I’ve been thinking about friendship for a while. What is friendship, anyway? Is it even real? I don’t think so…
I’m not a people-hater. You can call me introverted. But it truly irks me when people say “I hate people!” If you hate people, then you must hate yourself. I want us all to love each other and get along with one another. I want the human race to unite in the name of love! I actually believe that “friendship” is hindering the human race.
Friendship means separation. When you think of friendship, you think of cliques and “squads.” If you don’t belong to a group, you feel left out and unwanted. We create these groups to feel like we belong, but by doing so we make others feel left out. It’s very ironic. Even worse is a “best friend.” Having a BFF sends out the message to everyone else that they are inferior to one person you have chosen. But cliques and BFFs aside: when you call a person your friend, you are calling everyone else around you a stranger/enemy/outsider/non-friend. I love that quote, “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet!”
I believe the deadliest part of friendship is attachment. Isn’t enlightenment about becoming detached? Friendships don’t fail because of “betrayal”, they fail because of attachment. Labeling someone as a friend means you are attaching yourself to them. We do this to feel safe. We want to depend on others instead of depending on ourselves (probably because most people don’t have the confidence to depend on themselves). Getting attached means becoming possessive, which means becoming jealous. We become overly involved in their lives. We become angry when they make decisions we disagree with.
Friendship distorts the meaning of LOVE. True love is unconditional – friendship is not. Friendship comes with a list of expectations. We cut off friendships when they are “not good enough.” We just throw people away like objects when they don’t meet our specific expectations about what it means to be a friend. Friends are always saying “I love you” to each other but no one means it. Love is not attachment, expectations, conditions. Love means letting someone be exactly who they are. Think of the theme song from the show Friends – “I’ll be there for you… cause you’re there for me too.” Will you still be there for your friend when they stop being there for you?
Friendship has been fooling us in the movies, books, and TV shows. It is not what it seems. I think we should throw the concept of friendship out the window and change our mindset. No more labels, expectations, or attachment. We should simply co-exist with one another and love each other the same.
You’ve just said a lot of things that I’ve always wondered about too. I always thought it was because I didn’t have a BFF that something was wrong with me. But I’ve had them before and, you’re right, as soon as something doesn’t go your way or their way then things start to sour, and you have to work towards the BFF status again. I just got so tired of that. I was beginning to think that I was selfish — that I didn’t want to deal with their stuff, so it made me inflexible and callous. But that is so not true. I’m extremely compassionate and caring. I go out of my way to help everyone and anyone anytime. So I decided that BFF’s are not for me. I will be your confidant and hang around with you as long as you want, but we don’t have to label it and make any kind of commitments.
I’ve had very similar thoughts before, but there is both a universal perspective and a personal one to consider. While it may seem cruelly exclusive to consider only some people important to your life, we do have an exclusive experience on earth as an individual while at the same time being capable of love without exclusivity. Intimacy, affection, and bonding is possible only because of the ways which we are attracted to unique characteristics. I think its okay to place more importance on those you experience a unique moment in time or adore their individual personhood. Every person is so intricate and in need of intimacy and we can only do that in exclusive relationships. Unconditional is still there for you along with the different conditions that we are all attracted to in a select few.
Yes remove labels, Yes don’t be attached, but bottomline; friendship is love – I don’t see the difference, it’s emotions ewoked by other living beings, pets/animals as well as humans, don’t try to push the ocean, just ride the wave..
I don’t get what it is you actually want people to do.. to remove the word ‘friend’/’friendship’ from language? To stop spending the precious time people have in this terrible hasted world with someone they love? or is it simply, practise love towards strangers that is your message? :-)
Relationships dwindle, friendships dwindle, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t “pursue” the feeling when it’s there, it means you should let it go when it’s not..
Totally agree with this post, because a lot of times in my life, I really had bad experiences with friendships, and with different cases.
