Chasing the oh-so elusive butterfly called time affects so many aspects of our lives. I know I am not the only person who watches Monday through Thursday creep by at a snail’s pace yet Friday through Sunday flash by in the flutter of an eyelid. Some nights we sleep soundly and awake rested as the sun rises. Other nights we sleep soundly and awake seemingly refreshed to find only an hour or two has passed. Sometimes we meet people and have forgotten them by morning light. Other times we meet people and instantly sense a kindred spirit. Time plays no part in that affinity.
Friendship is one of those aspects that fall outside the limits of any time sensibility. At what time in the activity of human association does an acquaintance become a friend? What forms the chemistry that differentiates between the two? Webster defines “friend” as a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. But that covers a multitude of variables, doesn’t it? Is it instant connection, personal attraction, sense of duty, length of time, shared experiences, or a myriad of socially driven influences that no one can possibly ascertain?
And, if those questions were not enough to keep me awake at night with unresolved anxiety, what dwindles a friendship into no more than a familiar acquaintance of necessity? I am going to need a glass of wine for this one – maybe two.
I value friendship like any other relationship in my life. It needs to be nurtured with care and reciprocated beyond reproach. Much like a marriage, true friendship is founded on affection, trust, and honor but without all the contractual confines of a union. So why is it that “non-contractual” relationships often last so much longer than legal ones? Is knowing it is not legally binding key to longevity? And since friendship truly is non-binding, why do we sometimes let petty grievances sever its gift?
We would all probably agree that friendships come and go and only a handful transcend the test of time. A friend once told me that expectation is the root of all disappointment. If you do not hold others to your expectations, disappointment would be nonexistent. How many times in our lives have we heard, “A real friend wouldn’t do that?” And while all aspects of life come with extenuating circumstances, why do we place value only on elements that live in our own personal core of beliefs?
By fault of judgment or complacency, friendships often dangle in a breeze of inequity. Where is it written that a friend must always think, act, and respond exactly like you? That expectation is not only preposterous but selfishly arrogant, don’t you think? While our actions are often dictated and protected by law and inalienable rights, our thoughts are intellectual property unique only to us. We have every right to own them. How we wield those thoughts, however, is another blog altogether, and would require wine glass number three – maybe four.
Friendship to me is a timeless declaration of faith and remains my wishing well of hope. When friends presumed lost emerge from the vacuous darkness of time, friendship intact, it is proof to me that human connections are born from an eternal flame that sparks within us. Not all acquaintances are meant to be friends, and not all friends will remain more than an acquaintance of necessity. And, most importantly, not all friends have to be a mirrored image of our own humanity. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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