Girlfriendship Fun With Archetypes
Have you ever heard of archetypes? I’ve pinned a version of the model to our Pinterest board, so be sure to check it out. In the meantime, I’ll give you some basics:
- They’re an ancient Greek concept, and Psychologist Carl Jung modernized them
- Jung believed that humans possess a set of personality traits that can be symbolized by one of the 12 archetypes
- Each archetype has its own set of values, meanings, strengths, and weaknesses and can be one way to predict how a person will act
Not sure if you were aware, but we consumers encounter archetypes every single day—they are integral to how companies build and market their brand. (In fact, I used the concept of archetypes when I was forming Twin Cities Lyme Foundation.) Strategists will assign their brand an archetype, and then use its attributes to shape the graphics, words, colors, size—all the “stuff” used to advertise the product. Their goal? To appeal to your subconscious and make you a loyal customer. Heavy heavy stuff isn't it?
So. What’s my point?
So what does this have to do with girlfriendships? I’ll start with this: I identify with many of them, but these four archetypes are the ones I have been around for years:
- Caregiver, known for protecting and caring for others
- Creator, described as imaginative, inventive and driven to build things of enduring meaning and value
- Jester, who is known to bring joy through humor, fun, irreverence and some mischief (Hello!)
- Ruler, seeks to prevent chaos by taking control. A lover of policies and procedures, the Ruler is drawn to things that are substantial, timeless, and high quality
Next, I thought, what if I applied archetypes to my besties? True, I’ve written about how I don’t like labels, and I certainly know how complex people can be. But aren’t friendships all about hanging with people who share your values, make you a better person because of their strengths, and drive you crazy with their (ahem) weaknesses? Maybe archetypes could offer a way to predict how a friend will act. Or maybe that person is my friend because she appeals to my conscious and subconscious needs.
I pride myself on being very in tune with my girlfriends. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way, but I do my best at making an effort. I tend to gather friends, so sometimes I find myself with many of them from many different “groups”. It has been said that I am “the glue that binds some of these women together and without me, they wouldn’t know one another”. I take pride in those words because I truly believe that friendships are about community, about being part of each other's lives,and of course it is all about the love.
So I had some fun and thought about what archetypes describe my bffs. Turns out that Charlie is also Caregiver. She takes after her mom this way. I know I can rely on her for a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on and she will take care of me. I have known her since I was 12 and wow! I still know she will always be there for me.
Sydney is the Creator. She is the one to dream up ideas and make things happen. Her choreography was a love of hers since we were in the sixth grade and now it is what she does for a living. I’m very proud of her and glad she found her niche in life to provide such happiness.
Mallory is the Jester and omg she is the Jester! The stories about her are so funny. In order to hear them you would need to be sitting on the toilet just so you didn’t pee your pants. When her nose is running, she shoves sheets of Kleenex up a nostril and walks around like that. She makes up words that don’t even make sense, but we all laugh and question what the heck she is saying. Brace yourself! This is for mature readers only! In seventh grade she stabbed a friend’s piece of poop with a fork, chased her down the hall with it, threw it at her, and it made a skid mark on the ceiling. Who does stuff like that?! Only jesters! Honestly, I could go on, she’s the funniest in the bunch!
Shannon however, has transitioned over the years and it has been a very interesting transformation from my vantage point. She once was the Ruler. Very controlling, dominant, had to always be in the middle of all of it. Now, she is more of the Sage. She takes time to listen with her whole heart and mind. She reflects on what is said and selflessly provides comfort and love at all times. The old Shannon was wild and crazy, just like me. The new Shannon is more poised and thoughtful and I really love having besties who possess those qualities!
I could go on and analyze all of my friends, but you don’t have enough time to read that much. Girlfriendships are made up of many different archetypes. Some clash, some mesh, most you just need to make an effort to respect the differences. .
Is that why we have more than 40 years of friendship? Maybe. I’ll have to ask them. I’ll be interested to hear what they have to say about my assessment. It will be an entertaining discussion the next time we get together.
Next time you're together with your friends, see if you can assign archetypes. Let me know how it turns out.
I love that you were with me today. See you next week!