Friends and Friendship

One of the major recurring themes in this made-for-TV movie I call my life is friendship. I have been seeking genuine, heartfelt friendship for as long as I’ve been breathing. What more could anyone want? What else is there, but to know that someone sees them. Understands them. Empathizes, sympathizes, strategizes with, embraces and supports them.

So what is friendship then? I see a ton of mugs and shirts and statuses about it. Are people doing it? Maybe its just these times we’re living in, but I don’t think anyone actually does it. I think if people were doing it, everything would be different. Our cities would be different, our infrastructure designed differently. Our families would be bigger, our workplaces better, our leisure would be more leisurely. There would be much less road rage, I guarantee.

Apocalyptic, I know. Get your own blog and write about how much you hate this one, it'll be so good for my traffic.

I know no better way to find this quality of friend than to be it. Emulate it. Live by example, they say. Do unto others as you wish they would do unto you, they say. I looked up a ton of random internet-generated friendship quotes just now, while writing this post. Here. It’s stupid bullshit that I would never, ever read. Have your fill.

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WHAT DOES THIS MEAN

Some of the quotes are a bit negative, they made me laugh. I hope that if someone ever quotes me, it’s a positive, insightful and uplifting quote. Not–“If you have one true friend, you have more than your share”–Thomas Fuller

Poor Thomas Fuller! Sounds like my kinda guy. Sorry, didn’t mean to assign  Thomas Fuller a gender. Seriously though, what is a friend? What makes them true or not?

My therapist has a sign in her office that says

“Normal people are just people you don’t know very well”

I agree with this sign. I empathize with this sign. This sign is my true friend.

Again, I have no idea what a true friend is. Not the slightest bit of a clue. I have had experiences that teased me with the possibility of friendship, but never had anybody longterm seal the deal. I have close friends that know more about me than anyone else, do they count? I have one friend I’ve known since junior high, we are still friends. There is no real reason we are still friends. I suppose she is a true friend. Let us call her “friend”.

Friend is dope. Friend and I grew up in the same town, went to the same mouth-breathing Ohio school/clone system. We know a lot of the same people. Now we live in a similar part of the country, have similar jobs, and have similar family problems. We like a lot of the same stuff, but are different enough to be able to give each other a fresh take.

I expect nothing from her. I don’t ask anything of her. She expects nothing from me, asks nothing of me. I send her pictures of what I do, she sends me pictures of what she does. Sometimes we talk about random shit. I don’t like all the stuff she says, but I don’t really care. I’m typically grateful that she is talking to me. I am especially grateful that she has zero motive to talk to me, other than friendship.

I take it back, I do expect things from her. I expect her to talk to me, semi-regularly. I don’t care what the subject is. I don’t really even care what she says, I just like that there is someone in the world that is including me in their life. We had years where we didn’t really talk. Now we do, cool!

I don’t get a lot out of this relationship, to be honest with you. I don’t fully understand it. I would be tempted to say it isn’t as important as my romantic monogamous relationship with my partner, but it is the only relationship that has lasted through the years. This friend I have, who is ultimately meaningless in my day-to-day life, is the most important relationship in my life. If I were to ask “friend” if we were best friends, she would almost certainly say no. I would probably say no, but I would wish I could say yes.

I would wish I could say yes. I would wish it, and never do it. What is that, even?

Cowardice? Desperation? Lack of desperation?

Desperate is a word that contemptuous, judgmental hypocrites use to describe displays of vulnerability.

She is the best, most constant friend I have ever had, I will probably only tell her this if we are still friends when we are 50. I will definitely not tell her now, definitely won’t send her this post. She doesn’t know about anything I’m doing right now, because I just don’t want to talk to her about any of it. We talk about food and pets. If I let her in too much, she would turn into something else, like all the others.

I have had much better luck fucking people than I ever had with making friends. I’m passionate about most all things, and I’ve been told I’m charming and have a good sense of humor. The combination of these things makes most people wet. Oftentimes I will get close to someone, enjoy them, enjoy their company and their conversation. This connection blooms, and I am overjoyed by what I am convinced is kinship. Then, the curtain drops. Friendship wasn’t all I could want, was it? Who wants to be friends when you could be fucking, right!?

