Why You Need Friendship
What is it about friendship? That deep feeling of trust you have in somebody who you know will stand by you. Friendship that will get up in the middle of the night to answer your call. Or stand by you in amidst life’s biggest messes and stay true. Friendship like that is a remarkable thing.
When everything seems to be going wrong real friendship rescues you. When sense turns to insanity and your world turns topsy-turvy, it’s friendship that helps bear you through. I’ve had friends like that, and I have some still.
But not all friendships last the distance, do they? Some seem to slowly drift until, feeling far away from each other, it’s easier to forget. More dramatically, other friendships descend into acrimony and tears; when even the mere mention of them stabs at the soul. I’ve had friendships like that.
“Life is a passing parade,” someone once told me; like it was a secret in confidence. But I already knew that. Just as I knew his friendship was one of convenience. But he was right, wasn’t he? We grow up and friendships come and go. We meet, we share, and more often, we part. It’s the way of friendships that we bump into each other and find fealty; only to see our paths take different directions. Relationships reduce to memories without so much as a goodbye.
Were it not for friendship, life would be a dry and desolate place. We need them like the sun and rain. Which is why friendships that haven’t even endured can still be a blessing. Tennyson was writing about love one hundred and sixty years ago, but I believe his words are also fitting for friendship, “… better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
That’s friendship’s other part: hurt. True, there are some friendships who never know a cross word or a single misunderstanding. But deep friendships dare to tread toward discomfort; not shy away. For the long term, honesty is essential for friendship to thrive. Which is why I believe the extent to which you can speak the truth is the measure of your friendship’s depth.
So here I am talking about friendship with you but I have a confession to make: I don’t have many truly close relationships. I have only a handful of friends I’ve known through years of thick and thin and loved despite misunderstandings, pressures and pain. Just a few folk. A treasured handful of people with whom our friendship is enduring.
But I am blessed of course. Because the love of my life who became my wife is also my dearest friend. Few people are so fortunate to continue sharing friendship like that, decade after decade. In practical ways my relationship with Ruth has taught me a lot about being happy, and put flesh to the term friendship when so often people will say so flippantly: “Oh them? They’re just a friend.”
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