3 Questions to Ask Yourself About Every Friendship. Reclaiming Friendship: A Visual Taxonomy of Platonic Relationships to Counter the Commodification of the Word “Friend” Friendship, C.S.
Lewis believed, “like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself … has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” But the poetic beauty of this sentiment crumbles into untruth for anyone who has ever been buoyed from the pit of despair by the unrelenting kindness of a friend, or whose joys have been amplified by a friend’s warm willingness to bear witness. I often puzzle over the nature, structure, and function of friendship in human life — a function I have found to be indispensable to my own spiritual survival and, I suspect, to that of most human beings.
But during a recent interview on Think Again, I found myself concerned with the commodification of the word “friend” in our culture. David Whyte on the True Meaning of Friendship, Love, and Heartbreak. “Words belong to each other,” Virginia Woolf asserted in the only surviving recording of her voice.
But words also belong to us, as much as we belong to them — and out of that mutual belonging arises our most fundamental understanding of the world, as well as the inescapable misunderstandings that bedevil the grand sensemaking experiment we call life. This constant dialogue between reality and illusion, moderated by our use of language, is what poet and philosopher David Whyte explores in Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words (public library) — a most remarkable book “dedicated to WORDS and their beautiful hidden and beckoning uncertainty.”
Whyte chooses 52 such ordinary words, the same number as the playing cards in a standard deck — perhaps a subtle suggestion that words, like cards, are as capable of illusion as they are of magic: two sides of the same coin, chosen by what we ourselves bring to the duality. Steinbeck and the Difficult Art of the Friend Breakup.
“A friend,” wrote the poet and philosopher John O’Donohue in his beautiful meditation on the Ancient Celtic notion of anam cara, “awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.”
Réflexion de Steinbeck à mettre en parallèle avec celle de Hannah Arendt sur la philia des anciens grecs. – ioannis06
But what happens when a friendship ceases to magnify your spirit and instead demands that you be a smaller version of yourself?
While David Whyte is absolutely right in that “all friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness,” there comes a point past which granting forgiveness yet again for the same hurtful behavior becomes not an act of moral strength but one of moral weakness — an exercise in self-mutilation in the unwillingness to relinquish what has metastasized into a draining or even abusive relationship. That’s what John Steinbeck (February 27, 1902–December 20, 1968) confronted in his mid-thirties as his friendship with George Albee, another young writer, grew increasingly strained by Albee’s professional jealousy. Unpleasant thing. The Obligatory Friend. Can you grow out of friendships?
Sadly, I think the answer is yes. Does this story sound familiar to you: I met Sophie on a writer’s retreat. We bonded immediately—standing in line to get our room keys. I loved her shoes, she loved my scarf. What happens when you realize an old friend has become an obligatory friend? Obligatory Friend: n Someone you don’t enjoy spending time with, but end up spending time with because you feel guilty, it’s a habit or you do not know how to stop.
This doesn’t usually happen over night. Obligatory Friend Warning Signs: There are warning signs… Overtime you grow apartYour interests have gotten more and more differentYou are less alike than you originally thoughtYou no longer work together / are on the same sports team / go to the same organizationYou have become different people than you were when you were youngerYou have nothing in common anymoreYou no longer live nearby This most commonly happens with: Here’s my big idea: …and this is not a bad thing. Stop. The Joy (and Benefits) of Renewing Old Friendships. 8 Signs of a Toxic Friendship. Loneliness. Social Networking. How to Move a Relationship out of the Friend Zone. How Friendship Turns Into Romance.