On Friendship 

Old friends are like old songs. You hit rewind, play, fast forward so many times. You know all the lyrics. You know the base line. You know the pause. The riff.

Good old friends are like that. You know them so well you can imagine what they’d say or do even when they’re not there.

Good friends are the ones that don’t change just because they got married, or a new job, or were elected governor, or won the lottery. You know their lyrics. They’re harmonious and consistent. Sometimes better, fuller, richer but never discordant or jarring.

Sometimes they play off key. Sometimes they lose their joy. Sometimes they lose their voice. Over the years some pruning happens. Some stick. Some fall away. We’re never going to make friends like we used to. Or share those intense bonding experiences of youth.

If you don’t see joy on their face you go away. Unless there is joy between you why bother to stay. Life is too short to be less than the best you can make of it. Mutual joy, unadulterated joy is friendship.

Sometimes friends disagree. Sometimes they don’t talk to each for awhile. Then one day they meet and no one would know they didn’t speak yesterday. Because life happens and you can’t always take it personally.

Can we be friends if we don’t share beliefs and values? Don’t you have friends that believe in God, and Church, and the Illuminati? Friends that believe in Revolution and condone fascism?

Don’t you have stingy friends? And generous friends? Are you generous or stingy? With your time, your emotions, your energy? If all your friends are generous what would that say about you? Narcissists form relationships with only gain in mind.

Friendships are familiarity. And degrees of familiarity. The friends with the greatest familiarity are the ones you call ‘close friends’. The ones you are comfortable being vulnerable with. Friendships are vulnerability. And degrees of vulnerability.

That’s why you distance yourself from the ones that take advantage of you when you are vulnerable. The ones you thought you could trust. Friendship is sticking up for each other and watching each others back. ‘I got you?’ No shaking.’

Friendship is reciprocity. Because without it someone will feel cheated. And growth. Or it becomes a broken record – irritating the hell out of you. Sometimes the record cracks, sometimes it even breaks into a dozen pieces. Sometimes you try to put it together again like a puzzle. Sometimes it’s never quite the same.

Friendship is acceptance. Accepting each of you is perfect just the way you are. Friendship is disappointment too. And degrees of disappointment. Maybe you’ll never speak again. Maybe you won’t even remember what happened.

Joy. And degrees of joy…

Friendship – what is this thing called friendship?

Is it the people that helped you when you were down? The ones that held your hand while you were sick? The ones that listened when you were down? Or the ones that told you to snap out of it? And bite the bullet? Both? All?

The one that held your hand while you were sick was also the one that bit your hand and them tried to chop it off. Alas. It’s so much easier to just listen to your instincts sometimes.

Listen.

Friendship is instinct. Instinctively you will know who you can trust. And how many degrees of trust.

Is your resolve to make things better than you found them? Do you care? Or do you merely think of what you can extract and gain? Do you mutually reinforce a striving for excellence? Do you strive for excellence? Are you scared? Do you share your fears? Are you still posing? And dreams?

Friendship is sincerity. But what do you do with the sincerely ignorant?

You get up early on a Sunday morning to take your friends sister to the airport when her logistic plans fall through and it’s almost a crisis. Did you think about it first? Over the years you lose track of who owes who what.

When friends are down you discreetly slip them a bill or two when you can. You don’t make a song and dance about it. You don’t expect nothing in return. You don’t wait for them to ask. Or even pay back. Degrees of friendship. You can’t help the ones pretending everything’s all right. Degrees of sincerity.

Once upon a time you faced life with an attitude of trust till you realized you have to let people earn your trust. It’s the difference between right and privilege. So you make friends in a different way now. And you use a different criteria to label people friends or not. Some survive and some fall by the way side.

You can chose the type of friend you will be. And you can chose the type of friends you will have.

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