Monday, October 09, 2006

Friendship

Been thinking alot about friendship lately...won't go into why...just know that it's been on my mind....my thoughts....

What is Friendship?

What can friends "expect" from one another?

What's "required" of a friend?

Is there a minimum requirement for "friendship"?

When you lose contact with an old friend, do they still count as a "friend"?

Is it wrong to "writeoff" a friend?

These are my thoughts, and what I'm considering during my Debtor Creditor class...I'll letcha know what I find...

Dictionary.com...
friend‧ship 
–noun
1. the state of being a friend; association as friends: to value a person's friendship.
2. a friendly relation or intimacy.
3. friendly feeling or disposition.
[Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE frēondscipe. See friend, -ship]
—Synonyms 2. harmony, accord, understanding, rapport.

That doesn't help much - can we define a word with it's root work in each definition...we were told in school that we couldn't do that...

Proverbs 18:24: A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. "

...maybe I need to do more?

Proverbs 27:10: Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is neighborur that is near than a brother far off.

...guess that rules out just "writing them off"...*sigh*...that's tough...not that I WANT to write someone off...but it feels like it would be easier....I guess what I"m wanting to be able to do is "nothing"...if they aren't doing anything, can I just not do anything?...

Ok...so conclusion - can't write 'em off...I think I can't just do "nothing"...but what's the minimum requirement...who defines "friend"...is it just by self definition "thine own friend"...

Open for comments...actually would like insight...only request is that you don't ask why it's on my mind...please...just comment about friendship in general...

5 comments:

Bec said...

Welcome to Friendship 101*
What is...
I have a small group of people who I consider "friends" there are friends of friends to who I am friendly to, but my friends are people who I care deeply for, who I pray for and I know who will pray for me. Who I think about in times of need, who I feel burdened for in their need and who are my shoulder to cry on in my own. Friendship is a relationship, a sharing of common interests and concerns, common beliefs. I’m reminded of a hymn we sing in church; What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sin and grief to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! what a perfect friendship. In that relationship where Jesus is always there to listen to us, we are not always willing, patient, interested in listening to him. At some points in our lives we may do the same to our earthly friends. But when it all comes down, Jesus is always open, and we hope our true friends are too.

Expectations...
I have a hard time with this one. I try really hard to not set expectations as far as actions. People will be people. A lot of us change; a lot of us stay the same, inconsistency being the only constant. This is also a really broad topic. Do I always expect them to return my call, show up on time? I could base my expectations on past experience. Do I expect the same from all friends? Not really. Some friends don't like to talk on the phone. Others may or may not have internet, so e-communication is an event of opportunity. Do I expect my friends to visit? As much I love company, sometimes it's just not possible. And at this point in my life, as sad as it is, unless you're in town, or I can get a ride, it's going to have to wait, as much as it kills me.

Requirements (minimum and whatnot)...
Years of service? Reaching expectations? I can't see either of these playing a part in a friendship. However the term friend is use very loosely by a lot of people. I would think that a requirement would be to share similar beliefs. Our preacher once taught a sermon on second Corinthians, chapter six. The very well known "do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers." we are to be in the world, but not of it, and anything that takes you away from the Lord should be removed. Of course I’m paraphrasing, and it's been a while. I think my Sunday school class decided he meant removed from a position of deep concern/emotion. because as in my description of my friends, bearing the burdens of a nonbeliever could possibly take you away from God, depending on your own relationship with Him.

Old friends...
There are girls who I still call friends, who I was very close with and grew up with, but it's out of habit. I do not know where they are now, and I’m almost certain if we were to meet on the street there would be a bit of uncomfort at first. I’m not going to say that if I were to find them or visa versa and start communicating again that they could not quickly become what we once were, but for now, any reference of friend would be meant in past tense. I’m not sure that I would single them out as an "old friend" much like I wouldn't call any a "new friend" any story about them would probably start "once, when I lived ____ my friend ____ and I..." because at that time, we had that relationship.

Write-offs...
I think you've already taken care of this one. I can understand the wish to write-off, especially in the world of expectations and requirements. And even with the removing of people/places/items who take you away from God, I have trouble casting off relationships of any kind. Prayer for those individuals, inclusion in Christian activities, and the hope of grace and you'll be equally yoked.

