Friends of…

I really like this way of thinking, so I wrote it down for you to read too :)

In the biblical creation story the Creator, having formed the first person, immediately declared our social character: “It is not good that man should be alone.” Most of us, most of the time, would rather be with anyone than be alone. And when we compare being with anyone to being with a real friend, there is no comparison. The reasons are endless. Seventeenth-century philosopher Francis Bacon noted two tremendously positive effects of friendship: “It redoubles joys and cuts grief in half.” How true. Friends make the ordinary running errands or eating lunch, for example, extraordinarily fun. And good friends ease our pain and lighten our heavy load. They also strengthen us, nurture us, and help us grow. And without our knowing, they can even save our lives. Literally.

There’s exciting news about having a kindred spirit these days. Not only are friends good for the soul but for the body as well. Friends help us ward off depression, boost our immune system, lower our cholesterol, increase the odds of surviving with coronary disease, and keep stress hormones in check. Half-dozen top medical studies now bear this out. Their findings didn’t seem to be influenced by other conditions or habits such as obesity, smoking, drinking, or exercise. The thing that mattered most was friends. What’s more, research is showing that you can extend your life expectancy by having the right kinds of friends.
This brings us to a central issue. What are the “right kinds” of friends? What makes a friend “good”? What are “the real” friends?

We all know “fair-weather” friends are no good. These are the people who walk with us in the sunshine, but they are gone when darkness falls. Overly engaged and emotionally needy friends who don’t know the meaning of reciprocity are “downers”. They take and take while we give and give, but we never see a return on our investment. On the other end is “know-it-all friend” who mothers and smothers with unwanted advice but never asks for our input. In short, friends cannot be your family, they can’t be your project, they can’t be your psychiatrist. But they can be your friends, which is plenty.
Real friends are few.  The few real friends we enjoy generally come in one of two forms, both desirable and equally delightful. They are friends of the Road and friends of the Heart. Here are two stories to explain you what we mean.

Some friendships are meant to be transitory. Like cowboys who ride hard together for miles, sharing both dusty perils and round-the-campfire coffee, we all have friendships that come to their natural end. Not because of discontent or lack of interest. Simply because the road has run out. We’ve hit the end of the trail together and it’s time to move on to other things, other companies of men.
Understand, these are not failed friendships. Not at all. They are friendships of the Road, equally intense, equally necessary, equally worth cultivating and treasuring as the long-lasting versions. We couldn’t survive without them. They get us through a particular stretch of road, and for that we can be grateful. The friends we meet along life’s road make the journey joyful. And they are just as fulfilling as friendships of the Heart. Well, almost.

There’s nothing like a real friend of the Heart, long-lasting pals who know us sometimes better than we know ourselves. They bring such comfort to our lives. It’s nearly inexpressible. Dinah Mulock, however, describes it pretty well: “Oh the comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are – chaff and grain together – certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

Are friends of the Heart more important than friends of the Road? Not really. We need both. What matters is how a relationship sustains you right now. An achieved real friendship – of any brand or bond – is among the best experiences life has to offer.

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5 Responses to “Friends of…”

  1. Good pondering words on friendship there. Yes, friendship adds glitter and fragrance to our life.

    In todays world our so called frindship is selfish – we calculate what benefits do I get out of his/ her friendship. Nothing wrong, but the overdose of it is just poison and it makes our life miserable. Two beggars together can make only bigger beggary. True friendship from a ‘give’ mode is soothing, where as from a ‘grab’ mode the frienship adds more misery to our life.

    Friendship is the natural outcome with more and more self-fulfilment and realization. May friendship flourish, may peace be there.

  2. Very good observation you’ve made, I wish this selfishness would disappear… or at least have some well defined boundrys which don’t hurt friends…

  3. friends are really important but can be harmful at the same time. but if you choose the good ones, than you’re lucky and if you manage to hold on to them for a looong time, than your even luckier!

  4. Yes, we all have to chose wisely :)

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