Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The FriendChart Tutorial IV - Exceptions, Consessions and Extra Points

As we move forward into this, the first of the "advanced" tutorials in FriendChartography, it is important to note some vocabulary issues. Whenever the word "Friend" is used henceforth, it is meant to indicate a friend as defined by the FriendChart. Also you will begin to see frequent incidents of what appear to be spelling errors, but are, in fact, labels given to Friend related nouns, which are, admittedly, completely made up.

While the amount of FriendMiles you've put on the ol' Calender Odometer is the surest measure of a TrueFriend, there are other, more esoteric and personal yardsticks with which to quantify Friendship. These, more specific degrees are appropriate for differenitating the value of each distinct Friendship in which one might choose to invest their finite FriendCapital.

Because the FriendChart recognized the beauty of each individual Friendship, but mostly because NewFriends tend to get pretty whiny about the fact that the FriendChart is so obviously protectionist toward LongTermFriends, allowing little opportunity for NewFriends to make headway toward any sort of substantial FriendRanking, FriendPoints can be earned in more unconventional ways, beyond the simple counting of calendar years.

The following is a summary of the ways in which Friendship can be further quantified:

The Roommate Incentive Package:

Friends will inevitably come into conflict in a variety of ways, none so intense as those that come with living together. There may very well be good, conscientious roommates out there. Roommates that are thoughtful, and...what's the opposite of self-absorbed? It doesn't matter.

The author of this tutorial is NOT one of those people. What the author of this tutorial IS, is a firm believer in what Emerson called "A Universal Sense, The Latent Conviction", the belief that what is true to one's self, is true to all men.

Thus, all people must be bad roommates: Inconsiderate, self-serving, and thoughtless. Because it is so difficult to live with someone, especially a friend, and walk away with a friendship intact, extra credit is given to those who accomplish this herculean task.

For every year you live with a friend you will earn an additional year of FriendPoints. This is the highest level of ExtraFriendPoints one can earn, because there is little in this world more difficult than living with a friend.

The WorkFriend's Payday:

While the author of this tutorial has tried tirelessly throughout his FriendCareer to separate work and friendship, in part because he doesn't believe in double dipping, but more so because he lacks the requisite social skills necessary to develop and maintain friendships at work without compromising the facade of professional that makes him employable, he realizes that there is a small, desperate segment of the population that actually seems to thrive in the social arena of the workplace.

While it may not be difficult to maintain personal, daily interaction with your friends at work, the day to day stresses, office politics, and professional backstabbing of the work place can place undue stress on a friendship. It is with this in mind that friends who then work together gain 1/2 of a FriendPoint for each year they work together. These points may also be applied to a FriendRanking retroactively when a friendship which develops out of working together extends into an out of work friendship.

At this time, these are the only two exceptions that the FriendChart is willing to make to the Points System, but the FriendChart is an ever evolving organism, given to placating all sorts of special interests, and is open to suggestions on how it might compromise the points system for your convenience. It is not entirely unlikely that within the week there will be a myriad of new Point Opportunities.

Author's Note: In retrospect, this could have been a much shorter Tutorial, consisting of no more than five sentences.

One Year Living Together = 1 additional point
One Year Working Together = 1/2 additional point


Monday, March 2, 2009

FriendChart Quick Tip I - Dealing With Naysayers

It should come as no surprise, that as you begin to weed out the un-friends from your social group, and bestow the title of "Friend" upon those who are worthy, you'll run into a few disgruntled naysayers.

It is likely that, out of any number of reasons, including, but not limited to petty jealousy, infantile anger, or the application of reason, and logic, naysayers will try to convince you of the invalidity of the FriendChart system.

These individuals tend to be desperate loners who have failed to pass the litmus test of the FreindChart system, and are thus quite discontented. They would like nothing less than to keenly observe, and then point out the glaringly obvious flaws, and flimsy logic which constitute the foundations of the FriendChart.

Killjoys that they are, FriendChart Naysayers will take every opportunity to mention to you that the FriendChart takes
friendship, beautiful institution that it is, and reconstitutes it into a bland, loveless mush, distilled down to a mere mathematical equation.

