Thoughts On Friendship

"We are experiencing an uncomfortable distance, my dear. "


There sits a girl just two tables farther; she ordered the same cappuccino in the same blue porcelain. She types, maybe with less enthusiasm comparing to my attempts to cover the flow of thoughts, yet using the same device. Could she and I become friends merely out of mutual interests in caffeinated drinks and felicity towards a certain brand of electronics? I highly doubt that. She appears to be in low spirits. I find myself rather busy trying to produce a piece of scribbling worth attention. However, the whole fancy to describe friendship or to allow thoughts to wander on this delightful autumn day is in the following: it is neither business of our schedules, nor the mutual disinterest, nor social distancing that makes genuine connections rare. It is a passive attitude filled with confidence that new exiting acquaintances, and with the more benefits, the better, shall seek us, not the opposite. 


Another issue is the inability to support the livelihood of already existing connections. My mother said, and not just once, whenever I was troubled by an unreliable girlfriend, by actions offensive or simply confusing, that relationships with people shall be kept on the level of politeness, yet they should avoid any heart openness. I used to agree. Then, there was a period I was convinced once again in sincere friendship, and disappointed once again; the circle kept spinning. As in most life cases, my mother was and is right; however, today I wish to argue the statement I grew up with. Now, I see not only its advantage (indeed, it is much easier to live presenting yourself in a polite, kind manner, yet taking not an offence, not a situation, not a feeling close to the heart), but also the other side, and that is the avoidance of commitment.

Commitment has a certain dosage of risk in it. It is the trait that not everyone possesses; some seem to be born with it, others appear perfectly surrounded by the most fascinating people without committing to friendship. Yet, that is what faith, marriage, career, and friendship, of course, do require if one desires to develop in either area.  You find, suddenly, that a shared conversation over a cup of coffee takes more energy, sincerity, and high spirits than a random party, with people you perhaps, out of that politeness, wish to care for, yet, the mind is returning to that desired cup of coffee and conversation with one dear friend. Behind that desire stands the meaning. Many can admit that words that predicted expressions of love were phrases on how much one means for another. That meaning, interest in someone else’s, but your fate and tenderness could not be developed under loud noise, crowd appearance and unintelligent conversations. Contrarily, to establish the moments that are significant to remember asks for an intent glare, and the ability to hear. That act is what commitment is.


My favourite author C.S.Lewis said in his "Four Loves", that “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” And as much as to find art we shall seek it, as much as finding it adds that spoken of value and taste to every day, friendship wishes for the same act of search and support. My days are busy most of the time. My schedule is packed, and my best friend is my husband. I find it all in his company. However, because of the most natural desire to communicate, to grow within those communications, I found myself, just a year ago after moving to a different city and deeply missing my family and my girlfriends, ready for surprising establishments in the list of my friends. Not that my mother was wrong when she suggested that real friendship is fairly rare. Yet, becoming older, meanwhile, my friends become older too, I noticed a grand development in all of us; we wished for no more drama. We wished kids, careers, stability, positive adventure, and among that all genuine conversations time after time. Just like that, with that mentality, with that understanding, I was open to committing to a new friendship that would be as pleasurable as art, and to which I would be as committed, to which the energy would be not a waste but au contraire-the nourishment, the force to develop for better, and the unconditional support. 


With hugs,

Marie K.