Among hundreds of students we meet in school or the ones we meet at the workplace, we finally become close and attain a level of friendship with very few people. So like love, friendship also goes through our internal filter and as we choose our lovers unconsciously, even our friends are chosen unconsciously as we intuitively understand who could be our true friends. Apart from the fact that there is this unconscious and intuitive filter which we exercise when we choose our friends or lovers, we also do get consciously attracted to people with whom we develop long lasting relationships and friendships. The theory here is that we choose friends who may look, talk or think like we do and usually there is this mental rapport from the very beginning. Just as love could happen at first sight, friendship could also begin with 'like' at first sight.
The Random Friendship
This "liking" could have several gradations and in some cases you would simply like to remain as contact as is the case in social networking. You simply follow a person on twitter or add someone as friend on Facebook because there is this basic or unconscious liking or at least a realization that there could be some gain from the virtual relationship. However this is the first superficial layer of friendship just as you would smile at or share a piece of news with a complete stranger without ever keeping in touch or meeting again. This sort of friendship is the 'random friendship' variety.
For example, you give a speech at a conference and some people ask you questions and you answer them, to you these are your listeners but in this basic interaction there is a sense of rapport and almost an initial level of friendship. These, your listeners who choose to communicate with you are your random friends and they fulfil your interaction and communication needs.
The Distal Friendship
This is the next stage in which there is some unconscious or conscious expectation from the friendship and there may be a conscious sexual or emotional attraction. This sort of friendship is with people you regularly communicate with and you are also most likely interested in their activities. Distal friends are people you may or may not meet but are people with whom you want to maintain a long term and meaningful relationship and in most cases you have some knowledge of what goes on in their social or personal lives. You simply know that you want to remain in touch with such friends and they are more than just contacts. These friends fulfill our power and recognition needs as with such friends we are assured that there are people in the world who care about us and are interested in our lives, dreams and achievements.
Friendship of Close Proximal Variety
The third stage and type of friendship is the friendship between family members, close school friends, close workmates and friendship between spouses and lovers. In this sort of friendship there could be many expectations and there is sometimes an intuitive emotional connection. The initial reason for friendship could be physical attraction as in spouses or simply emotional connection as with family members or there could be a shared life and shared physical activity as in case of school or work friends. The close or proximal friends would know most details of your life and this sort of friendship entails expectations of sharing which may or may not be realistically possible. For example if sons and daughters leave home to work or study abroad, the parents who are still close friends would expect that their children would talk to them every week and this may not always be feasible. These close or proximal friends or stage of friendship fulfills our basic security, love and safety needs.
Some individuals have more random friends than others and are thus of outgoing extroverted personality. These individuals are generally more curious about the world, have leadership are more open and communicative, they are also possibly very creative. However their primary needs are for social interaction and communication.
Like poets and artists, some are completely introverted who like to work on their own and lean heavily on their close network of friends and family members. Such individuals may have limited social contacts and very few random contacts and may not enjoy leadership positions. In some cases their introversion or aloofness would overshadow any leadership skills they do have. Such individuals could be very creative as well. In this case close friendship which fulfills love, safety and security needs are the primary needs of such individuals and such individuals are more into emotion and security, or home and family oriented rather than communication or recognition oriented.
There is always another type having more distal friends or social contacts with whom they are neither too close nor are they completely aloof. Such individuals have a wide range of social contacts with expectations but few random contacts and they are of mixed extroverted-introverted personality pattern.
Meaning, on a scale of 10, their extroversion would be a 5 to 7. The primary need for such individuals is power or recognition. Of course this could have varied possibilities as with public or social figures and personalities such as writers, actors or politicians, there will naturally be more random contacts, yet as natural preference some public personalities will prefer social recognition as opposed to social communication. This preference is the basis of their social personality and would define the kind of friendship they choose to have.