*This comment is solely to express the thoughts and emotions of Bec at this time and in no way reflects the thoughts and feelings of her own friends/family. Any conversations following the publishing of this comment may sway Bec into other thoughts/beliefs/comments adding to or retracting any previous thought/emotion and here by changing Bec’s mind.

this comment brought to you by inconsistency… It’s everywhere! Get use to it!

Ms.Green said...

There's a really good story called "reason, season, or lifetime" that I'll send you. It puts the term "friend" into a little different perspective.

I heard someone say once that if one makes five really good friends in a lifetime, they've really accomplished something.

Friends and acquaintances aren't the same thing. Not to say that acquaintances aren't nice.

My two cents...

parental unit said...

My thought on this subject...
1 I enjoyed Bec"s comments I concur with many of those thoughts.

2 With maaannny years of making friends, and moving, and loosing contact, and other people making the effort to stay in touch, the observation is that sometimes friendships require more effort from one person than the other.

(Roy)If it were not for the effort of the other party in this relationship, we would not stay in touch. Yes we care. Yes we have similar intrests. (Church lodge military, children etc...)

(Al and Shirley) We make the effort in this one, and when we are together it is as if we were never apart. We pick back up just where we were. As though we were never apart. The fun and the laughter the company is just great and we seperate, and go back to our lives, with more fond memories to enjoy from our latest encounter. No matter how long or short or infrequent.

With church and work and family and children and school and spouses and other things pressing on our time, sometimes we neglect our friends; but, friends, true friends, will always be there when we need them.

And if I might share an opinion on YOUR friends, ( I don't know the story and don't need to.)
I think you have a wonderful group of friends. When your mamaw was ill and they came to her house, and to the hospital, and the funeral home, and the funeral. Even some of your own family expressed how impressed the were with that. I was pleased, too. That my children were blessed to have such wonderful friends!

One reminder; We are all the product of our own experiences and our up bringing. Expecting others to act or be a specific way can only cause disappointment. This is a hard lesson to learn, and a harder one to apply.

This parental unit loves you:-)

WirelessMike said...

What great comments! Not sure I've commented on your blog before... If I have, I'm sorry it's been so long, and if I haven't, be gentle with me (it's my first time!).

Isn't it funny how we oversimplify what words mean? I read the definition you provided from dictionary.com and have to agree with you-- that word is not so easily defined as that.

I don't think you can write off a friend. If you could, wouldn't you wonder after if you could truly have been friends to begin with?

I think there are realistic expectations of a friend, though. Not that you can MAKE somebody be "a good friend," but it's so very difficult to be a good friend if there's no love being reciprocated. Still... I have this friend in St. Louis named Richard. We might talk once a year now, but as parental unit said, when we talk, we just pick up wherever we left off. I still care about him. I almost never call, and I NEVER write, but I still care, and if he just needed me out of the blue one day, I'd do my darndest to be there for him.

I also rarely see my brother, David. There was a time when my brother and I were not friends. You can do that, you know. You can be a sibling and not be friends. We became friends, though, and it hurt bad when he got married and left. I didn't see him for a very long time. I got used to it-- We both did. Now we see each other once a month or so at best. We don't call each other very regular, but every time I see him or talk to him, I can't think of anything I need to forgive or be forgiven for. We're just Michael and David, and I care about him more as a friend than as a brother. He knows I am difficult to be around sometimes, and that I stay busy... sometimes too busy, but when we do get together, all that seems to become meaningless.

So how do you define that? They're not my only friends, they're just some of my more distant friends, or examples of friendships over rocky times. There are details of my life I don't share even with my friends, so why I can't talk to them sometimes, or visit, or reply to an email, etc. is not always going to be explained. I try not to ask for explanations, either, in hopes that my friends will do the same, but sometimes I do it, anyway... Regardless, I keep coming back. It may be a while... sometimes a LONG while, but I don't forget my friends. Some of my most beloved friends live in other states like Arkansas and North Carolina. I don't get to see them as much as I want to, and sometimes financial obligations or prior engagements keep me from taking advantage of opportunities I'd really LOVE to take, but I'll keep coming around, and when you really NEED me, I'll do all I can, all God gives me power to do, to be everything you need. Not because I feel obligated as a friend, but just because you are my friend, and no attempt to define what that truly entails would do it any justice at all.

curlygin78 said...

