What is a friend to you? (Day #16)
What do you think of friendship, someone asked me recently. It’s a question I’ve revisited many times during my life. I’ve always been an easy going person, fast on befriending people and maintaining long term relationships.
I enjoy my friends. I like being social. It’s part of who I am. That said, my definition of what a friend is to me has changed drastically during the years.
People always chastised me for using the term friend for someone I had just met. For some people, friendship requires some ingredients, long term relationship, kinship, a special connection, reciprocity, understanding, or a combination of all of the above.
Not for me. I’ve always been very quick on making friends because I tend to be good at gauging if I connect or not with them. It takes me seconds to feel if I click with someone. This ability has increased with experience and allows me to navigate the complex social world we live in.
So for me, a friend is someone I click with. Someone I like spending time with for whatever reason. Not more, not less. I have old friends; I have new friends and have future friends.
The one difference I’ve made over the years is on what or how much I expect from my friends.
Long ago I stopped expecting reciprocity from my friends. Not because of anything they did to me, but out of my behavior. I realized I was in contact with so many people that I was unable to maintain a constant connection with everyone.
Time doesn’t matter with my friends.
So I figured that I couldn’t expect the same from my friends. That’s why friendship for me is an on-off affair. I know I have my friends, some of which I keep in touch with, others I don’t. What I do know is that I can always call on any of them, even if we haven’t talked in a long time and we’ll reconnect immediately. Time doesn’t matter with my friends.
I recently got pinged by my best friend from school. We had lost our friendship many many years ago, something like 15 years ago. We reconnected on the social networks a couple of years ago.
Some months ago I got a call from him, and we met. It was an incredible experience. Time hadn’t passed for him (he said the same of me, mind you!).
Right now we’re restarting our friendship, like if it was 15 years ago. We still don’t remember why we stopped talking (I believe it was due to a girl, go figure).
Most people add certain expectations on top of their friends. Some are “good” friends; others are “bad” friends or even “enemies” and others are “best” friends.
So, I don’t dwell anymore on the reciprocity; I know people come and go. I think most people add certain expectations on top of their friends. Some are “good” friends; others are “bad” friends or even “enemies” and others are “best” friends.
In my experience, that’s a futile exercise. Those “best” friends will fade, some will “betray” your expectations and will become “enemies.” Some of your “enemies” will eventually turn into your “best” friends, and so on.
People are people, with all their faults and unusual quirks. I think we need to take it all and allow for life to happen.
That’s why I don’t mind if a particular friend suddenly drops out of the map. Shit happens in our lives.
Do what you need to do, but at least give me a heads up.
Maybe, the one thing that I do value above all else is honesty. I don’t mind people disappearing from my life, as long as they’re honest about what’s going on. Do what you need to do, but at least give me a heads up.
Personally, I think I sometimes do a shitty job at being a good friend. I try to be there for people in need, but I know I fail most of the times. So please, forgive me if you’re one of those. I try to do better every day.
Sharing and meeting new people is one of the best things of life.
And you, yes, you, if we aren’t friends and we share something in common, do let me know, I would love meeting you. Sharing and meeting new people is one of the best things of life, don’t be shy, don’t be afraid of getting hurt, and more importantly, don’t place weird expectations on them.
Keep on rocking!