They are correct, but, unfortunately for them, a major tenet of the FriendChart is obtuse, stubborn, ignorance to the subtleties of human interaction, as well as to the opinions of anyone who is not in your top five, or whom you've known less than one year. So they can just go straight to hell and die.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The FriendChart Tutorial III - Chronological Friend Rating

Time improves all friendships, without exception. (With the exception of fallings out over groundless accusations of favoritism and preference for The Richardson)

Those friends that you've known the longest are therefore, unquestionably the best. LongTime Friends bring many benefits to the Friendship Table, including, but not limited to:

  • They have known you longer than most anyone outside of your family, and yet, despite this preternatural knowledge of your obvious shortcomings, they still choose to remain your friend
  • They're more likely than new acquaintances to bury a body or hide a murder weapon.
  • They have taken painstaking steps to eliminate excess friendships in order to make more time available for waiting around in hopes that you'll call....even just to say hi.
  • They are less likely to screw around with your significant other than new acquaintances
  • They have probably forgiven you for that time you repeated what you were told in confidence about their sexual goings-on with that girl they were seeing in college, resulting in his getting promptly dumped.....probably.
  • They have kept secrets about your many dalliances with receptionists at work, while you hid it from your other "Friends"
  • They have spent countless hours developing a FriendChart just to remind you who's been there all these years.
It is because of these benefits, among others, that make LongTime Friends so valuable. This brings us to our next set of rules about ranking friends.

Friends should be determined and ranked mathematically based on the number of Calendar years you've known them. For example if you've known a friend for five years, they are a better friend than someone you've known for, say, three years.

The number of calendar years you've known a friend translates into a set of FriendChart Points. One calendar year equals one FriendChart point. Thus, a friend of 5 years has earned 5 FriendChart Points. This may seem reduntant and overly simplistic. The FriendChart Points system is actually quite complex. It will be discussed further in The FriendChart Tutorial V - Advanced FriendChartography.

So what does all this mean? What are the implications of attaching a point value to your friendships? Its quite simple really. When you are dealing with multiple friends, which often happens with people inexperienced in working with the Five Finger Friend Method, you are likely to run into difficulties deciding which friends to hang out with and when.

Suppose, hypothetically, that two friends call you to hang out. Friend A, whom you've known for 5 years, calls you to get a drink. Not long after, Friend B, whom you've only known for a paltry 1 year, calls you to go to an animation industry party at a swank Manhatten bar. Who do you hang out with?

Friend A of course. Despite the fact that a party at a cool bar is probably much more fulfilling, entertaining, and ultimately valuable to your career, you've only known Friend B for one year. He only has ONE FriendChart Point. Therefore, he ranks lower than Five Point Friend A.

Is it starting to become clear. The higher a friend's point value, the more you HAVE to hang out with them. When choosing between multiple friend opportunities, you MUST always choose the friend who has the highest point value. To do otherwise would to be to spit in the face of all friendships.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as will be seen in The FriendChart Tutorial IV - Rules, Rankings, and Exceptions. And as points are attributed in more complicated ways (see The FriendChart Tutorial V) it becomes a much more harrowing task to determine who your friends are and which are most important to you.

For now, armed with the knowledge that:

  • You can only have five close friends (and five auxilary or novelty friends)
  • You can only be friends with people who you have known for a substantial amount of time, you hang out with individually, and you have no interest in sexing with
  • Friends are ranked in order of importance based on the number of calendar years you've known them

You should be more than capable of beginning a FriendCleansing, in which you determine your true friends, and stop referring to those people who are merely aquaintances as friends.

Tune in next time for The FriendChart Tutorial IV - Exceptions, Consessions and Extra Points

The FriendChart Tutorial II - Who ISN'T Your Friend

It is important to note that the Five Finger Friendship Method is imperfect, and really only serves to rank friends. Implicit in the system is your presumed knowledge of your friends' identities.

The Five Finger Friendship Method was never meant to be a litmus test for determining friendship status. To be quite honest, it was developed only days before this blog launched. To say that the FriendChart is based on this method is really nothing more than an outright lie.

Don't be alarmed, you'll find that lies and deception are an important, if not necessary aspect of the FriendChart System. Those lies that you tell yourself are particularly important, as it takes quite a bit of self-delusion to be a successful FriendChartographer.

The true basis of for being able to determine and rank your friends is much more scientific than an arbitrary position on your dominant hand.

