Yeah, you are. What’s that? You’re in the same section?! Your friend is dating her friend? How dumb are you? Long term planning! Sustainability! Have you learned nothing??!!

12. The “My Friends Are Friends With Your Friends So I Guess We’re Friends, Too” Friends
I think Dave’s friend’s name is Don. No, wait. It’s Sal. Sal Sulano? Sal Sanderson. No, it’s Sal Sudakawatz. Dammit. Is it even Sal? This is weird. Here he comes. Oh crap.

Her: Hi! How’s it going?
You: Good how are you? What’s shakin’? (Inner voice: Did I just say that?! What’s shakin’?’ I’m a jerk.)
Her: Not much. Are you going to Daedalus Tuesdays tonight?
You: Absolutely. Are you kidding? Dave is going, right?
Her: I think so. He was so funny last time we went! I really like that place. Always a lot of fun.
You: Yeah. Good times. Oh, I’m sorry [turns to his right], have you met my friend, Denise?
Her: Um, yyyes, I think we had BSSE together. I’m Sanjay Gupta.”
(Inner voice: It worked! The ole name bait and switch! Sanjay Gupta!!! Of course!!!)

Visit Anthony and Neil next week when the Americanadian celebrates its 5th Anniversary by examining the pitfalls of post-HBS behavior. Yes. We just said “post-HBS.” Don’t cry for me, Argentina.

April 17, 2007
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