I’m thinking about friendship today. It’s the most confounding concept imaginable. The idea that someone would pluck me out of obscurity and claim me as their own is rather cosmic. Who am I to deserve such a radical gift? This is how I understand friendship, someone who allows my fears to come busting into the room, dousing all the light, and yet they remain, fretting with me in the darkness. They bemoan my failures and celebrate my dreams as if they were their own. Friendship rocks.
I figure the most loving people must already know how to love themselves, the most accepting people accept themselves, and the most forgiving friends have forgiven themselves. So friendship has this added benefit of teaching us how to be kinder to ourselves. Someone who accepts my faults, including my ignorant views, flappy arms, love of wine, unfashionable dress, and large feet, that often end up in my mouth, is someone I’ll follow around like a St. Bernard, and I carry hot chocolate. I will guard your heart with all that I am.
There is a lot of research floating around the internet about friendship, one article claims a friend can improve ones longevity, another our well being. A friend is my shield even when I am not present. Now that’s a perk. They way I see it, all you need is one loyal friend in this world, if you have more, you are truly blessed.
True friends are as rare as crab this year. We are human and our emotions get the best of us, we are petty, jealous, and our minds process the world in a myriad of ways. We are difficult to please, to understand, and our compassion has its limits. “Hell is an enemies forgiveness,” from the movie Burnt. If you don’t like me, fine, but don’t act like you do when I come around. It’s confusing. And don’t read my blog because you might be the subject de jour.
I’m always sort of amazed when someone claims me as a friend. When I estimate my value, in this silent barter of loyalty, I always come up short. That is why friendship is so valuable. Elbert Hubbard says, “Never explain – your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.” That got me thinking about misunderstandings.
True friends interpret your intentions as good, if you have to continually explain yourself, you might want to reevaluate that friendship. I’m not talking about debating an issue, or having a difference of opinion, that’s human. I’m talking about when I send a text, asking my friend to pick up bread for dinner, forgetting she is gluten intolerant. She laughs, bring two loaves, one gluten free, and she knows I am not making a statement about her diet. I can only handle one detail at a time and she loves that about me. Jill understands.
The weird thing about true friends is even when time separates, they hang on to the real you, when you meet up again, it is like no time has passed, because people rarely change. My real friends know I can be a greedy, unkind, jealous, egotistical person, but they prefer to see my goodness, and therefore I am able to see it too.
Become a contributor to the The Good Men Project:
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable. Become a Premium Member here.