A LOT of the quotes I found have to do with friendship being the ultimate asset to a romantic partner. I think I’m starting to understand what Aces/Asexuals and alternative sexual lifestyle partners are complaining about on tumblr. As a hopelessly sexual, romantic person I cannot relate to their struggle, but I can relate to being frustrated with a world that doesn’t care about relationships that don’t result in sex.

Last June (yes? maybe…) I made a whole podcast episode where I am just confusedly rambling about how I cannot understand asexuals. The last few months have since been a karmic tsunami. I now cannot understand why our society degrades platonic relationships and worships romantic ones. I literally hate it. It’s all I think about.

LMAO this post isn’t even close to being done yet. We’re just getting warmed up. Here’s the part where I melodramatically dissect a definition;

 

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friend
 noun
\ˈfrend  \

Definition of friend

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a: one attached to another by affection or esteem She’s my best friend.

b: ACQUAINTANCE

2a: one that is not hostileIs he a friend or an enemy?

b: one that is of the same nation, party, or groupshowbiz friends

3: one that favors or promotes something (such as a charity)this trend has alarmed friends of the liberal arts— Raymond WaltersThe friends of the library will host a fund-raiser.

4: a favored companion

5capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war

— called also Quaker

be friends with

: to have a friendship or friendly relationship with

friend

verb

friended; friending; friends

Definition of friend (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1: to act as the friend of : BEFRIEND

2: to include (someone) in a list of designated friends on a person’s social networking site

1a: One attached to another by affection or esteem: “She’s my best friend”

There is an enormous variety of affections and esteems that you can attach onto all sorts of shit. HUGE variety. Its like legos, except none of them fit together quite right and you only ever get to walk on them. How could this possibly be a definition? Is it chemical? Is it emotional? Is it financial? Attached by affection or esteem. How does life factor into this?

My lived experience taught me that not attaching affection or esteem seems to be the secret! How indescribable is this description, tho.

Remember “friend”? I expect nothing from her, I attach nothing to her. It is working out so well for us, ya’ll.

 

BUT BECKY, YOU’RE MISSING THE POINT. ATTACHING AFFECTION OR ESTEEM MEANS YOU LIKE SOMEONE. IT’S THAT SIMPLE.

 

YOU’RE missing the point!

 

I am pre-attached. I am pre-affectioned. I like everyone, and it fucking sucks. I see a potential friend in everyone. One of the flaws in my design is that I enjoy people too much. They all disappoint. It is my own problem, I’m not saying any different.

 

I remove the expectation, I remove the affection, I remove the esteem; and then I am pleasantly surprised.

 

Perhaps a true friend is one you don’t know very well.

Just in case you LOVED the weird list of random shit I linked up there, HERE’S SUM’MORE

“True friends stab you in the front”–Oscar Wilde

I found another definition

This one is from Merriam Webster’s “For Kids” Dictionary

I guess kids have a different language with different meanings…?

 

friend
 noun
\ˈfrend  \

Kids Definition of friend

1a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person

2a person who is not an enemyfriend or foe

3a person who helps or supports somethingShe was a friend to environmental causes.

Other Words from friend

friendless \-​ləs \ adjective

I don’t understand why kids get a more meaningful definition of friend. I guess kids are allowed to have more humanity? Or is it that kids aren’t as “desperate”?

Again lmao I fucking hate the word desperate. I’m gonna go ahead and quote myself.

“Desperate is a word that contemptuous, judgmental hypocrites use to describe displays of vulnerability.”–Me

“If you can’t quote yourself, how the hell you gonna quote anybody else!?”–Me

1: a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person.

OHHHHHMMMMMMM YEEE…

A strong liking for AND trust in another person? Settle down there, cowboy. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I know that other people say they have friendship. They say they have family, they say they have love and marriage and kinship. They’ve got bumper sticker families, date night instagrams, and newlywed puppies. They’ve got all the stuff the songs are about. They’ve got friends, and yet somehow, everything is impersonal. When things get personal, people leave.

