Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Friendship

I haven't written for a while about friendship, so I thought I would do so again. Usually I write about friendships when something sparks an issue, but this time there is nothing really acting as a catalyst for my writing...just some thoughts.

Up front, I realize that my outlook on friendship differs from most people's in this country, so far as I can tell. Usually what people in general seem to consider friendship, I would instead consider to be merely an acquaintance with a person. And surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly) people in general consider what I call friendship as something reserved only for the person they are married to or dating.

I think this blurs a lot of truths about relationships, feeds a lot of negative stereotypes, and robs people of the possibility of having authentic and reciprocal friendships at all (and perhaps a decent marriage too). And frankly it amounts to people using each other, only being friendly when they need something, and other issues with being taken for granted.

Part of the paradigm could be identified as the the difference between being a 'friend' that catches up with people, or being a present friend that keeps up with another friend. If you are always catching up with people...then I truly doubt that you are actually friends. Perhaps you like each other, and appreciate each other's company at times, when it is convenient. But that isn't friendship.

Real relationships keep up. They make time for each other so that they can share in each other's lives. Sure...there are time when we have busyness catch up with us. Being busy and taking care of life when it comes up is not a bad thing. But if you are ALWAYS busy and simply don't have time for people...having to 'catch up' all the time...then consider that you are not really friends with those people, or at least presently you are not being a friend to them. You are robbing yourself of a friendship, and robbing them of a friendship.

We honestly have very few chances in life to make real, close friends. People are myopic about their life, job, spouse, hobby, or some other commitment of time for the most part. So, I feel like there is always ample opportunity to make acquaintances, and easy to keep those acquaintances for the most part.

So, I hope that you all take from this that there is more to friendships than is generally thought about. Take time for each other...be vulnerable with your feelings...support and depend on each other...encourage each other...be part of each other's lives. None of those things should be exclusive to a marriage. Real friendships keep up with each other and are reciprocal.

You generally have a very limited time on this Earth, and you don't always know how much time you actually get. Don't waste your relationships.