First, a “groups of friends” i think that had me only to serve as their transporter, because I had a car. Every week, they told me weekend, that also i wanted to had time alone, to carry their music instruments to another part. Otherwise, I would be the bad friend. So that was a thinking that I had (yeah, I was creating that into my mind) that they own me, because they give me friendship, so i had to give them my time using the car.
Other Case, was with a Girl. We where really good friends, we traveled to University, having really funny conversations in the subway. But with time, I was getting envy of other guys, because they wanted my friend. I was becoming very obsessive about this, so obsessive, that I lost my friend.
With this two cases, the conclusion was that Friendship was really a lie, that I was doing to me. And that was making me to be stuck in my life.
And because I always wanted to be accepted by the society, I realized that the truth to really have better social interactions, and future potential friends, it’s to develop myself more. Be more confident about myself, don’t relay in other people, and just really go further in my own way.
Thanks everyone for the responses! I’m so glad you all found this interesting. I suppose what I am trying to say is that we should just forget about the whole concept of “friendship.” We should drop ALL expectations and attachments to other people. We should not see friendship as something solid – it cannot be broken and it cannot be grasped. Instead, we should see all our relationships as fluid – a natural process of people flowing in and out of our life and we and everyone around us constantly changes and grows. I believe that if we change our mindset about “friendship” we would all be happier.
this is a bit idealistic, from my perspective. i think you’re ignoring the way human psychology works. we evolved to value some people more than others, and i don’t think this is necessarily a “bad” thing — it’s just how our brains work. i totally agree that we should try to expand our sphere of love/compassion to encompass all sentient life, but i think it’s wishful thinking to imagine that most of us are capable of loving everyone as much as we love those closest to us.
we also did not evolve to depend entirely on ourselves — community has been an integral part of what it means to be a human being throughout history, and it still is. even though we are perhaps more lone-wolf-like than ever nowadays, it’s still rare to find people entirely cut off from communities. depending entirely on oneself sounds like a rather meagre existence to me, not to mention an illusion. isn’t the sage the one who perceives clearly the *interdependence* of all things? we are born to depend on the bounty of the Earth for our survival, and part of that bounty is the bounty of love/spirit that flows from the communities of other human beings with whom we associate.
i also think you’re making a semantic argument — an argument about the definition of “friend” — by claiming that friendships are never unconditional. i think that if people attain a state of unconditional love for humanity, they could be considered an unconditional friend of humanity — but it all comes down to how you define “friend.” side note: i don’t think i’m capable of this (unconditional love for humanity) — at least not at this stage — as i doubt i could continue to love someone who raped/murdered my family, or something like that. though in general i try to love every sentient being on a fundamental level by recognizing that they derive from the same source of being from which i derive.
last thing: if enlightenment is really at odds with friendship (which i don’t think it is), would you really want to be enlightened? i’d rather have friends.
I don’t think the argument he’s making is coherent to the idea that we should stray away from the idea of being “friends” with people, or that it means friendship is different. I understand where he’s coming from, I view the world in a similar fashion and although it may be idealistic, he brings a valid point pertaining to the spheres of existence that develop around friendships that can cause disharmony between these spheres. I believe community is important and still very necessary to our psychology, but we end up forgetting that we belong to a larger community of human beings that is all who inhabit the earth, and treat others who belong to a different community or “sphere” than we would a human being in our own. Idealistic, but not impossible to practice personally
You totally have a point, my “Friend”.
If you read Alan Watts “wisdom of insecurity” that labeling will make a lot of sense. People hate to not know the “level of connection” we have with one another. So, they are constantly seeking to stick to a label the fastest as possible. Because in their minds, that means they can plan their future expecting a certain thing from that person, so that is better than having no plans for the connection. And of course, people also treat friends as resources naturally, being higher consciousness also involves to let go of this vision. Connect with people without caring about the form, forget a little about the “solid world”.