I don’t want to be impersonal anymore. I don’t like talking small. I don’t want to fuck you, either. I want to be friends with everyone, and for everyone to have a friend in me. I want a world based less on contempt, and more on content.

WHY ARE YOU SAYING THIS

Most of all, I want a better word for friend. We all deserve more than friend. “Best friend” is nonsense. True friend means nothing; truth is just perspective that’s been validated. I want to talk of friends without categorizing them like race horses. I want to have a plethora of vernacular with which to discuss my relations.

Kin? Kindred?

Star-child? Sweetie? Buddy?

Sibling? I can understand the desire to make things familial, but I am so fractured by family. I do not have respect for familial terms of endearment, they are not endearing. I am filled with dread by all words except “brother”, simply because I don’t have one of those.

There needs to be friend courtship. There needs to be degrees of friendship, without rankings of friendship. Friend is not word enough for its job. Friend, frankly, needs friends.

I don’t know why some people mean more than other people. I wish I could understand it, break it down fully, and learn to modify it. I want to love the people I can’t stand. I want to hate the people I can’t get enough of. I need more control over how I feel. I especially need to understand the most inexplicable manifestations of these attachments. None of it makes any fucking sense.

I hate that I have to control my feelings. I don’t think they are bad, and I don’t think they are derailing me. I need to control them in order to function in society like a “normal” person. In order to be normal, all I have to do is make sure nobody knows me very well.

 

8 thoughts on “Friends and Friendship

  1. I have always thought there needs to be rituals around friendship — like you said, friend courtship — back in the days when everyone addressed everyone else as “Miss Lastname”, it was a huge deal to start calling someone by their first name, and was definitely a ritual of friendship. Even more of a big deal to invite them to your room for cocoa. I expect the Victorians had the equivalent of unfriending someone on Facebook but I’m not sure what it was.

    The problem is that there’s no universally agreed upon set of procedures / rituals for becoming friends and then close friends with someone, so one person’s next step might be someone else’s next step but one.

    1. Yes! I love this. The internet has changed my perception so thoroughly, I sometimes forget that Victorians didn’t at least have AIM. Even before smart phones, things were much different. The easier it has become to communicate, the more casual people have become with their communications. Nowadays, I just feel like my compass is scrambled. Everything is informal, impersonal or inversely extremely personal, seemingly without warning. How much of digital communications is projected by the reader?

      Even with in-person relationships, I have distinctly different digital communications with my family than what we say to each other out loud. It’s easier to say what you mean, but also easier to misunderstand. On top of that, everyone seems to have a different idea of what the rituals are.

      1. I think it’s got worse since the ubiquity of social media. Now there’s social pressure to unfriend people for having dickish opinions. Before social media, you could just wait for them to change.

      2. Or even more revolutionary, people would agree to disagree. Compromise has never been easier to avoid.

      3. It all depends on the dickish opinion in question, how safe a Facebook profile should be, and what degree of knobbiness necessitates unfriending.

        Back in the pre-social-media day (only 12 or 13 years ago), you could avoid knowing these things about people; or if they did express their view and you disagreed with it, it was no one else’s business but yours and theirs.

      4. Yes, again it blows my mind how young the internet is, and how enormous its impact has been.
        I miss not knowing everyone’s thought, meal, shit and giggle. I also love it. I can’t tell quite yet if it is more bad than good. We’re also able to mobilize, make social change, and help each other faster than ever.

        As for unfriending, some people are unfriended in real life before they are unfriended on facebook. Setting boundaries is healthy and necessary. I try not to unfriend anyone, if I can help it. Everyone deserves many chances and ample room for growth. Unfollowing is magic!

      5. Yes it has enabled lots of left wing people to network, but it’s also enabled lots of right wing people to network.

        I also worry that we mistake tweeting about stuff for more engaged activism.

        But it has had a profound effect on how friendships are conducted and maintained.

      6. Yes. Yes. Yes!!!
        Ghosting applies to much more than just tindr. I worry things will get worse, but I hope for natural checks and balances that might come with all this change.

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