On Friends

cat friendsWhen Mark Zuckerberg chose the name Friend to describe someone who I allow to view what I post on Facebook in return for viewing theirs, it was both brilliant and cynical.   It was brilliant because it taps into a fundamental human need for friends.  And it was cynical because never before had the title of Friend been given for so little commitment, at least by humans over the age of 10.   I’ve noticed kids under 10 tend to call everyone they know a Friend.   It takes time to develop gradations of relationship like acquaintance, colleague, friend, good friend and best friend … not to mention the gradations of enemy.   Time, I’ve had, enough time to understand that true friendship is more than a matter of years and similar interests.   Friends are honest and open, willing to show me who they are and to know me, not just  on my good days but on my worst.   They accept who I am but don’t, as they say, cosign my bullshit … they are willing to say, Bud, what are you doing?   And I’m willing to do the same for them.   We have similarities, but we also have differences.  Similarities are easy … differences, we either discuss peacefully or avoid.  Either works.   We may be separated periodically by disagreements or events in our lives but we always come together again, and most times, no matter how long we’ve been separated, we can talk as if we’ve never been apart.

Such people are few and far between, so even though many souls have walked though my life in my sixty-nine years, the number of people I regard as friends remains small.   That makes losing friends all the more painful and we all lose them, don’t we?   At my age, death comes calling in my circle of acquaintances more often, and several times, he’s called on my friends.   As I’ve come to expect more of friendship, certain people I’d regarded as friends became acquaintances or colleagues or just people I know.    Sometimes, I lose contact with someone and by the time I realize how long it’s been, I wonder… were we really friends?   Then there are those that simply walk out of my life with no explanation.  I try to make contact, I may even ask if there’s anything wrong, but there isn’t.  We’ll get together soon, they may say, but it never happens.  It’s death of a friendship by Chinese Water Torture.  But nothing … nothing … is worse than betrayal by someone I believed was a true friend.   Being abandoned in a crisis by a supposed friend … or having that supposed friend turn on me over some perceived slight … cuts deepest of all.    I not only lose a friend, I question my own judgement about people and my value as a friend to others.  It is a wound that heals slowly.   I’ve been known to say (when I’m feeling particularly spiritual) that I can find something good in anything.  Losing friends sucks but it makes me value my remaining friends even more.  And that is a good thing.

No, I haven’t lost a friend lately but I’ve spent time with the best of friends and this holiday season has me in a reflective mood, that’s all.

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4 Comments on “On Friends”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I agree, Bud that losing friends sucks but with Hubby and my nomadic lifestyle, we have moved in and out of 21 cities and in and out of a lot of lives that became friends. Keeping friendship strong is exceedingly difficult when you move on to the next place. No one’s fault but the bonds are stretched a bit when you only speak sporadically.

    I, too would say my TRUE friends are a fairly small group….but out of all the friends we have migrated away from, I can’t think of any that were due to hard feelings.

    • oldereyes Says:

      We seem to find friends that we really enjoy but the relationship depends entirely on us continuing to make contact. Eventually we tire of the one-way relationship and we let them go.

  2. I feel extremely fortunate in that my best friend and I have been that for roughly 67 years now! We grew up two doors apart (on the same side of the street) and today, we still live two doors apart except she now lives on the other side of our street. And the girl who was our same age who moved into the house between us when we were six years old, is also a very close friend to us too but she now lives about 2 miles from us. To have been able to maintain the close friendship we share and have had for well over 60 years now, is a very comforting thing in my life, for sure. And among my closest friends are three others -two from my graduating class that have been close friends with me for 54 years now and the other is a former co-worker from my days, long ago, when I worked in DC and we’ve been close friends for about 47 years now. A phone call from her and it’s like it was just yesterday that I left that area to move back to PA. There’s one other woman I was good friends with until about 10 years ago and I still don’t know what happened there. We still speak but it’s not the same relationship we once had. Wish I knew where it went awry though.

    • oldereyes Says:

      Most of our best friends are from California. We moved here in 1971, so we’ve known them a long time. The friends we visited a few weeks ago back East have known Muri since she was in 4th grade. That’s a lot of years.

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