Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Truth About Friendship

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art...It has no survival value; rather, it is one of those things that give value to survival."

- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

{A forever kind of friend. Dec. 2012, Hotel Del Coronado}
People in their 20s and 30s feel a pressure to couple off, to achieve that societal and sometimes biological goal of "starting a family." Coupling off has what C.S. Lewis called "survival value", but I'm a firm believer in keeping individual friendships outside the couple going strong for personal value. I am blessed to have some wonderful friends. My brother, my best friend, friends in other cities, friends abroad. And though none of my very best friends currently live in San Diego, and though there may be weeks or even months where there is little communication, we always come back together to laugh and talk and enjoy, as if no time has passed. There is never any questioning in these kinds of organic friendships, just an unspoken, eternal loyalty. These people are friends for life.

But as the years pass, other friendships are growing more ephemeral. I recently got together with a friend with whom I was once very close. She now lives in another city and the communication has been infrequent. The outing was pleasant, we talked and laughed, but things felt different. I came home, told Flavio and cried. I felt like I'd done something wrong; maybe we were different people now, we'd grown apart, or we weren't working hard enough to keep the friendship going. It's not that I haven't had friendships change or end before, but with this friend were once so close; and now, maybe we just weren't. There were no hard feelings, I know we only wish each other well, and I'll always love this person, but I think we both felt the change. Maybe this is a rough patch, or maybe something will bring us back together someday. But for now, we haven't had any real communication since that last meeting.

I've been sad about this. Flavio let me talk it out and then told me something wise: Some friendships come and go. Hell, even the Beatles broke up. But sometimes you need to move on, and be thankful for what it was.

There's the truth: Some friendships are forever and some are fleeting. That's life.

The best thing about friendship is that it is chosen. And because friends are not family, the only bond between the two people is a desire to stay friends, and both hearts must have that desire. But the heart is a fickle and complicated creature, and doesn't always follow expected paths, and despite your best expectations, sometimes the heart tells you it's time to go separate ways. There is some grief when that heartspace is cleared, but then there is grace, and the possibility for new.


  1. This is truer than true. Thanks for writing it!

    Laura xx


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