Let’s talk about friends.
No, not that way, although I have to admit I do catch myself talking about friends in a way best described as ‘about.’
I’m talking about a working definition of ‘friend,’ as in ‘this friendship works for me.’ As in, “I love and care about and want happiness for this person whom I consider my ‘friend.’” That’s the highest standard for friendship that I can think of to apply to that relationship. From there, it is all downhill.
In many ways, I’ve won Life’s lottery prize when it comes to friends. I have wonderful and good and wise friends, people who I want to spend time with and who want to spend time with me.
Through the years, I’ve had all types of friends. And yet I admit, I am still baffled and buffaloed by ‘friends.’ You’d think by now (middle-age), that I’d have it together. That I’d see a betrayal-type friend coming from a mile away and take quick, evasive action. Or that I’d see a person who would be kind and generous throughout our time together and I’d quickly open the door and let them into my heart. However: no. Wrong. Wrong on both counts.
I’ve experienced the relationship called ‘friend’ with friends who were loyal; friends who were honest; friends who dropped me like a stone; friends who betrayed me; friends of friends; and friends who gave me gifts beyond what I had ever expected someone would ever give me.
And that’s just in person. That’s not counting the new dimension of ‘friend’ we get to experience (enjoy?) on the web. Because of the internet, we get to explore a whole new dimension of relationship with the precious and significant ‘others’ that populate the rest of the planet.
We call the folks ‘friends’ who are connected to us on Facebook or in other social media. The downside of the internet friend, just as in real life, is that they may decide to ‘unfriend’ us. The unfriending can ignite pain and sorrow and anger just as easily as the breakup of a friendship in real time and real life. Or not.
So now we get to experience Lessons in Friendship in the Internet age. But at least we are not alone. We get to practice and learn and grow with a whole bunch of other human beings.
I’ve decided, through it all, that friends are indeed worth every effort I make. Their presence improves my life and I am much happier—both in the getting and in the giving. And, I have a secret ‘default friend’ mode: I can always retreat to my couch with my dog and a good book.
So, perhaps, my internet friend, you are wondering why I spend so much time pondering friends and friendship. I can tell you why. It is because if we cannot steer our way through friendships successfully, how can we ever hope to achieve world peace on the planet?
Theresa Scott is a Pacific Northwest author who is grateful she doesn’t always have to eat her lunch all by herself. For more of her writing, please visit her website at http://www.theresascott.com