Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Some thoughts on friendship
I was chatting with an online friend last night who asked me a very interesting question – what does friendship mean to me? As will be no surprise to regular readers of this blog, I don’t have much experience of having friends and most of that experience is of the online friend variety so I had to think about what answer I should give. What does friendship mean to me? After a relatively sleepless night, I finally came up with an answer I think sums up my feelings on the subject and I thought I’d offer it to you, dear reader, for your edification.
I feel that I have a rather old-fashioned view of friendship and I separate the designation into two groups – the true friend and the fair-weather friend. I will, for the purposes of this blog, only discuss the only really important type of friend – the true friend.
True friendship can only come from a mutual respect for one another and, to be really successful, a mutual set of intrinsic values. You can get away with conflicting interests because you can pursue your interests with other people and not have it adversely affect one’s friendship, although similar interests can strengthen a friendship so mutually compatible interests shouldn’t be ignored, however, conflicting values will weaken a friendship to the point at which it becomes untenable.
What defines true friendship is being honest with your friends and not trying to hide behind a lie just to fit into a person’s circle of friends. Lies about your supposedly shared values, beliefs and interests will be found out eventually so, although I wrote at length on the subject of honesty not being the best policy, in the case of friendships, honesty is vital.
True friends also need to support one another, not just in the good times but, more especially, in the bad times and being loyal to someone who has supported you is of utmost importance to a successful friendship. Turning one’s back on a friend who has supported you through thick and thin is rather distasteful and disingenuous to the loyalty they have shown to you.
Friends of the true variety also need to know when support cannot be given and accept that a person sometimes needs to travel along life’s highway alone for a period. This neither weakens the friendship nor denigrates the value of a friendship but is simply a fact of life. There will be times when being a friend means letting a person find their own way through the problems they may have until they are in a position to be able to accept the help offered to them by a friend.
Part of friendship is also knowing when a friendship has run its course and that a parting of the ways is in order. Whether the parting is acrimonious or civil is of little consequence, it is the knowing and the accompanying action that are important. Trying to keep a friendship alive beyond its natural expiration date is disingenuous and potentially hurtful to both parties, leaving much devastation in its wake.
True friendship is a gift that should be cherished because, although we may have many acquaintances in our lives, true friends are very rare. If we are lucky, a true friendship may last a lifetime but that is not always the case but that does not make a shorter friendship less true, it merely follows the saying that people enter your life for a reason, a season or for a lifetime.
Life is fleeting and is essentially a lonely affair made palatable only by love and friendship so we should learn to be loyal and caring to those friends and lovers who enter our lives and cherish each moment we spend in their company; life would otherwise be unbearable.