(author's note: though it was not mentioned in tutorial I, the less dominant hand is for ranking "novelty" friends such as: your friend of the other gender, your gay friend, your minority friend, your dwarf friend, your shemale friend, etc)

So, who are your friends? Well, the FriendChart is less concerned with who IS your friend, and more concerned with who is NOT your friend:
  • Anyone who you have known less than six months is NOT your friend. In fact, adherents to a Fundamentalist FriendChartism dogma would not even accept them as an acquaintance, or allow you to marry them in their church.
  • Anyone who you have not, or cannot hang out with one on one is NOT your friend. For instance, you may enjoy someone's company, you may even see them on a fairly regular basis in groups, but if you don't see each other regularly without the help of a group it means nothing. They are just a Friend of a Friend.(this label will be discussed in greater detail in later tutorials)
  • Anyone with whom you've had, or hope to have sexual intercourse is NOT your friend, they are an ex or a prospect. For Heterosexuals this includes all members of the opposite sex who are unattached, regardless of sexual orientation. For Homosexuals it includes anyone of the same sex, or anyone who you think might be gay because they get so uptight at every mention of homosexuality. If there is a chance you might ever want to have sex with someone, friendship is impossible. (more on this in later tutorials)
So, there you have it. You can now see who is NOT your friend. If you take a close look at your social group you should be able to quickly determine who fits the above criteria. The people left standing should be people who:

  • You've known for more than a year.
  • You see one on one, on a fairly regular basis.
  • You have no chance, or desire to ever have sex with.
Once you've determined who your friends are you might be able to begin applying the Five Finger Friendship Method, but it is likely that, given your relative inexperience with FriendChartography, that you are still functioning under the misguided notion that you have more than five friends.

That's okay. You won't find success in determining your true friends overnight. Chances are that you've been calling every Tom, Dick, and Harry that you meet your friend for some time and its going to take some effort to rehabilitate your view of friendship.

Now that you have the ability to determine who is NOT your friend, the next step is determining who your true friends are. To make this determination you will need to do an in depth analysis of your relationships, beginning with how long you've known each of your so called "friends".

More on that in The FriendChart Tutorial III - Chronological Friend Rating

These are NOT your friends

Monday, January 5, 2009

The FriendChart Tutorial I - The Five Finger Rule

The FriendChart is more than a simple manifestation of one man's most deep seeded insecurities. It is the basis for the identification, categorization, and judgment of all of your closest non-familial relationships.

It is a complex undertaking; placing your friends under such a lens. To aid you, the novice FriendChartographer, in determining who your true friends are and trimming the acquaintances who haven't made the appropriate effort to earn the moniker of "FRIEND", I've put together a brief tutorial of the FriendChart Basics.

Advanced FriendChartography is no simple task. But fear not. You can start sma
ll and work up. You shouldn't expect to be and expert at the outset.

The FriendChart
is based on a simple five finger rule. This rule is founded on the philosophy that each of us has five fingers (when you completely disregard one of your hands) Thus you have room for exactly five friends.

Each finger has a value, and thus your friends can be ranked in relations to their importance in your life.

Take the Index and Middle fingers for instance. These are your two best friend fingers. The FriendChart allows for up to TWO unranked best friends. Best friends are a very special commodity, and as with any precious possession you should always have a spare. These friends are good alone or as a team.

These two best friends are followed by the second tier friend. This friend. The thumb friend is very loyal and can be very helpful. This is the friend who may or may not believe him or herself to have attained best friend status. This is not actually the case, but it would unkind to tell them. Keep it to yourelf and save them for a rainy day.

Most people can get by with just those three best friends. To be quite frank more than three friends tends to get complicated and sometimes uncomfortable. But for those who feel the need to temp fate with such an extravagant number of friends, there is the fourth friend, or the pinky friend. This friend is the cute one. He doesn't really serve a purpose, but he makes for safe friendship investment. He'll probably draw more people to you than your flashier best friends because he puts people at ease with his inoffensive, benign, and affable manner.

This brings us to the final friend. Friend number five, and much like the finger he occupies, he's pretty much useless on his own. He doesn't really stand up well without your entire cadre of friends and when he attempts to it is awkward, almost painful for all involved.

Despite his shortcomings Friend Five is as necessary as any to rounding out the group and creating a Voltronlike Flying Fist of Friendship Fury.
Now that you've got the basics go out, judge your friends. Rank them, re-rank them. Let them know where they stand, and watch as they scramble to improve their position.