Let’s be honest with one another. Friendships can be hard. Even more, theatre friendships can be a fickle thing. While some are certainly genuine and trustworthy, just as many are superficial and based on convenience/advantages. In one month, you think you’ve met the best friend you’ll ever have and by the next show, they’ve stabbed you in the back. It’s a vicious cycle.
I’ve seen countless instances of people obsessing over the status of their friendships – trying to decipher “what they meant when they said that” or “they haven’t wanted to do lunch in a month”.
Having all of that going through your head can drive a person insane. Trust me, I know. It happened to me.
Years ago I was seriously hurt by someone who I thought was a great friend. Betrayed to the point where I didn’t know who I could trust anymore. It was then that I decided that I was never going to let that happen again. So I devised a system that would save me from obsessing over friendships and I just so happened to be eating ice cream at the time.
So I named it “The Neapolitan Ice Cream Friendship System” and I swear it works.
Neapolitan ice cream is a tasty creation that combines sections of Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate ice cream together.
The Neapolitan Ice Cream Friendship System allows you to categorize the people in your life to ease the burden of trying to figure out who to trust, who really values you as a friend and who you can’t trust at all. It’s designed to help prevent you from constantly being hurt by people who you thought were your best friends.
As silly(or crazy) as it sounds, it’s helped me, as well as pretty much everyone I’ve told it to, on many occasions. Here’s how it breaks down.
Take a moment and think about who the most special people are in your life. Who do you trust the most? Whose opinions do you value the most? Who are the first people you would call to share good news with or whose shoulders you would need immediately?
If you have a group of these people, then this your Strawberry section. Named here because Strawberry is a fruit and fruit is good for you.
These are the best friends you could possibly have. It’s okay if this number is small, sometimes that’s better. And chances are, if these people are in your Strawberry section, you’re in theirs too.
On the other hand, these are the people whose betrayal will hurt the most. You have trusted these folks 100% with everything in your life. When they hurt you, it’s going to rock your world and it’s supposed to.
In my lifetime this has happened to me three times with three different people. The first because I found out that one of my best friends was stealing from me. The second because they had turned their back on me when I needed them the most. The third, well, let’s just say friendship is a two-way street and when calls, texts and invites are continuously rejected, it’s going to take its toll.
All three hurt like hell, the third one still stings a bit.
But that’s only three times in the past 10 years I can recall being truly hurt by people I thought I was close to.
So if you’ve recently felt the same way, chances are it was somebody in your Strawberry section. But more than not, these people will never let you down.
The Vanilla section is for those friends who you enjoy being around, will see at parties, etc. But not the folks you would necessarily consider for your wedding party. This is more than not, where I see the over dramatization of friendship statuses.
You like hanging out with them, talking, doing shows with all of these people and have no ill-will towards any of them. On the other hand, if you lost touch or heard that they were trashing you behind your back, it wouldn’t destroy your happiness. It might sting, but because they’re not your Strawberry folks, it’s not going to put you in a state of depression.
The number of people in this group is going to be large. And again, that’s not a bad thing. These are people you enjoy and who enjoy you. But let’s be honest, sit down and come up with a wedding party of 7-8 people, the folks not in the party? This is your Vanilla section.
Having too much Chocolate is bad for you. So your chocolate section consists of the folks who have either hurt you irrevocably, you can’t trust or you actively dislike. Again, it’s good if this number is small.
While you will never dwell on these folks, knowing who they are is important. Because this way if you hear them trashing you, you’re not going to even care.
This section truly sucks to acknowledge but it is important.
This system isn’t for everyone. It’s one of those ideas that sounds exceedingly silly but when you really think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.
And again, I can’t tell you how many times it’s saved me from worrying about friendships and even more importantly, what people think about me. If you don’t believe me, if you’re going through a similar situation, sit down and think about this system. I swear it will make you feel a whole lot better.