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.