Friday, March 16, 2012

On Friendship, Time and Effort

I keep seeing statuses like this on Facebook, accompanied by CAPITALISED exhortations to Like or repost them (details changed to protect the guilty).

True friendships can survive anything - if you are truly friends, you can go for long periods without speaking, without calling, without emailing and your friendship will remain just as strong. If you know what I mean, if you have a friend with whom you can pick up where you left off, LIKE THIS, REPOST it on your wall, SPRAY PAINT it on your town's water tower and HAVE IT TATTOOED on your body in honour of true friendship.

Some of my closest and most valued friendships are like that, so short of tattooing myself or getting busy with the spray paint, I wholeheartedly agree. Those kinds of friendships are wonderful.

But how about a bit of love for people who are actually willing to contact you and be in your presence?

I'm not mad about seeing the internet go on about how great it is when people you really like don't contact you. It kind of sucks, actually. I've had a lot of friendships wither on the vine because I got tired of constantly making calls that weren't returned. I have no doubt that I have done the same to others, and I'm sorry for it.

Not calling your friends does not necessarily mean you have a deep and true friendship that can survive anything. It means you are not calling. And they may not be calling back.

This may mean that you have a wonderful, indestructible friendship that survives without the need for constant tending. It may also mean you are drifting apart - not a nice process, but a natural one.

So without taking from the loveliness of less-frequent friends, how about we say something nice about the people who are there for you every day? The people who send emails or texts to say hi. The people who are willing to occasionally demonstrate the fact that they like you in real ways.

It is wonderful knowing that, when circumstances get between me and a friend, we can survive it. That's a lovely feeling.

But so is knowing that someone likes you enough to meet you for a cup of pink tea. Knowing that they are willing to pretend to give a crap about how your novel is going. Knowing that if you can't find time to meet this week or next, you'll meet the week after - because you both care enough to plan something.

Woody Allen says 90% of success in life is just showing up. A sizeable chunk of Facebook's population seems to think that showing up is not only an optional extra in a friendship, but an undesirable attribute.

It's not. It's more a calculated risk.

So today, I'm going to fly in the face of what the internet says friendship is. Thank you to the people who are there for me in my everyday life. Thanks especially to the people who manage to be there in spite of busy schedules, distance and other obstacles. I also love the people who show up every couple of years - but they're getting enough love just now. I want to say thanks to the people who tend to their friendships, who demonstrate their feelings by showing up, and who never make me wonder if they've changed their email address. You guys are wonderful and no less true.


  1. Why thank you, and right back at you too :)

    But seriously, I totally agree with this. Just because someone hasn't called me in 3 years does not make them my bosom friends (the friends of my bosom, as Xander would say), it makes them people who haven't called me in 3 years. Now, I may still like them very much, I may be delighted when they do call but they are still not my best friends not matter what they may think of the situation!!

    Love this post :)

  2. You're welcome, and thanks!

    I like Xander's phrase :) Glad you liked the post. A little ranting is good for the soul.

    1. It's funny, whenever I see those statements on Facebook, the contrary soul in me determines to ignore said posts. Don't tell me what to do. I might even be really good friends with the person. Or I might know someone with cancer. Or have a son. or a sister etc...
      They bug me. It's almost in the category of "if you have nothing nice to say, don't demand that I say it too"

      Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

    2. Mimi, I do the same. If my Facebook friends don't know that I don't like serious, potentially fatal diseases and child abuse, then why on Earth are they friends with me?? Good to know I'm not alone!

  3. Hmmm... there seems to be something wrong with comments like that on FACEBOOK, a thing invented as a really easy way of keeping in touch with people.

    1. An excellent point, Katie. How hard is it to say 'Hey, how are you?' on Facebook every few months? :)

  4. Mmmm well I just stepped in here. I do agree though about twice a year if the people on my facebook have not made the effort to contact me in a way other than a "like" then I am done and they are out. Only real friends need apply.

    I look forward to reading more. Found you via A to Z

    1. Nice to meet you Ms Furnas! I like your friending policy. Good luck with A-Z!

  5. I hate comments like that on FB and deliberately avoid them.

    A true friendship is one that endures whatever. I'm glad to say I have many.

    1. Agreed, Donna. I've been similarly blessed and am grateful for it.

  6. I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Come over to my blog and grab it!


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