What defines friendship? What are the basic ingredients that make it work? Certainly friendship cannot be based only and entirely on trust, as trust cannot be taken for granted considering personal issues and beliefs can storm in at any time.
So, where does someone live within the sphere of such relationship when the two common denominators keep on fluctuating under those unpredictable factors and behaviours? What happens when both parties start to realise that they don’t have much in common after all? And most of all, why?
I think we need to start by splitting in two main sub-categories a structure where true friendship represents one category while what we will define as “shallow” friendship, if only for reference purposes, represent the other.
The latter is forged out of necessity, needs and fears: better to lean on someone rather than face the incongruence of our life alone, better to have someone else who can half the weight of our problems rather than having to carry the weight on our shoulders all by ourselves and still, better to have someone who will take our mind away from our own issues by presenting us, at least for a little while, with their own pieces of broken world.
But if we were to analyse our true feelings on the subject from a different perspective, we would eventually realise that nothing leaves a bad taste in our mouth than an untruthful display of love or a constant dislike for reciprocal respect. There’s nothing worst than realising that, to give our time and us freely, could be taken out of its real context and could be translated into something completely opposite to what it was intended to be in the first place. Then again, are we supposed to censor someone else’s take on our “free choice of giving” or, once it’s been given, should we allow free interpretation, even when that could potentially damage us?
What’s more important, the personal philosophical reason behind an action, or the result it will eventually lead to? The deep meaning of a belief evolving from its roots to its natural state, or its impact surfacing into someone’s life?
I believe the answer lies in the fact that in the true and honest act of giving, truth and honesty still lie within acceptance, if a relationship of any kind is destined to survive at all, for false pretences always carry a death sentence with them. Sooner or later they will reveal all the fundamental flaws that they inevitably hold within themselves, undermining and damaging irrevocably what was built on unsecured basis from the word go.
Like promises of reciprocal love, friendship asks nothing else than to be respected in the same way. Interpretation it’s therefore invalidated as the universal meaning of a close connection such friendship takes over.
To determine a fact is to imply our understanding of it through objectivity, hoping that the same respectful perception will take place in someone else’s mind and soul. That, together with honesty of intent, should be enough to determine the truthfulness of a point of view. But that’s seldom the case.
Petty reasons defy the strongest of friendships sometime and few irate seconds blow apart years of closeness. It’s sad to notice how mankind never seem to rise to the occasion, unless bound by tragic events. Nothing seems to undermine our arrogance of wanting to be right at all costs and every little word counts in what becomes a battle for the survival of pride in each and everyone of us.
We don’t realise that when someone lose we all do, for a piece of love denied is a piece of universe lost and that our hour of victory is, as a matter of fact, our hour of loss.
True friendship, instead, has a more profound raison d’être, as it lies at the core of human existence as we know it. It’s when someone we know that values us that our place in the world is truly defined. It’s when someone knows our most intimate secrets that, by accepting them without any form of judgment, it confirms our individual identity.
Through relationships we learn about ourselves in a way that would not be possible otherwise, because we wouldn’t have any external reference on which to mirror our own thoughts, behaviours and emotions. The lack of any feedback would therefore make any action absolutely worthless as no reaction or learning curve would come from it. But while a normal relationship grazes only the surface of who we really are, true friendship breathes us in, heedless of anything else but what is more important to us. The evaluation of our world assumes therefore the tones of a beautiful lesson where teacher and pupil transcend each other, as the importance of the purpose out weights the importance of the result.
So is friendship merely a utopia? Obviously not. It might be hard to find most of the time and even harder to hold on to but it is a fundamental and indispensable part of our growth drawing us to the following conclusion: only other human beings will eventually determine our legacy, as the depth of what we achieved will be only a direct reflection of the depth of the change we caused in others.
The deeper a friendship, the deeper a change, the more our immortality will take its rightful place in history.
© Luca Del Bianco 2005. All Rights Reserved.