Again. Yeah, no idea how many times I’ve used this as a title in these years of blogging. It’s been a recurring theme from time to time. This time round it’s back again because I came across this site and randomly clicked on articles until I came to one on friendship. Talking about the site, I’m starting to like it more because of how it portrays (sometimes painful) reality – that many people wouldn’t have talked about – in an entertaining way. With the exception of certain kind of language sprinkled in the articles, I quite enjoy reading the articles. Usually I won’t bother with long articles like the ones the site has, but well I’m done with three of these in one sitting. Not saying that the articles are all-encompassing by the way, but what they bring up are some reality put right in your face that may be worth some sort of consideration.
Anyway, back to this topic of friendship which one of the articles discussed. I wouldn’t promote this as a friendship manual, in the way friendships are categorised and all. Well, I’ll not confidently agree to the fullest extent with the article partly because I’m not exactly in the right frame of mind to think critically about this now and also because I dislike how many of my friends agree with the fact that it’s harder to build deep friendships as you get older. I mean, okay I get what you guys mean, but I will still want to make an attempt at it? Don’t really want to shut out this possibility by telling my mind that “life’s like that”. But yes I do enjoy seeing friendships from the author’s perspective and the analogies used help me to understand what he’s trying to say (while being entertained by him).
Going through the first three-quarter of the article with that 10 categories he came up with certainly made me feel that there’s a degree of over-dosage of pessimism in this friendship thing. If these are facts, and some parts of me feel like some of these seem so, I probably will be entertaining thoughts of dropping friendships in my life, because it just seems pointless and yet effort-demanding and time-consuming. One of the things that struck me in particular was his point on non-parallel friendships. At the age that I am now, I admit that such thoughts – like what’s going to happen when we start working (and get really busy with our jobs) and when some totally absorbed into their married lives – actually come into mind. I mean, look at the adults – I see few who have friends that they hold on to. Or at least that’s the conclusion I’ve made about adults’ friendships since young – I used to think adults have no friends. Well, not really looking forward to such a future.
Thankfully that guy reminded me that those 10 are just people who fall into his quadrants 2-4 – I really almost forgot about this. Thankfully there’s still a more optimistic hope for those friendships in quadrant 1. I laughed as I read those 10, but at the same time agreeing that such friendship actually do exist, sadly. I’m glad that the friendships he categorised under quadrant 1 exists as well. While I may not agree fully with the article (sometimes emphasis are necessary), I would say that one takeaway I have is that I’ll think over the way I handle my quadrant 1 friendships more.
I have never believed in the idea of ‘friends forever’ though I do work on some friendships as though I am striving for that. I will invest my resources to help things work for as long as we can. Quadrant 1 is where these friends belong, even though my quadrant 1 is really, really, really small – says the INTJ haha.
I’ve been wanting to say this but have been holding back because I couldn’t be sure of the validity of what I am about to say, so I went to check on it. And here’s it – I still don’t believe in certain ideas of seasons in friendship. I’ve been hearing this thing in recent years, and lately it has bothered me enough to nudge me towards asking another friend if this was something talked about in any church service, just in case I’m missing something here. The reply I got was a no it wasn’t, and I was surprised because this idea seems to be perpetuating more than I am willing to accept.
No doubt that friendships have their highs and lows. There are exciting times when a new friendship is blossoming, times when confusion kicks in (for instance) about how much you can trust this person or how will things work out from this point on, times when frustration sets in due to friction, and times when issues are resolved and you find yourselves closer than before. Random thought that just came to mind – things that come close occasionally comes into contact and produces friction from time to time, right? (Not a Physics major here but it just sounds interesting) Anyway yes, if that’s what “seasons” in friendships are referring to, this is something I can agree with.
What I can’t agree with is when certain types of examples are being used to explain seasons. I’ve heard things like “Oh you know, sometimes we are no longer in the same school, same ministry, so we spend less time with each other and we are no longer as close as before.” If being in the same setting/life station is likened to one season, and moving on into different paths is likened to another, I cannot agree with this.
Friendships may be formed naturally or not. Over time a friendship is built, and if this friendship is important to me, I won’t let things be carried anywhere anyhow by any breeze. I believe that friendship requires investment – and investment is not necessarily cheap and easy. It takes effort, it takes time. And sometimes it takes a fair amount of pain. This means that a question that I’ll ask when we are no longer in the same school, for example, is “So what?” Yes, there will be fewer opportunities since you may not get to bump into each other as often. Wait a minute, if a friendship is established only by bumping into each other, maybe I can understand why it doesn’t sustain after both of you are being put into different places. The thing is, a good and cherished friendship doesn’t just happen to exist like that. It takes some intention there. Like you know, ask your friend out, share about your life… And if intention is key, then I don’t see why being placed in different places matter much in whether the friendship is sustained. Well, maybe we are busier than before and have more of other things to take care of now – then, we make time.
It’s about how interested we are in making things work I suppose. And it takes two hands to clap. Sweeping every change in friendship under this blanket called “because circumstances changed” is… just, too easy. Also to me, building good, quality and genuine friendships isn’t anything less than necessary. Look at how the Bible talks about friendships. David and Jonathan being an example that many of us know of, Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 27:5-6, Proverbs 27:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ecclesiastes 4:12 and a few more (extracted some of these verses from some online sources). Friendships build us up be it in the way we enjoy each other’s company, edify each other or even in reprimanding each other. To quote Got Questions Ministries, “… a friendship is a relationship that is entered into by individuals, and it is only as good or as close as those individuals choose to make it.”
That being said, it seems like I have high expectations of my close friends. I’m not denying that. Not too late to quit being my friend by the way hahaha. But yes, my belief still remains after all these years of doing friendships as that a good friendship is worth investing in.