I met with a very dear friend recently and I have been reflecting on how people become friends, what makes one friendship last over another and why. I have lived in many parts of the UK, and as an outgoing sociable person I have joined various groups, made friendships within work and outside of work, and have generally found myself to have different circles of friends within the same geographical location and also special friendships at particular geographical locations.
However I am also aware that within my wandering, there have been sparks of friendship which just fizzled and didn’t amount to anything longer lasting for whatever reason; or friendships which only lasted for a period of time, burning bright before going out. And as I meditated on this, what I realised is that the friendships that endure are usually forged from difficulties and challenges. Much like how diamonds are made, from being exposed to extreme pressures, so friendships develop. There is truth in the cliche of a friend in need is a friend indeed.
And so taking this analogy further, I realised that (without any disrespect to anyone) some friendships are like coals in the fire. These friendships are also very special, they offer protection, warmth and light; however without the challenges and shared experiences of trauma, loss and bereavement et cetera these friendships serve a very important purpose without the longevity. And I’m grateful for those friends past, present, and future – and appreciate that for other people this is how I may be for them too.
And so I have friendships that are like diamonds. It may be that we do not physically meet for years at a time, however when we do those years have created no distance or barriers. We just pick up from where we left off before. I may not know the minutiae of their lives from social media, nor they mine (as I choose not to use this particular medium on any kind of regular basis socially) and so it seems that social media (in my experience anyway) is not a necessary requirement for maintaining friendships over distance/time.
And I guess that we need this variety in types of friendship to meet different needs and serve different purposes, and perhaps the different locations at different times. And I am feeling very grateful for all my friends, and whatever contact we may have…and whenever.
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