Tuesday, 26 July 2011

What's a real friend?

Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything. - Mohammed Ali

It took me 30 minutes to find that quote. There are so many tacky friendship quotes that exist, I can't get over it. For none made me emotional, except for this one.  Is it more special? Not really. But it's so true. In a world that completely surrounds us with social media, we have 748 friends, we are in contact with so many different people, but are these people really our friends? And has the meaning of friendship evolved?

I tend to analyze friendships around me and some of the quotes you may find on the net depict a perfect friendship picture. The friend that will take a bullet for you, that knows you more than you know yourself, that feels it in their bones that you are unhappy, that doesn't give up on you when you have given up on yourself. How many of us have friends like this? 1 or 2. Well if you, you are damn lucky. Because friends like those don't exist anymore, or exist much less. Is it our own fault? Have we become too selfish to spend time nurturing our friendships and spend our time on our own self-improvement? Are we not as dependable as we used to be? Do we put our spouse before our friends? I think a lot of this may be related to how we have become more individualistic throughout the years. We fight for  us instead of fighting for each other. We learned that in order to be happy with others, we need to be happy with ourselves and get lost in this quest for happiness for ourselves. Of course Im exaggerating this a lot.  But I have noticed a lack of actual care for others in general. 

We are now lucky if we have 1 or 2 amazing friends that we are sure of that would come running at 4am if you were stuck somewhere. And after several conversations with older people than me, they confirmed that those people change throughout your life. Your best friend at 15 won't probably be your best friend at 25 and maybe not your best friend at 35 and so on. I see my little cousins and their facebook profiles : OMG WIFEY YOU ARE SO HOT. "You are the most wonderful person ever", "You are so damn gorgeous, can I marry you", "I love you sooooooooo much <3 <3 <3" can be found on EVERY SINGLE PROFILE picture, 25 comments are normal and it seems that you have 1 gazillion friends. But times change, you leave school, you start work, you aren't around the same people 24/7 and you need to put effort into building your friendships, they don't just stick around. And sometimes, the things you had in common disappear and you find new people with whom you share so much more. And the old friends, will remain that, old friends, the ones you once shared everything with, but now times are different, and it's OK...

The key is to nurture the friendships and spend time on them because unlike family, they don't love you unconditionally. I have learned that people will treat you as you treat them. If you go out of your way, chances are they will go out their way. They feel the love and return the love. I think as a whole, we should pick those few, and build those friendships to make them last as long as possible. Trust, communication, love, all elements we find in relationships need to be as prominent in friendships as well.     We need to re-evaluate our values and set them back in the right spot. Then again, some of you might enjoy the comfort of ok friends, because you're an ok friend. You get what you project. And I think this applies in all circumstances!

As my last words of wisdom, call up a friend that you haven't spoken to in a while tomorrow, go for drinks, go for dinner, go play pool, catch up. We just need to make the time to spend it on nurturing and the fruit of our efforts will be definitely delicious.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your post resonated well with me and reminded me of my favorite pieces of wisdom on the topic: http://www.katsandogz.com/onfriends.html

I found many parallels between your words and Gibran's: "And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit".

This is so important; being friends with someone just because. How many times do we hear: "she works at firm X and can get us tickets for Y exclusive event", "he's the son of X and they are loaded and they invited me to hang out on their boat", etc. When we are young, we make friends with people we get along with, period. In elementary or high school, the power structures are not fully formed yet. Sure they are there but subtle. Once we start our careers, it seems like friendships have more of a purpose to them.

To me a real friend is a friend just because. There is nothing they bring to me because of who they are in the world and vice versa. Only "the deepening of the spirit".

PS: Very thoughtful blog! Fellow Montrealer and stumbled here by chance.