Friendship done Right

I have a handful of “best” friends. They are people I consider family, and whom I treat as such. I love them with every fiber of my being and am confident that they hold similar opinions of me. But one of my best friends stands out from the others in a very unique way. We’ll call him Bob.

Bob and I have known each other for at least 8 years. We became friends slowly, and to this day if you ask either of us how we became friends, neither of us knows how. Oh, we have our theories to be sure, but we’re not really positive just how it happened. It’s not that we don’t remember interactions with each other from that long ago, though the memories are distant. It’s that, by all accounts, it just doesn’t make sense. Our interests are pretty different, though the overlap here and there and for some time our practical moral stances were quite different. We lived at literally opposite ends of the country soon after becoming “friends” and now we only see each other in person about twice a year; and that’s a good year.

Yet he is closer than a brother to me. We have been there for each other during the 4am phone calls, the family problems, the relationship disasters, likewise through the jokes, the drunk dials, and some of the best times of our lives. As rare as face-to-face interactions are, we keep in touch and both benefit from a very healthy friendship, one uniquely unlike my others.

And for some time I’ve been trying to figure out why. Why is it that in my friendship with Bob we manage to be such good friends, even though so many factors seem to work counter to that result.

And then it hit me: the reason we maintain such a functional friendship is because we do not base our friendship upon obligation. From very early on we both understood, without needing to formally establish, that being friends does not automatically make us obligated to one another. Over the years, we watched other friendships come and go, at times losing most close friends. But our friendship maintained a healthy, functional growing rate. “How does it work?” you may ask. It works by not getting angry because you haven’t gotten a phone call in three months. It works by not maintaining an obligation based mindset that claims that your friendship is conditional. We shared experience when we decided to do so of our own volition. I chose to answer my phone at 4am. He chose if and when to call me back. And both of us have lost dear friendships because other people did not understand the functionality of such an arrangement.

This past evening my husband and I visited with this dear friend of mine, and he is doing exceptionally well. We have truly watched each other learn and mature through the years. Speaking with him is still as easy as it was so long ago, and interactions in person are just as comfortable and entertaining. And we still hold a friendship on self-volition. He did not get angry when I did not contact him for almost a year due to an abusive relationship. I did not get angry when he did not contact me for months while deployed. We missed each other, but there was no hostility due to a lack of communication.

Thus I give you readers an example of how very functional relationships can be when they are not formed around obligation. Most relationships are like this. Relationships with family and friends. The only relationship that merits any obligation is that of a husband and wife, for they have sworn obligation to each other.


Responsibility and Blame

I recently wrote a post about my frustration surrounding old friends and bad life decisions. I think this post will be a kind of an addition to that last. You see there is another frustration that tandems the last, and that is a lack of responsibility. Aka: The Blame Game. Continue reading

Perhaps Women’s Fatal Flaw

Through a string of conversations yesterday, I came to a conclusion about women, how they think, and how they make some of their decisions. It is irrational, without merit, and no man in his right mind would ever come up with the solution. So I share with you today: so that men, you may better understand the female psyche, and women, so that you can verify or deny my claims. Continue reading

Never Forget

Not because you were there.
Not because you were moved.
Not because you were scared.
Nor because you were speechless.
But because this country,
The United States of America,
Is a country where we uphold our neighbors,
Coworkers, friends, and enemies
To a higher set of standards
When things such as this happen.

The Dichotomy of Social Networking

I enjoy Facebook. Really, I do. It helps me keep in touch with people who I would never think to ask for an email address, and I even (however rarely) appreciate it’s reminders to reconnect with old friends. I like being able to share my life with the people I choose to,even those who are far away.

But there is one thing about Facebook I really don’t like, and it is, in fact, almost the exact same thing I didn’t like about high school.

You see, Facebook has this stigma to it that I’m not sure the elder generations (that graduated before they had a Facebook account) realize. Recently

for whatever reason people who either ignorantly or purposefully ignored me in high school send me friend requests. Plenty of the ones I do know I don’t like, or they don’t like me. And yet they send me multipul friend requests*.Why do they want to be my friend? We weren’t friends before. We rarely, if ever, talked. Talking once in second period painting class, when you asked to use the blue acrylic, does not make you my friend. Going through any number of school years in the same grade does not make you my friend. In fact, I wonder if these people really understand what friendship is.

Friendships is a connection of two people commonly due to like interests and a similarity of personal goals and spirit. It is a willful sharing of your life with another because you find it to be mutually beneficial. Or at least, that’s what it should be.

But that’s not what really bugs me on Facebook. I can ignore those requests and move on, no matter how many times you send them I can always ignore.

In fact, my problem with Facebook isn’t really a problem with facebook at all, but rather a problem with the people that wish to share their lives with me, and the empathy that I feel for them, whether they deserve it or not. I watch people who I care about squander their opportunities, make all the wrong decisions, and flail in the shattered ruins of their lives clutching their hearts in pain and wailing “woe is me”. I understand that these things would happen regardless of Facebook’s involvement in my life, and in theirs. But it gives me up to the minute updates of the destruction of said lives.
Now, I know what you readers who don’t me are thinking right now: something along the lines of “my my little miss high-brow over there blogging about the destruction of lives. What does she know about these people and why is she so much better than they?” Make no mistake dear reader, I am speaking of people diving into debilitating drug use, relationships that are constantly painful and destructive, and a state of apathy so all-encompassing that the person lost there can be said to be brain dead. These are very real problems and I do not exaggerate for the sake of my writing.

I am comforted in watching some of my closest friends excel in all aspects of the Spirit. This one learning so much of both the knowledge of the greatest minds and of the functions of life. That one planning a marriage to a most worthy spouse. And others still walking so very closely with the Spirit that the wisdom gained from their walk alone astounds me.

For these reasons I have always cut my facebook list short, and I believe dear people that it is time, once again, to prune the tree.

*For those of you who do not have Facebook accounts and somehow managed to find this lovely blog, a “friend request” is when another Facebook user asks you for permission to see your Facebook profile, where you keep all your important information. You have the option to confirm their friendship, or to ignore it and deny them access. I don’t know these people.