Friendship...
It's never been easy for me to "lose" a friend (voluntarily or otherwise) because I think I make friends easily. Even though it is a little hard for me to open up to new people, it doesn't take long for me to make a connection with someone once I have made that connection. Then, it sticks. Can't get rid of me. At least I can't get rid of you.

Not long ago, I had an epiphany about friendship, and very recently (last Tuesday, in fact) I had a confirmation about that epiphany. There are those in our lives who are not in our daily comings-and-goings, but can be called great friends. I've called them forever-friends. Ms. Green's story will call them "lifetime" friends. In my life, I know that I go on living and doing my daily thing without great ponderings of the goings-on in their lives. But there are some times that I'll get so (irrationally) consumed with a friend's daily life. For example: I wonder what Angel had for lunch; if she got to work on time; is she having a good day; does she feel like studying; what was her favorite book as a child; does she have wacky socks on today; does she remember the time when we did VBS at that church in Pineville and the storyteller who could cure insomnia... things that I would feel petty and insignificant just calling and asking... almost like I was fishing for attention and conversation. Sometimes I think I'm that desperate for the conversation. Anyway, my point and the lesson I learned: If your heart brings up someone to speak to; if you have a strong urge to call that friend, don't be afraid to call them. Because of that friendship bond, if you have the urge, the other person will also feel that same need.

If there were requirements for friendship, I think the only things I could bring to the table would be caring, a little wacky humor, and loyalty. I'm not so great with the proactive part of friendship, and I know this. I berate myself regularly for not "following through" with contacts to friends. I feel like I'm not "holding up my part of the bargain." Enough with the business-jargon. Friendship is not a business contract to be upheld. Friendship IS just a pair (or group) of flawed individuals with empty holes in the same places where others' offerings can fill those holes. (and I'm not talking about the cross-shaped hole)

The definition from webster.com is more specific than dictionary.com
1 a : one attached to another by affection or esteem b : ACQUAINTANCE
2 a : one that is not hostile b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3 : one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4 : a favored companion

Definitions 1 and 4 are the working definitions for our discussion. 1a. and 4 most closely resemble the folks I surround myself with. Def. 1b. includes those "old friends" who are truly acquaintances. (a person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend) This could spin off a discussion of acquaintances, but that's for another day...

A few words pop out in my mind. Affection (tender attatchment). Esteem (value). Favored (preferred) Companion. "Affection (from Latin ad, and facere, meaning "to do something to") is an emotion that derives from the recognition of one's own values in the character of another." (from wikipedia) WOW! I recognize ____ in you that I posess myself. And that's where I draw your value/esteem from. Because I recognize that same-ness in you, I prefer to be in your company above others (esteem).

That's where a friend comes from, I guess.

I guess as for the not-doing-anything approach, even inaction constitutes an action. (Omission rather than commision.) I always read in magazine articles the Q&A about the friendship that has just fallen off the table. "Should I leave it alone or pursue it further." I never understood it when the "expert" says to slowly stop efforts to continue the relationship. I begin to agree with Mike: "I don't think you can write off a friend. If you could, wouldn't you wonder after if you could truly have been friends to begin with?"

I went to my 10-year HS reunion recently. It was the first time I'd spoken to the majority of those folks in that long time. Among the group were a few of my tried-and-true best friends from that season of my life. Because of who-knows-what, there had been a major opportunity for a write-off situation during the 10-year lapse. My forgiving and loyal nature never allowed it, however, in spite of evidence that the friendship would never revive. *the still small heart continued a faint tremble* I was pleasantly surprised at how easily we slipped back into our best-friend rhythm that weekend. The friendship will never be as strong as it was, but I'm glad I didn't write off my friend and give up.

It's gettin' deep. Gotta step out of this place before I suffocate. :-)
LAMY