It is people only are interested in what is like themselves, this is a sick process where no one grows and there are always the same ideas in your mind. And making other relations worth more than the other ones just to justify the laziness of openning your consciousness to other patterns that can enrich yours. My God, everything is making sense now! hahaha
Your text made me see a lot. From now on I will care less about how much time I have spent with a person and make rankings according to what we have exchanged. Because with all this labeling we weren’t truly exchanging. And the part about frustration is really perfect! People want stable experiences and when the plan is not according to what they think it should be… They feel bad! Because life is so alien that makes them want the world to submit to ther wills…
I am now going for more open exchanges, both people getting together expressing what they are feeling… Being the wind if they can get there.
Thank you from Brazil!
My best friend is a drug lord I just found this out. I haven’t seen him because he’s apparently always moving to new places and staying under the radar. Our first relationship in life is one with a friend. Relationships with your family are roles your born in to while friends, lovers and business partners are by choice. As we grow up it’s harder to make friends because a friend is someone who we bond with without expectations. As a kid that’s easy to do because you have no obligations. However once you grow up and have to worry about taking care of yourself it becomes harder to spend time with friends. Now it becomes an obligation to spend time with that person because possibly you’d rather just watch T.V. with your free time rather then go to the bar to spend time with your friend. So I think with this point I agree that friends are fictional. However, what if you meet someone who does all the same things you do and enjoys all the same activities? At this point there is no obligation necessarily. So in some bizarre scenarios I think in an adult lifestyle we can have friends. I also think that most often these people probably decide to transform that relationship in to something more and that’s what a partner is. :) This is my take on the evolution of a relationship.
Very true. If you happen to meet someone at a time and place where you both like to do the same things, then enjoy it for sure. Just keep in mind that people are constantly changing and you will eventually fall apart. But then soon enough you will align yourself with another person who is similar to your present self. It’s like a cycle.
I agree. I mean who says that friendships are inherently exclusive. Maybe every individual’s relationship with others is like his/her relationship with say food. Maybe for a while I really like asparagus and asparagus is great for many years. That doesn’t, however, mean that I will only eat asparagus for all of those years. Similarly, you might really enjoy the company of another individual for many years- but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the company of any other people (it doesn’t mean you can’t eat broccoli if you so choose).
Question: If you had been grown up in a world where friendships were not making others feel separation, and being left out, would you still have written the same post?
It’s a bit like saying that technology is an illusion, because we use it to destroy the planet. But we also use it to make green energy, heal diseases, etc. . So friendships are what the people around us, the culture we are in, make of it. Many around us aren’t well socialized, and they use social relationships to play power games, exert power, compensate for past traumata, and pass on injuries they received themselves. It is hard enough to endure this mis-use of social relations by others while growing up, and witnessing it all the time. If we let that abuse of social relations influence our ideal of what friendship can be (i.e., as with technology, could it be so good that there would be nothing bad to say about it?), then we let ourselves get hurt twice by un-social people.
So I’d say, whenever one does build a healthy, good, clean, non-excluding relation to someone else, it does not matter what one calls it. Still I find it a bit sad to not be able to call it friendship just because some others in the past (or maybe even the majority all the time) used the same name for their power-play narcissist variants of social relations. But I understand that one is sick of the word friendship when one sees relationships under that term that have few appealing traits :)
Take care, all the best :)
I believe friendship is indispensable. It is just the way taht it is handled that is totally wrong. Friendship that is based on true love is amazing and gives so much to both . There’s automatically no more hiding stuff behind each other’s and all that could hurt the other. I personally have a friend (true friend) and since our friendship is based on true love, even if he does sth that hurt me, it doesnt make me hate him (since true love does not fade away)
To finish, i would say that where ther is love (true love) friendship becomes the thing that makes one the most happy human being
<p class=”p1″>I understand your stance I would just like to offer a few insights. In my opinion friendship, when done correctly is indeed one of the most powerful forces in nature. While it is necessary for us to all love and appreciate the “WHOLE” of humanity (and nature for that matter) friendship offers more than simply an acceptance and love for all. It offers a space where likeminded people (friends) can exist and thrive in all of the things that make a group a group. An appreciation for certain types of music, food and ideals allows groups of friends to delve deeper into these topics in my opinion. Friendship offers an ear when there is none and creates an environment conducive to one persons own growth.
