The Reality of Friendship

The term ‘friends’ is like a cheap hooker who is willing to do anything anywhere.  You can use the term so loosely that it really has no meaning anymore even though it’s still regarded as a prized title most of the time.

When you have a wife it’s pretty cut and dry what it entails.  Even if someone is your girlfriend it’s pretty definitive.  You wouldn’t be able to just throw around that position to anybody.  The weird thing about friends is that there seems to be no end to the friendship unless someone tells the other person to screw off in some way.  If you just stopped communicating for several years you would probably still label each other as friends.

It’s easy when you’re dating someone.  You break up and it’s done.  You get a divorce, she’s no longer your wife.  When does the friend label get erased?  Some say never, no matter what unless you hate each other.  “We’ll always be friends” is something you always hear. Is it true that you can still be good friends with someone even though you haven’t spoken in years?  I think it’s possible but also likely not true as well.  If you are friends with someone, that is implying the present tense.  If you’re not actively friends then wouldn’t that mean you’re not friends?  Maybe you’ll be active friends again one day but maybe not.

The idea that you are still friends even though you are not part of each other’s regular lives is implying that if in need of help, the other person will help you.  But what if you never need help from that person?  You can’t really say for sure they are still your friend.  To say that they are is based on faith.  It’s great to say that the friend would help you if the situation called for it but until it happens it’s a question mark.  Maybe a stranger would risk his life to save you but until then he’s just some bum off the street for all you care.

That’s what inactive friendships really are most of the time.  It’s a faith just like religion.  You believe it’s real but you don’t really know for sure or you don’t believe at all.  With friendships though you don’t usually have to wait until you die to find out the truth.

If you don’t have any friends, the initial thought from most people would be that you are an asshole.  You don’t have friends cause no one likes you.  I’m sure this is true in some cases but I think in many cases it’s more about a disconnection.  The people you are friends with are connected in some way.  It could be cause of similar beliefs, work, family or any circumstance but there has to be some kind of connection.  If you have no connection then you are not going to be able to even give the appearance that you are friends without forcing some kind of disingenuous obligatory gesture.

Every relationship is based on something.  It doesn’t have to be admirable but there has to be a reason.  Maybe you’re both drug addicts. maybe you are his only friend, maybe he lives next door or maybe you have money and she wants money, you babysit their kid, etc.  When you have nothing to offer each other, it’s over.  They tell you that real friends don’t need anything from each other for their friendship to last.  That it is an altruistic bond.  That’s mostly not true.   Everyone needs to benefit.  No benefit, then you will be disconnected.

They say good intentions pave the road to hell.  When you start to drift off as friends, words of everlasting friendship are spoken but as time passes and you are out of each other’s consciousness for long periods of time, a disconnection happens that you didn’t foresee in the beginning.

When friends stop becoming a priority, the friendship starts to emulate a faith similar to that of shitty Christians who say they believe in Jesus Christ.  You will go to church cause you have to not cause you want to.  You say you believe in the bible but only follow it when it is convenient.   But as long as you say you believe then it’s all good.

You can’t really blame anyone for thinking or unknowingly pretending that they are your friend.  How do you just tell someone you’re not going to be friends with them when no disagreement occurred?  You don’t.  You just hope they get the idea so you don’t have to look like the bad guy and have to be impolite.  Or you end up doing as little as possible to salvage the title of friends.

A lot of the reason why we keep the friends we do is because we think we have to in order to not feel like a loser.  Friends are supposed to be one of the main ingredients to a successful life.  It’s like money, the more the merrier.  It’s thought of as crazy to not care to want friends or to terminate the only ones you do have.   Another reason why we keep friends in our life is because of the subscription to the culture of friendship.  You’re supposed to see your friends, you’re supposed to go to your friend’s wedding, you’re supposed to go to your friend’s house warming, etc.  When you talk about these moments you’re supposed to feel good about yourself and be looked upon as a functional person in society.

Friendship is also like religion in that you have to agree to terms in order for it to work.  You can’t be going to some Catholic church and praising Jehovah.   If you don’t agree then there’s a problem.

I guess the key to any long term friendship is the presence of a strong connection that cannot easily be frayed.  Belief alone is probably not good enough cause with friendship no one gets to go to heaven in the end.  Most friendships are often just like other ships, they sink or sail away.

