November 21, 2010
I was talking to Natalie the other night about friendship. Everyone has their own view on what friendship is. I’m no different and I think it is interesting to see the different forms of friendship that exist in the world. I thought I should explore this further, even if it is just for my own benefit.
What is friendship to me? I think there are different levels of friendship depending on how long I’ve known someone, how I became friends and there are different reasons why I am friends with them. That doesn’t mean the friendship is any less important but it does mean that what I might expect from them is different.
I’m not one to have a lot of friends, so when I do make new friends I come to look at them as being very important. I prefer quality friends over having many of them.
I’m not one of these people that hangs out with their friends every week or every month even for some. That doesn’t mean they are any less important to me. We all have our own lives and our own interests and that is what makes it cool. Sometimes we’ll catch up at a party or just talk over the net but if they needed a shoulder to lean on or someone to talk to I’d be there in a flash.
Not hanging out isn’t because I don’t care. It is to do with the fact that I’m a home body and an introvert. I don’t socialise a lot and when I do it takes a lot of energy. Some of my friends are quite sociable which is great, because it means I can attend things and enjoy myself without having to be Mr Out There 2010. It can lead to issues though if they are feeling neglected because I don’t go to things often because staying at home is quite often the most soothing thing for my soul.
As an example, I have a group of friends that I’ve known since high school. By and large I spent my formative years as a young adult with them having awesome times and really letting my hair down. They live in another city which is about an hour away, so they aren’t too far away to visit but I don’t see them every weekend with them any more.
These guys are the guys that I know I could depend on if all hell broke loose and I didn’t know where to turn to. My pride might get in the way but I know I could rely on them no matter what. It doesn’t matter how often we chat or how long it is between catch ups, and even if you have a few weird moments here or there. At the end of the day, they are my friends, or really my “mates”, and if anything life shattering happened I’d be there for them in a second. I know they would for me too.
Some of those people I went to school with. Some I met later on and have kept in touch with. I know that it is very hard to get rid of these people from my life, and I’m very grateful for that.
Some friends I have I won’t see for a while until we are at the same event. Busy lives cause us to be like ships in the night and pass by often without realising it. Doesn’t reduce the importance of the friendship for me. Like a friend of ours that we see probably once a year or even less. It doesn’t make them any less of a friend and we’ve be there in a minute if there was a call for help.
I can understand that some people might think that friendships like that aren’t really good friendships. I guess that is because they have a different understanding of what friendship is. That becomes a problem if a friend of mine does have a different idea to me and then we have to work through it. Sometimes that doesn’t work and you lose them. That’s life.
What is interesting is that there are so many different ways in which friendships form and how many different ways people see friendship. Some people want their friends on call at all times and must see or talk to them regularly. I’ve never been like that, even with family. We all care about each other but we have our own things on and we talk when we can.
Natalie and I get on so well because we are quite similar in this. We both love our own space to do our things, but still enjoy hanging out with each other when we want to. I think it is the same with my friendships with other people.
I’m sure some of my friends and ex-friends from over the years have found this difficult. I am who I am and I don’t want to change who I am so I guess it is a balance of finding people who can work with what I can offer. I think that’s much like any relationship.
I wonder what you think. What does friendship mean to you? What do you expect from your friends? Do you need them to be in constant contact or do you prefer to just catch up occasionally, or a mixture of the two? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to see what other people think on this.