Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Friendship Phenomenon

I have some deep thoughts about friendship.  They've been mulling about here and there, scribbled onto envelopes, receipts, and gum wrappers, and punched into various applications on the mePhone.  Binding these thoughts into a post has proven itself a daunting and intimidating task.  Where do I start?  How do I end?  And more importantly, how do I make it interesting?

As I ask myself these questions, I'm baffled by the equally daunting and intimidating friendship-making corollary:  How do friendships start?  How do friendships end?  And more importantly how do they stay interesting?  Making and keeping friends is an art, a practice, a process that is never complete.  While I find the phenomenon of friend-making above and beyond magical (ask me about all of the friends I've acquired by magic,) keeping a magically acquired friend requires consistent care.

A friendship needs compassion and understanding, humor and whit, tolerance and a smidgen of clairvoyant transparency.  A friendship needs love and trust, truck-loads of "give" and wobbling wheelbarrows filled with "take."  Good friends come with lots of benefit and very little doubt.  They call when in need, and sometimes show up with a need even before it has been asked for.  A good friend will let you know when your metaphorical ass is on fire, and a great friend will listen when told about their metaphorical ass being on fire.  Friends listen, love, and learn -- without judging.

Why all the fuss about friendship?  I'm not sure, really.  But somehow, as if my magic, I've come upon some pretty important and sincere friendships.  Miraculously, I've landed upon an island of individuals that collectively keep me from drowning.  And, as if this save-me-from-drowning bit is not enough, they also feed me grapes, and chase off extra heat with fanning banana leaves.

Friends are a treasure.  Friends are the family you get to choose.  I want to keep my friend-family.  And the only way to keep a friend is to be a friend.  Hence the exercise.  Am I an example of that friendship factoid paragraph listed above?  Nope, but I'm gonna start.



whitneyingram said...

Very well done. I liked that, friend.

It's along the lines of Megan's famous "women need to talk" post.

Sparks said...




You ARE that friend. At least for me--maybe you're screwing everyone else as you spoil me. You don't need to take up the charge and begin. You need to maintain or even give yourself a well-deserved break. And by break if course I mean foray on your mat in 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

Jessica said...

Megan beat me to it. You are most definitely that friend. An example to all of us who need to do better.

lifein360 said...

I kinda like when my friends judge me. Maybe judge isn't the right word however. I want them to test my limits, question my opinions and tell me the flat out truth even when I don't need to hear it. Especially then actually. Friendships should not be easy, for if they were, we wouldn't cherish them so intensely.

Vera said...

I like to think of friendship as a chore...but not like you think. A friendship can be fun like cleaning out the clothes closet or filing old pictures, it takes you back to places you haven't thought about and puts a smile on your face. Sometimes a friendship is a chore like moppin; you have to get off your butt and make it happen.I like to think of the Rabid runner as the most important and necessary part of the "chore"...THE PINE SOL..everyone loves Pine Sol!

rabidrunner said...

First, friends, thanks for your words of kindness. However, the point of this exercise was not to seduce you all into leaving positive affirmations. The point of this exercise was to illustrate that I have quite a few keeper friends (you guys included,) and I want to keep these keeper friends. I'm not saying that I do not do or have any of those attributes. I'm just saying I can always do better -- evolve, if you will.

I like how Vera called friendship a chore, because a good friendship requires a bit of work. And I expecially (extra especially) like being compared to Pine Sol. There's no finer compliment. Sure of it.

360, I agree with you. You use of the word "judge" is what I like to call the metaphorial-ass-is-on-fire. A good friend will let you know about your ass being on fire so that you can do something about it before it's too late. And a better friend will listen. You're prolly in that better friend category, yes?

Sparks and Jessica, please keep in mind that you both live far away and see me only occasionally. Some people might think I'm a heinous bitch to live by. Vera thinks I'm Pine Sol, though, and she lives by me, so maybe I'm not a heinous bitch to live by, I'm more a pine-sented cleaning solution. I've been called worse and will take that.

Megan and Keli'i said...

This post rocks, as do all of the comments. You guys had me rolling.

Rabid- well written. Finding good friends are few and far between and when we do find them, we'd better appreciate 'em and reciprocate their kindness.

You rock, Rabid. Truly.

radracer said...

Well put, and I beg to differ on your estimation of your friendship abilities. You pointed out that my ass is on fire, and I really ought to do something more about it than wait for it to burn itself out.

After your "Have you had an MRI?" question on Christmas Eve, I finally called the regular doc last week and convinced him to order one. (Yes, I'm a little slow responding.)

I now have a DVD full of cool images and a some explanation of what is going on. Hopefully we'll be able to get the metaphorical fire extinguisher operating and get this thing put out once and for all.

Hopefully I can return the favor sometime.