<p class=”p1″>Like I said earlier it is a Necessity for all to love one another and coexist but that only leads to a surface level appreciation of everything and lacks the type of depth needed for the soul. You spoke earlier of unconditional love and how friendship is not that, but I ask you why? I have small circle of friends that I have known for the better mart of my life (I am almost 30) and while there have been times when we did not always agree, the love has always been there. Through thick and thin as they say. I urge you to no feel the need to do away with friendship because you have not had true friendship. What you speak of sounds to me like the type of relationships one encounters on a high school campus where today they are friends and tomorrow that relationship ceases. Is that friendship? Or is that the masquerader moving from presumed interesting person to presumed interesting person in search of fun?
<p class=”p1″>I would also like to depart by touching on your comments about enlightenment meaning to be detached. I have seen many people misquote this equating detachment to be of the emotional kind in which case I ask what is the point anyway? If we should all be striving to detach ourselves from relationships then how does one appreciate humanity in the way you call for? In my opinion the detachment must come from ones own ego and all things that feed it. The pursuit of power, material possessions and all the like are what we should detach from. But it should never be from the love, adoration and respect of those around us. That type of detachment to me seems counter-productive.
<p class=”p1″>Hope my comment is met with the insight that I have tried to bring to your question.
<p class=”p1″>:) Have a fab day!
I hate people in general (meaning not everybody), because some of the reasons you just mentioned. I think that friendship is just an excuse of not being alone. I suppose that humans are not made to be alone their entire life and those people we spend most time with that are not family, that’s who we call friends. It helps having stuff in common so that you can connect more and that may lead to calling someone a best friend. But I do also believe that only very few friendships last forever. Usually they end in a couple of years, either it’s from high school and then you move somewhere where you can’t see him/her anymore or stuff like that. I don’t have many friends but it’s mostly because I can’t really trust anybody because I know people are d****.
This is a very pessimistic way of viewing the world my friend. Nothing lasts forever, but I have known my core group of friends for 11 years. I have lived in 5 different states and spent smaller amounts of time with those people but the feeling is still the same. I think that it is very important to be alone in a world that is increasingly turning us into information junkies. It is key to the development of self. It is pivotal to slow down in todays world. Hating most people is something I hear a lot of people say, but for what reasons? I once was upset at the world and the people in it, but then I realized that none of it was their fault anyway. Just part of a grander scheme that most arent smart enough to escape. A lot of what we project unto the world is what we have inside. It is in my personal experience that you get what you give in these instances, so maybe it is time to change the outlook? I know that people can be huge barrels of douche, but highlighting this only makes it worse.
Pessimism is realism mate, that’s a fact in most occasions. I believe in myself and I try to get to know myself as much as possible, because quite honestly I care about myself the most in this world. I try not to judge others as much as possible because by knowing myself I can reflect to the others more in a way. But deep down to our core, we are all what the society today would consider “bad human beings”, and that’s just what it is my friend. I’m not going to change into an optimist and start creating delusions about myself and my life/future cause that mostly means being unproductive and we already have enough of people like that in this world. I also believe in the quote “Change begins with YOU”, so that drives me everyday and gives me motive to change myself for better.
I understand. Wouldnt say pessimism is realism though as what is real to some tends to not be for others. Take ourselves as perfect examples, the world I reside in is one of optimism and yours one of pessimism. Neither is less real to us but we are on opposite ends of the spectrum in regards to what is “real” in our own lives. As for good and bad in the world and most of us being “bad”. This is only through the eyes of of whomever is writing the rules. Good to some is bad to others and vice versa. I believe that change does begin with the self, but for me, my change radiates to those i come into contact with. My energy is contagious in many situations. Helping others to feel/do better. I have also been in situations in which some negative has rubbed of on me and affected me in a negative light my friend. I guess I’m saying that whatever one feels strongly about become real, while the opposite will always seem like a conflicting ideal. I appreciate your input and this fine discussion bud