With this post I am covering the topics of Fellowship and Friendship, two things which are core to our experiences as human beings. Psychologists tell us that humans are social animals, that we are dependant on links with other human beings in order to survive in a healthy psychological state.
Friendship is something that affects all of our lives at a deeply personal level. Personally, I think that bonds of friendship are some of the most enduring connections we as human beings can make in our lives, stronger even than bonds we make with those people whom we love intimately. You might argue that those bonds that we make with those we love in a closer way are stronger because those in such bonds would do far more because of this link that friends would do for each other. With this, I would disagree, because of the simple fact that bonds between lovers are built with passion and passion can change faster than the wind, thus such bonds could crumble without warning. I do not mean to say that I do not believe in love, for I do and in fact view such an emotion as one of the most powerful things we as humans can feel. Yet I maintain that bonds of friendship are far more hardy and less likely to crumble at a whim (though admittedly, many of us have seen that they sometimes do). However, I think far too often we forget that we feel love for our friends as well, and that it is this kind of love, the love of companionship, that gives our lives more shape.
For example, consider how influenced we are by our friends compared with those whom are loved by us in another fashion. Speaking from observation, we tend to follow what our friends are doing far more closely than what our partners are doing. This is not to say that we are more interested in one or the other, though perhaps we might be, but it is instead to say that in many situations, our friends effect us more. For example, when our friends begin to follow certain trends, we also follow these trends, most of the time, and are less likely to do so when our partners do it. It can be argued that we follow our partners more out of love, but I have found that, certainly more so in more modern culture, that if one member of an intimate relationship attempts to change the other, then the other individual will fight against this and demand to be accepted for what they are. To some extend, this happens with friends as well, though more often than not, people tend to conform with whatever their friendship group are doing. Perhaps it is to do with the increased number of people in a friendship group and some innate fear of loosing all one’s friendship connections.
I find myself reminded of the Spice Girl’s Lyric (my YouTube history feels slightly tainted from having searched for this) from their song “Wannabe”:
“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends”
Fundamentally, I think that acceptance is what makes our relationships worthwhile, for having a relationship, of either kind mentioned above, in which there is some lack of acceptance puts a strain on that link which must be removed in order to save the relationship. However, I also think that equality, even in a bond of friendship, is also key. This is not just in a manner of treating each other equally, but also of putting equal amounts of effort into a friendship. Now, I know many people might think that at this point I’m drawing far too many links between romantic and friendly relationships, but I think that socially, the best and most worthwhile friendships involve equality. Several times myself, and some others I know, have found friendships soured because of an equality imbalance which has tainted the bond of fellowship.
Something else that I have come to see is that in our culture at the moment, everyone is out for their own gain. We live in an Individualist Society, in which all to rarely do we consider other people and what we could do for them. I think that this self-serving principle has infiltrated our mindsets down to the level where we are now acting in a selfish manner to our friends, seeing what they could do for us and not how we can help them. We all we look at is ourselves, we lose sight of the bigger picture, the one which is showing us how our culture is suffering from widespread apathy in the form of “well it’s not my problem” or “well it’s not my responsibilit”. This is childish. It’s that simple. With maturity comes an understanding that we have certain responsibilities.
Thus, I shall leave you with another quote:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke
Once we start being more interested in the world around us, and less focused on ourselves, then perhaps we can dispel this dark cloud of selfishness that has infiltrated out culture.