You are not required to take a course in it. No one can tell you where to find it. Yet it is necessary for healthy living. True friendship is not only rare but illusive.
My earliest memory of friendship dates to when I was 8 years of age. My classmate Ed had been discharged from the hospital. He was eager to show his appendix scar to everyone.
Everyday after school, I would visit with him and play board games. No running and no strenuous games were the rules. His mother told us to tell soft jokes only. We thought that if we told gut-busting jokes, Ed’s stitches would burst and he would be readmitted to the hospital.
One day when I was leaving Ed’s house, his mother commented that Ed was feeling like his old self again. I too felt the same way when I was with him. There was no pretense. Loyalty was fundamental.
After high school, our families moved to different cities. My desire to recapture that experience of feeling understood by another continued.
When searching for adult friendships, the process can be a bit more complicated. At work, in organizations, at churches contacts can be superficial. Feigned interest and polite lies seem to be sufficient for many in social relationships.
For those who want more than a superficial friendship, they need to re-experience the feeling of being understood by another person.
My thoughts on growing, maintaining, keeping alive, remembering and inevitably letting go of a true friendship are as follows:
A true friendship is able to endure the unavoidable wounds that friends in a relationship can inflict on one another. For a relationship to last, it must be reciprocal. A one-sided relationship is doomed to fail.
It is necessary to keep a certain amount of emotional fuel available to continue the relationship.
Burnout occurs when efforts to revivify the relationship are met with sub-minimal responses consistently.
Letting go creates a sense of our mortality.
Starting over can be difficult. A hasty replacement can lead to an attempt to fashion the new person in the old person’s image.
A true friendship is hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget. (Thanks, G. Randolph.)
If you have a true friend, you are indeed fortunate. Keep searching, if you do not.
A true friendship will bring balance to your life and courage to make progress toward your sense of well being.
A true friendship is measured by its effect on us.