(Jean de la Fontaine, 1621-1695)
I last wrote about friendship in this blog on Sunday, May 9th, 2010 (THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR …), and it’s time I re-acquainted with the topic. True friendship is, indeed, the only true commodity, commodity not as in bought and sold, but commodity as someone of value.
Interpersonal relationships (FRIENDSHIPS) are everything. Relationships are essential, ranging from the personal pursuits of happiness all the way to the business success of corporate America.
Confucius defined humanity as a love of people. One of the conditions of being human is to have a focus on befriending others. Humans are gregarious creatures, fond of company, searching forever for sociability. And this is the very reason most of us reside in communities and very few of us live in lighthouses.
Psychology depicts love as a cognitive and social phenomenon, and friendship plays a significant role in this regard. Robert Sternberg’s TRIANGULAR THEORY OF LOVE consists of three components, and in reverse order they are COMMITMENT, PASSION, and INTIMACY.
COMMITMENT encompasses the decision to be with one another (and to remain with one another). In COMMITMENT, the expectation is that the relationship is permanent. Hopefully such an arrangement is filled with romance agog, which includes both PASSION an INTIMACY.
PASSION encompasses sexual attraction (LUST). Sexual attraction only includes PASSION.
INTIMACY encompasses feelings of attachment (a connectedness). Liking only includes INTIMACY.
INTIMACY is a forum in which two people share confidences and various details of their personal lives, shown sometimes in romantic amours, but usually shown in FRIENDSHIP.
FRIENDSHIP and LOVE are sometimes synonymous, the difference between the two being but a bright-line. Because this is the case, they can easily be compared.
FRIENDSHIP has for certain the following characteristics: Sympathy (that fellowship feeling being a reaction to the emotion experienced by another), Empathy (that understanding and recognition of the emotion experienced by another), and Honesty (that truthfulness and candidness experienced and shared with another).
LOVE has for certain the following characteristics:
LOVE is a general expression of positive sentiment.
LOVE is a general expression of positive sentiment.
LOVE is commonly contrasted with HATE, an emotion of extreme dislike and adversary.
LOVE is commonly contrasted with LUST, an emotion enkindled with intense desire.
LOVE is sometimes contrasted with FRIENDSHIP, which is a RELATIONSHIP OF MUTUAL AFFECTION.
LOVE is commonly applied as an expression between close friends.
So far in my life the fates have been exceedingly kind, as I have had countless and different kinds of close friends. I'll write about my different kinds of friends:
- The Best Friend. This the gold standard of friendship, commonly established in childhood. Friends come in and out of our lives … I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone? (Stand By Me). My sidekick when I was twelve was Dennis – I’ve seen him just one time in the last thirty years.
- The Old Friend. This is the lifelong friend. I met Brent when I was six years old and we are still friends today.
- The Older Friend. This is the one who mentors wit and wisdom. For 25 years I've run 10 miles every Sunday with Burt. We have solved every political problem imaginable, at the civic, provincial, national, and even international level!
- The New Friend. This is the friend with whom you can be who you are, rather than who you were. My new friend, hands-down guitar-up, is Darren.
- The Familiar Friend. These are the kith who behave more like family than friends. Each Christmas and Easter we celebrate with Gary and Tammy and family, and have been doing so for many years.
- The Ex-Friend. Don’t ask.
- The Special-Interest Friend. These are those persons with whom you share an unquenchable similar interest. Chris and I have been lifting weights alongside one another for over twenty years, and I don’t even know his last name.
- The Single-Modifier Friend. This is my friend, Brad -- National Hockey League Scout.
- The Work Friend. My confidant at work, sometimes referred to as my work-wife is Judy. We have been married to the same job for over twenty years.
- The Professional Friend. These are those with whom I am in in continual debate regarding workplace methodologies and philosophies. Rick and Kevin and Jason; Claudine and Dawne and Jim, what would my work be without you.
- The Road Trip Friend. Eric is the only non-family member with whom I’ve ever gone on a road trip, and it has always been a ski holiday in the Canadian Rockies.
- The Text Friend. Ha! This is Robin (pictured above), my one and only text friend.
- The Friend with Benefits. I’m talking sex buddies … and I’ve none.
(Creedon, Jeremiah, UTNE READER September/October 2001)
Dear reader, this particular blog entry was meant as an argy-bargy on FRIENDSHIP and somewhat, LOVE. And I remind you, dear reader, that I am not a cognoscente of either. (I am a BUSKOLOGIST, and next week if the meteorologists are correct -- there will be BUSKING!)
To close I’ve three quotations:
True friends stab you in the front. (Oscar Wilde)
A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. (Jim Morrison)
A true friend is one who knows you … yet still loves you. (Neil Child)