Who gets to become your friend?
Asking yourself this question is like asking someone why they love you; it is questioning a process that takes a natural course in most instances; people come around you depending on whether they are agreeable to you, whether you share interests, whether your personalities fit into each other like a puzzle. One does not say to another, in the most of everyday situations “will you become my friend?” But rather, two or more people find themselves in moments that they share together, things that they do together, conversation that they have, and with an almost mutual sense of generosity with their time and personal resources. When one comes to ask themselves if another is worth the time, resource and emotional investment of a friendship, there has been an impasse of heart, mind and soul that needs to be resolved that brought them to the question.
Friendships, more than romance, are very sober eventualities. The nerves of the body will all come to a consensus on whether they feel comfortable with another, if the blood pumps smoothly or if the ear tunes itself to listening and heeding of the gaze to follow every eye movement, every stroke of the fingers of the other as they gesture across the table or in the air. An unconscious process it is, and a boring process for those that try to be conscious as it happens.
After a trying couple of weeks, here are some lessons I learned on friendship:
Nine times out of eleven, friendships fall off the cliff, first stumbling because of miscommunication and also just that we’re not cut out to lick everyone’s ass or else we would burn from the inside. There reaches a point where the flavours become a little too familiar at the taste of the tongue; then you know there’s something stale that’s about at the heart of that relationship. Friendships do die, too – but a death that is slow and insidious; time being that which can create the bridge that two have built, distancing themselves with themselves as different contexts builds an unfamiliarity with the subtle traits that make the other who they are over time. Whether or not and how they they can use their unfamiliarity to reconnect is up for grabs.
Nine times out of ten, we are our own traumas – that which we take ourselves through or sre taken through; whether this scars us and shapes our personalities or becomes a story that we can yank out without skipping a beat. The stories that we collect, the stories that we tell and those we choose to retell and those that we choose not to retell describes an element of being that is how we build and sustain conversations. What are we without storytelling, without being able to put ourselves in the shoes of our past or present or future? One clings to the past while another may brush it aside. I ask myself sometimes: am I attracted to the traumas of others, feeding off their past, and seeing whether I can fit into their shoes – to see what they see? Will we, wiill I be scared if the shoe is some sizes too big and can I empathize if it’s some sizes too small? Does my conscience allow for inconsistencies; to be okay with the other trying so hard to show me who they are even though I cannot know them completely? What makes someone click may then not be the most important question. Can I be true to myself and to them – not shrinking back as I listen to their world, is a more beautiful ask.
Nine times out of nine, friendships are messy. I have some whole parts as well as some broken parts in me. I want something, and the other wants something else. Knowing we’re wired differenty, compromise then allows for a forward movement as long as compromise doesn’t touch the fundermantals of the script. Otherwise, the follow up would be: is the compromise worth it firstly for myself and secondly, for the friendship? My friend tells me off on one of my flaws and I decide what to do with that comment. There’s getting onto the face of another and invading of some personal space. I make mistakes, break off a relationship, someone close to me dies, and a friend must decide whether what is important is keeping a safe distance or jumping into the mud with me, having no idea of how deep the pit is. I need them to be able and willing to look through my shady ass self and bring me to the heart of the matter, to make me see what shit I’m holding back and what demons I am afraid to face. I need my friends to trust that when they see the ugly truth, they have liberty to tell me straight to my face what they think. These are the difficult conversations long-into-the-night, acts of listening – really listening, asking the hard, uncomfortable, and often offensive questions. Friendship should allow for dealing with issues as they come. And I cannot be on the defensive and in denial of who I am, I cannot dance to anothers beat, and friends are important to help me realize when and if I do.
As we all make due with the cards we are dealt, watching the sunflowers shine under the golden star, all we must do is look past the fact of realising the self and reach out to another, because wine is bitter when tasted alone, but sweet when shared with another.