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On Friendship

Today’s topic is Friendship.

In a world of collecting Facebook friends like Pokemon cards, and harvesting Twitter and Instigram and Pintrest followers like maize, and building LinkedIn and Google+ networks like Lego cities, friendship is a tricky word to define.

A few things this weekend sparked my interest in this. First off, my mother and husband told me it would be good for me to make more friends. It’s not that I don’t have friends. They argue that my problem is that we’re all so busy with things that we never see each other, and so I end up only talking to my husband or my mother, which isn’t entirely true. I text my friends, and Skype with them occasionally, and on Saturday one of my other friends took me to lunch and popped the question! (if I would be her bridesmaid) so, you know. Exciting.

Point is, I have many different types of friends. I don’t play League of Legends with them three times a week like my husband, or have a standing D&D date with them weekly or anything, but we talk. We’re just all so far away from each and so buys that it’s hard to organize Skype dates, and even harder to see each other.

Back to my husband and mum’s suggestion, then: should I make more friends?

On Facebook, I have 323 friends, all of whom I know. I have people on there I’ve known from elementary school all the way through my time in England to my time in University and College. I have university professors, and old bosses on there as well.

If friends are the family we choose, what does it mean if my “friends” number the hundreds, most of whom I don’t talk to much, if at all?

Once upon a time, being friends with someone meant something deeper than liking a Facebook status.

I should mention here that I am loyal to a fault. I will be someone’s friend far past the time that the relationship is beneficial to me. Why do I? Because if I care about something, I can’t just ignore that care because it is suddenly not good for me, and I’ve been lucky enough to have people who believe the same thing. My best friends had to deal with my negativity while I was in an abusive relationship, and dealing with deep psychological problems. Who am I to drop someone who is having a bad time. That said, the friends who have stayed with me, even during their worst times, have not forgotten about me, and have done nothing to hurt me. We all handle things differently, but if you’re really friends with someone, shouldn’t you want the best for them?

The other thing that sparked my interest in this topic was something exciting that happened this week. A dear friend I made at work a year and a half ago popped the question that a lot women of a certain age get asked: “will you be my bridesmaid?” I said yes, and during our lunch out she mentioned we’d not been friends super long but it felt like we had. I quoted Anne of Green Gables: we’re kindred spirits. That is, when we met, it was friends at first sight. We just clicked. This is not something that can be forced. One of my maids of honour I met during university, and our first conversation together we spent about nine hours straight talking alone in a ballroom; my other I met in high school, and we hit it off just as my work friend and I did. We were just so right together.

Now, I’m using a lot of relationship’y language to describe my friendships, but it’s because I approach friendships as I would any relationship: with positivity and with love. I’ll be talking about love in my next post, but the thing is – and I’m going to be very cliché here – love is important in every relationship. If you’ve ever had a best friend or a significant other or a relative, you know love is important. I love my friends, and you can turn that love off pretty much as easily as you can turn it on. When people tell me I should make more friends, they’re asking me to start loving another person. And I can’t.

I have acquaintances that I wouldn’t mind going out for drinks to get to know them or something; it’s not that I’m not unwilling to get to know them. It’s more that telling me to make more friends is like telling me to grow my hair an inch. Yeah, I’ll do it, but I can’t really just… do it. It takes time, and commitment. And it takes not accidentally getting bubble gum caught in my hair and having some sort of a setback. Because that can happen.

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