On Friendship

I am not sure if I am a good friend. I am not sure what constitutes a good friend, or even a friend for that matter.

From childhood friends to Facebook friends, and work friends to frienemies, I feel like I am reading an IKEA instruction manual: looks so easy at the pictures, but you can not help but feel that you are missing something.

This whole subject started on a rather bleak afternoon, as I was freezing with a friend on a bench at Trafalgar Square, looking at people feeding pigeons, and children playing in the empty fountains. She told me she thought I have a lot of friends; I did not agree – I have a lot of acquaintances. When she shrugged, I asked her what constitutes a ‘friend’ to her: ‘well, if you do not have your wallet with you at Pret, they will lend you money for a sandwich, or if you are sad, they will try to cheer you up’.

That for me is not the definition of a friend, but of a human being. Behaving in a friendly way is not a sign of friendship, but of manners. Listening to someone or cheering them up is a natural part of the everyday, not a badge to be earned.

You see, I personally do not open up easily. I am friendly with everyone, but I would not necessarily consider them my friends. I seem to be a magnet for people on bus stops who want to escape their truth by sharing it; who want to share their problem at a party without wanting to hear a solution. To them, I am their friend. To me, they are people I know.

It is about what meaning we want to assign to the word ‘friend’. Are we expecting our friendship to be a snippet of a sitcom like FRIENDS, or One Tree Hill? Or are we realising that each person understands the title in his/her completely different way?

For me a friend is a person that you call when you don’t want to talk to anyone; a person that takes a chair next to you when the shit hits the fan; that will love you despite and because you are yourself; that is happy for your happiness, and sad for your sadness. A friend comes without an agenda: s/he loves and accepts you for who you really are, and not who you could be; someone you can co-exist with in an effortless way.

While I have more than 500 Facebook friends, I have no more than 5 true friends. People I call on my lunch break or amidst a breakdown; smiles that make me feel warm inside; memories of falling asleep together on uncomfortable flat-pack furniture, and discussing reality shows as if they were international NATO summits over rose tea and home-made cakes.

My point? The superficial is lovely (I am generally a big fan of it), but staying there is not the beginning or end of the world. Dig deeper, and you might find a human connection under the code that makes your like button.




10 thoughts on “On Friendship

    1. 🙂 True! it is interesting to think of how there could be so many uses for the word friend, and so many meanings attached to it. It depends on the person how important that title is to describe others, or themselves.

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment! 🙂

  1. This is truly a good post. I have read it twice to make sure that I did not miss anything. LOL : ) smile
    Anyways, you are right. To me friends are like family to me but anyone can have a chat with me but friendship goes much deeper.

    Wondering now…..
    Do I have any real friends… never really thought about it until your post. It is a good thing though. You should know if your friends are friends or acquaintances only.

    ~Once again, I love your posts and thanks for making me think a little more today. : )
    My apologies… Sorry so long

    1. I am sure you have many real friends (you seem like a lovely person :))! For me, there is a distinction between people you know, acquaintances, and friends. This was the reason for the post, as people seem to fit all of these relationships under the umbrella of ‘friend’.

      It is always lovely to read your comments (and your poetry :))

  2. That is a very gracious thing to say to me : ) smiling big.
    So does this mean that I can make my comments longer?? lol
    I always have so many questions to ask but I do not want to overwhelm you with my silly questions
    and thanks again for visiting my site.

    So…..keep writing… I am reading : )smile
    Very much enjoying what you have to say to my comments.

  3. I really liked your post! 🙂 I always talk about this with a friend of mine (who is by the way, a TRUE friend) and with every new conversation we have we are even more confused than before. We are both now 18 and we realised that more or less the same thing happened to us during High School. Some years ago we had our best friends forever, who thought would be so for the rest of our lives, and then we all changed, we started being interested in different things, and now we barely talk to our BFFs anymore. It’s not that we have fought or anything, we’re just not close anymore. A few days ago, the person I used to consider my best friend sent me a message for my birthday and told me that she missed me, and funny thing, I miss her too. I just hope that one day (not so far) we can be friends again. The point is, I think that friendship is as complicated as love sometimes.

    I also wanted to thank you for passing by my blog and liking one of my posts, and to say that I love yours! Especially because of the beautiful photos ♥


  4. I particularly liked this post. I agree with you entirely and have had similar thoughts. Especially now, living in a large city, I notice that people make less of an effect to truly connect to one another. People are sometimes only names in an appointment book, barely scheduled in because there is just “too much to do.” True friendships are difficult to mold. It takes time and dedication to find that friend you can call at 4 am, any night, to talk. And while contemplating the definition of friendship, I think the relationships you build with different individuals will form its own rules. Because one definition for one pair of friends does not work for another.

  5. its true, we only have but few so called “true ” friends…its a give and take process to be such a good friend to one another…it is intentional and requires both an effort in order to have a lasting friendship…

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