The loveliness of friends

Friends are so special, even when they live far away.

I am fortunate enough to have some stellar friends.

I spent the day today with one of those awesome people (and Husby).

We didn’t do anything particularly earth shattering; just hung out, ate lunch, did some shopping and went to the cinema (Taken 2 – fantastic!), yet it was such a nourishing day.

A great man – Lewis Thomas – once compared humans to ants in that we have the same kind of social need for each other, and that each time we interact with another person, it’s comparable to when ants stop and rub antennae to exchange information.

All well and good, but I feel bad for the ants that in all their busyness never get the chance to stop and really luxuriate in the company of one or two other people – they never get that ‘warm bath’ feeling of being immersed in friendship and enjoying every moment you spend with someone.

So how do you define friendship?

I have varying ‘circles’ of friends (in my mind) and on the outer circle are acquaintances then moving further in are people I facebook but don’t see in real life, people I would chat to but little more, people I know well and care about, people I consider close friends, then the inner core (a few, absolutely-essential-to-my-life people). I find that the level of nourishment I get from them increases closer to the centre of the circle.

And perhaps something I need to consider more is ‘do I nourish them back?’

Not something I’ve ever really considered. I’ve presumed (from the fact that they keep seeking my company) that all of the inner core, close friends and people I care about are all fairly happy with me in my role as friend, close friend or ‘were we the same person in another life?’ but it’s something I think it would behove me to consider, because as I give myself the critical once-over, I don’t feel the laurels I’m resting on are that strong!

I guess the people who I consider acquaintances, far away friends and people I chat to have their reasons for remaining in their categories, and the choice may well not be mine but theirs.

That said, a person couldn’t possibly be very good friends with everyone or they’d be burnt out by all the demands on their time.

And maybe this is why some people slip away, gently through the circles to the outer edges, without you ever really realising how or why you lost touch.

Something for me to bear in mind next time I’m with a friend – what kind of friend am I?

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