Nick Cave’s Three Levels of Friendship

“There seems to me to be three levels of friendship.

First there is the friend who you go out and eat with, or get pissed with, who you go with to the cinema or a gig — you know, have a shared experience with.

The second kind of friend is one who you can ask a favour of, who will look after you in a jam, will lend you money, or drive you to the hospital in the middle of the night, someone who has your back — that kind of friend.

The third level of friendship is one where your friend brings out the best in you, who amplifies the righteous aspects of your nature, who loves you enough to be honest with you, who challenges you, and who makes you a better person.

None of these levels are mutually exclusive and sometimes you find someone who fulfils all of these categories. If you find a friend like that, hang on to him or her. They are rare.”

-Nick Cave, “Is it important to have friends?” TheRedHandFiles.com. November 2021.

Related: Levels of Friendship in Arabic, How To Make Friends as an Adult, A Keltner List for Relationships, and The Happiness of Others.

Levels of Friendship in Arabic

  1. Zameel – someone you have a nodding acquaintance with
  2. Jalees – someone you’re comfortable sitting with for a period of time
  3. Sameer – you have good conversation with them
  4. Nadeem – a drinking companion (just tea) that you might call when you’re free
  5. Sahib – someone who’s concerned for your wellbeing
  6. Rafeeq – someone you can depend upon, you’d probably go on holiday with them
  7. Sadeeq – a true friend, someone who doesn’t befriend you for an ulterior motive
  8. Khaleel – an intimate friend, someone whose presence makes you happy
  9. Anees – someone with whom you’re really comfortable and familiar
  10. Najiyy – a confidant, someone you trust deeply
  11. Safiyy – your best friend, someone you’ve chosen over other friends
  12. Qareen – someone who’s inseparable from you, you know how they think (and vice versa)

One interesting thing I notice is that in the Bengali language, Sahib is used as an honorific, like Sir, and I suspect that it originates from the Mughal Empire and has similar roots.