Why Is Friendship So Important? By Dr. Linda Berman.

50303989516_6ae3f88139_oKees van Dongen – Deauville, Joie de Vivre [c.1922]

The painting above depicts friendship in a crowd of people enjoying what appears to be a tea dance overlooking the sea in France.

That was 1922. The final fourth wave of Spanish Flu, which began in 1918, had abated by 1920, and perhaps their joie de vivre was related to their fairly new freedom and enjoyment of life…………..Who knows?

What we do know, is that now, in 2020, nearly a hundred years later, we could not express our joie de vivre in this free way, even if we felt it. We cannot celebrate with others, except with limitations and restrictions, due to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

Now our friendships are mostly maintained through socially distanced meet-ups, on our mobile phones, or online.

  • Yet we need friendships now, more than ever.

“Life is an awfully ugly place not to have a best friend.”

Sarah Dessen.

Friendship is important now, during the pandemic, as we need others to share our feelings with, offer support, compare reactions, help us get through this ‘ugly’ time.

“Friend is the person that holds your hand and touches your heart!”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  • What are the aspects of friendship that make it so important?

Being there.

Our true friends are by our side when we are in need of them.

A real friend is with us even when we are apart. They are there, in our heart, in spirit.

“Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend.”

Albert Camus

Acceptance of who we are; Friends come with Health Benefits.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

Elbert Hubbard

Research shows that having friends is good for our health and wellbeing. Amongst other health-giving benefits, friendship helps reduce stress and the risk of heart disease and depression.

Within the accepting atmosphere of a good and empathic friendship, we can feel relaxed and at ease. We can be ourselves. There is understanding, each of the other.

“One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention.”

Clifton Fadiman.

Quality not Quantity.

We do not need that many real friends. Maybe those who have loads of friends do not have the same depth of friendship?

“If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.”

S.E. Hinton

 
“Only my books anoint me,
and a few friends,
those who reach into my veins.”
 
Anne Sexton

Constancy.

27437501865_40c45f3bbe_oPeter Hansen – Two Friends [c.1910] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Real friends remain in our lives, or if not, in our memories, forever. They are there for us in bad times and good.

“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

Oprah Winfrey

Friends are sad for you at difficult times; they can also share in the joy of your success.

“The shifts of fortune test the reliability of friends.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Your truest friends are the ones who will stand by you in your darkest moments–because they’re willing to brave the shadows with you–and in your greatest moments–because they’re not afraid to let you shine.”

Nicole Yatsonsky

 

Understanding , Empathy and Trust.

26061497327_9525c348f3_o

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Confidentiality [1897] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It is imperative in a real friendship that there is trust. We all have different levels of friendship, which may range from acquaintances, through social friends and then to our best, closest friends, with whom there is mutual support, reciprocity of feeling, and concern.

Only when there is a kind, reliable, empathic listening ear can we trust a friend with our confidences; having an available and sensitive friend is especially crucial if we are going through hard times.

47401016681_91c7c5bf1d_oChristian Krohg – Good Friends [1897] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

Some Interesting Facts About Friendship You May Not Have Considered Before.

  • We unconsciously choose friends who can complement and complete us.

“A friend is, as it were, a second self.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Psychoanalytically speaking, the ‘chemistry’ involved in choosing a friends is akin to the process of selecting a partner or spouse.

There is not a great deal written about friend selection from a psychoanalytical perspective, but I definitely think that the existing theories about the choice of a loving partner also reflect the choice of a close friend.

Whilst we may consciously look for friends who have similar interests and outlook on life as ourselves, the selection of friends is partially an unconscious process. We seek in another aspects of ourselves that will make us feel more complete.

The seminal work, Marital Tensions, by Henry Dicks, describes the process of partner choice from a psychoanalytical perspective.

It also has, in my opinion, relevance to friendship selection:

“Dicks’s genius was to see how two personalities in a marriage united not just at the level of conscious choice, compatibility and sexual attraction, but also at the unconscious level, where they experienced an extraordinary fit of which they were unaware. Glimmers of lost parts of the self are seen in the spouse and this excites the hope that through marriage unacceptable parts of the self can be expressed vicariously.

Dicks noted that the fit between spouses, their “unconscious complementariness,” leads to the formation of a “joint personality”. 

Scharff & Scharff.

Similarly, the following quotes support this view:

“Our self comes to include who we become close to.”

James Coan.

“An optimist is a person who has a depressed friend.”

(Spanish Proverb/origin unknown.)

“There’s not a word yet, for old friends who’ve just met.”

Jim Henson

  • We need self esteem  and self-care to have a friend.

“I believe with all my heart that the clichés are true, that we are our own best friends and best company, and that if you’re not right for yourself, it’s impossible to be right for anyone.”

Rachel Machacek

Only if we are confident inside ourselves, in terms of our identity and our abilities, can we share ourselves, our thoughts and ideas with like-minded others.

We cannot make others feel good if we do not feel good about ourselves.

“True happiness arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self, and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.”

Joseph Addison

40525056213_9f89fbeb16_oAlexander (Sandy) Moffat – Poet’s Pub [1980]

  • Sometimes we might need to move on.

“You will evolve past certain people. Let yourself.”

Mandy Hale

Some friends stay in our lives forever, but sometimes, it happens that we grow out of a friendship and want to move on. This needs to be done with care and sensitivity, where possible.

We change, our circumstances change, and others around us change too. People move to other areas, lose touch, fall out, alter their lifestyle, or their Ways of Thinking.

Friendship is a process, and sometimes the process takes us into other ways of being. This does not makes us ‘bad,’ just human.

I’ve decided that I’m not going to try to squeeze myself into a friendship that hurts me anymore. I’m going to let her go and just be friends with people who make me feel good about myself.

Zoe Sugg

“One of life’s challenging realizations is that sometimes you outgrow your friends.”

Steve Maraboli

  • Friendship is two-way.

“The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

31201858477_6f26de7eed_oEdward Hopper – Chop Suey [1929]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

One-side friendships do not work. Being a good friend involves reciprocation, give and take. Friendships need time and effort, so that the other feels always cared for and kept in mind. 

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Edgar Degas – Two Women in Conversation [1884]

  • The Power Of Friendships That Last A Lifetime.

Lifelong friends are flexible and accepting of differences and changes in the other’s life. They move with the times, adapting and adjusting as life creates new situations and circumstances for each of them.  

True friends are there for each other through thick and thin; they share a history and memories.

Such friendships are powerfully important in our lives; the loss of a close friend reveals how deep are such bonds. The memories and the love linger on, but the loss is palpable……

“Where has this cold come from?
“It comes from the death of your friend.”

Will I always, from now on, be this cold?
“No, it will diminish. But always it will be with you.”

What is the reason for it?
“Wasn’t your friendship always as beautiful as a flame?”

Mary Oliver, Felicity

pikrepo.com

©Linda Berman.

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