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7 comments on “The Reality of Friendship

  1. Marcel Etman says:

    Yes You dit it Again: Great Work my “Friend”

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  2. tedgaming says:

    Just to dirty up your blog, I think I can draw another similarity between church and friend. I’m as unopposed to masturbating in church as I am with masturbating at a friend’s house. Not that I’ve done either, but I’m not morally against the act itself. Just to clarify, I’m not condoning creepily masturbating in front of people. I’m referring to privately masturbating in those places, like in washrooms or something.

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    • MrJohnson says:

      Umm…ok. I don’t think you were trying to be relevant. I think you just wanted to talk about you masturbating. Or perhaps I just missed out on the brilliance of your comment.

      Like

      • tedgaming says:

        Sadly, I WAS trying to be relevant. I just suck at it.

        Now I’m going to try to make it more brilliant. Masturbating is a metaphor for secrecy. You shouldn’t have to hide yourself from god and you shouldn’t have to hide yourself from your friends, but we do it anyway. Better?

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  3. lightpuma says:

    I haven’t read any of your posts in a while.They’re loaded and I have to be in a relaxed mindset to process them, especially since I like to reply after. The novelty of university is finally wearing off, so now my brain is becoming normal and relaxed again. It was a major shift in lifestyles and I can see why my brain was confused. Going from sitting around mentally dormant all day, to suddenly running between lecture halls and reading fat-ass textbooks. My brain was probably like “Dude. WTF.”

    Anyways, I totally agree that “friend” is a vague description of a person, especially in Western culture.

    In other cultures there are different words for friends, and different intensities of words. For example, in several South Asian languages, “dost” is the English equivalent of “friend”, both in meaning and vagueness. But “yar” means beloved, and is usually used in tight friendships. Terms meaning “brother” are even used to describe really close relationships, as well as the phrase “piece of my body”. There’s another phrase, “my knowing ones,” which is used to recognize people who are simple acquaintances.

    The language deeply reflects a culture’s values. In the West, there aren’t any single terms that denote tight friendships. Even “best friends” doesn’t mean anything, since people often change best friends overnight. Here, friends are often seen as commodities to be bought and traded, just like material possessions and even women. They’re used to reflect status, not emotions. The number of friends you have is equated to how successful or cool or socially acceptable you are. If you don’t have any friends, you’re considered weird, loser-ish, or an outcast. Like simply the fact that you don’t have any friends is enough to turn you into an outcast sometimes.

    In other cultures though, other people are given more value, and a variety of human connections are recognized. The West is a individualistic culture where people ultimately don’t give a damn about anyone else. But many of the world’s other societies are collective and focused on the society as a whole, and that is reflected in their language. Also, few cultures punish social disconnectedness as much as the West. For example, I don’t use Facebook. I never have and probably never will. This apparently is reason for other people to be shocked, and some even express scorn or act like it’s backwards not to use vain socializing methods. If you’re not a sheep, that’s a problem to them.

    Beyond my family and relatives, I don’t have a single person I’m deeply connected to. I have acquaintances, but no real friends. I also don’t fake things. A lot of people fake interest in other people’s conversations because they want to be accepted, and this eventually leads them to superficial friendships. I used to force interest as a kid, but I suddenly grew fed up with it, and went from being popular to becoming someone who is usually seen alone. It might be because my family connections became so strong, I no longer crave social approval or acceptance from anyone else. Again, Western society is individualistic and less emphasis is placed on family bonding and community, causing people here to fulfil their craving for connections elsewhere since their family ties tend to be weak.

    Real friendships are based on trust and altruism. The main benefit in them is companionship and mental support. You can find anyone to shoot hoops with or to have a coffee with, but finding a friend who truly cares about you isn’t easy.

    Anyways, kudos to anyone who read all that BS. It always turns out being so much longer than I intend.

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    • MrJohnson says:

      Haha..yes that was a pretty long comment. Good to hear you are still in school with no plans to quit.

      You’re absolutely correct that the whole individualistic culture in western society shapes our relationships with people. The big difference is economic prosperity. There is an individualistic culture here because we can afford it. Once people can have something thought to be desirable they’re going to embrace it and never look back. When you’re poor and starving that’s when people need each other which then offers the possibility of stronger relationships.

      Nice to hear from you. It’s cool that you think to come back to these parts even after a hiatus.

      Like

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