“How many people have you met?” I ask, vaguely.
Since acquiring Facebook, I have collected approximately 800 friends. Probably at least 150 of those are fake accounts, enterprises, duplicates, or strangers who have added me. But if I lean back on my faux leather couch, chin tilted to the ceiling, and really think about it, I’d have to say I’ve met perhaps… eight people. Eight people in total, give or take one or two. Hundreds of different human beings, to be sure, but probably only about eight archetypes that continuously circle in and out of my life, like Halley’s Comet. Maybe it’s different for you, Dear Reader, but at any given moment in my life, I find I am always surrounded by these eight people:
1.) The Health Guru
This is the person who is always knowledgeable about diet and exercise. They are the person I instinctively turn to when I want to find out how to stop feeling sluggish, or the fastest natural way to cure a cold, or the best way to increase the strength in my knees. These are the people who invite me to do outdoor activities, and who inspire me to take good care of myself.
2.) The Spiritual Guide
I don’t always know in which direction my life should be heading, but the spiritual guide is the person who will always listen to my concerns, offer me advice, and help me find the path that I was unable to find on my own. I would say that the Spiritual Guide is also the person who pushes me to be better, and to challenge myself. They are the ones who bring me out of the house and invite me to cultural events.
3.) The Moral Compass
Being an adult means sometimes not knowing the right thing to do. Luckily, when I find myself in such a quandary, I have a Moral Compass who will take me aside, and kindly explain to me the correct way to treat other human beings. When the paths of virtue and sin become convoluted, I can rely on my Moral Compass to set me on the right course.
4.) The Drinking Companion
Alcohol need not be involved, but we all need that friend with whom we can just shoot the breeze. This is the easy friend; the one without pretense. My Drinking Companion is the person who allows me to step outside of the cyclone of my existence and observe the events of my life from a relaxed distance. Conversation is broad as opposed to deep, but sometimes those light conversations are exactly what I need.
5.) The Nuisance
When examining the archetypes in my life I cannot help but notice that there is almost always someone in it that has a tendency to get on my nerves. They’re not bad people, but they do have a tendency to try my patience a great deal more than the rest of my friends. It’s terrible to speak negatively of people, but at least acknowledging the nuisance in my life gives me the patience to enjoy their company.
6.) The Love Interest
I am always in love. Or, at least, I always have a crush on someone. Often, nothing comes from this, and when the person I love passes out of my life, a new love interest will inevitably rear their gorgeous head and turn my world upside down.
7.) The Bad Influence
A lot of people do drugs, I’ve realised. A lot of people drink a lot too. Most people have their vices, and sadly some people allow their vices to overcome them. I feel like I’ve done a good job so far of avoiding too many bad influences in my life, but I think it’s always good to have the Bad Influence around to draw you out of your shell and make you go a bit crazy once in a while.
8.) The Neophyte
Look around and you will always find someone who is slightly less experienced that you. Someone who is new on the job, or new in town. They won’t always ask for help, but you’ll sense that they need it. Getting your life on an even keel doesn’t count for much if you can’t pull others on board with you.
Now, it’s important to remember that people shouldn’t be put into boxes. Just because someone is an archetype to you doesn’t mean that they aren’t so much more as well. But it’s in our nature to find patterns, and this is just another pattern that I’ve observed.
I am also almost certain that there are many more archetypes than the ones I have listed here, but this is the general idea. Sometimes each archetype exists within a different human being. Sometimes several archetypes can be encompassed by one person. Sometimes, a person that you know might change from one archetype to another during the time that you know them. But it seems to me that, without fail, I always have these eight influences in my life.
I cannot overstate the value that many people have brought into my life. I have been blessed with the honour of crossing paths with some of the finest souls on the planet. But my lifestyle means that my social circle tends to renew itself every six months or so, with old friends leaving and new friends stepping into my world. In all of those cycles I have always observed the same recurring archetypes.
I am just about certain that this idea of the archetypes in our lives is not an original one. I’m sure you’ve noticed these pattern in your life too, Dear Reader. But in recent weeks I’ve been turning this idea over in my mind, and I began to look inward and ask myself which archetype I am. When I asked myself the question, the answer was immediately evident: I am the Main Character, of course!
But sadly I am the main character only in my universe. For everyone else, I am just a passing influence. The truth is, I don’t know what kind of archetype I am, but I think it is profoundly important to acknowledge that most people will see me as one thing or another. I would bet that I am a different archetype to different people. Perhaps some people see me as the Health Guru, or the Drinking Buddy. I’d hate to be someone’s Nuisance, but it’s possible. I’m fairly certain that I’m no one’s Bad Influence, but it would be nice to think that I am someone’s Love Interest.
The point is, when engaging with a friend, it might help to consider who that friend thinks they’re talking to. Do they want you to be their Spiritual Guide, or your Drinking Companion. Are they looking for health advice or moral guidance? Hopefully, once you figure out who you are to different people, then you would start to become a better human being. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want to be?