Some friends are there to stay. Others pay only a short visit in our lives. Even if some friendships are not meant to last in time, they teach us some lessons about ourselves.
The celebration of Valentine’s Day, which in countries like Finland, is called “Friends’ Day”, makes me think of the value of friendships. Each one of us has all sorts of friendships, with their particular dynamics and based on different foundations. We can befriend someone because he/she is considerate or funny or strong or sexy or knowledgeable or rich, etc. Most likely, there is one aspect about our friend which we like, attracts us and to a certain extent, makes us addicted.
I used to consider friendships as a publicly declared brotherhood, in which we pledge loyalty and sincerity.
Life has proved me that only a few friendships are forever. When a new chapter in life is approaching the end, some friends go as well. There is sadness and disillusionment, but before we have time to figure out what happened, new friends inaugurate another chapter.
What do we learn from the cycle of friendships?
To be humble. Our importance in the friends’ lives is minimal and temporal. We can pour all our affection onto our friends but at the same time, we need to understand that one day, they may very well leave without saying good-bye or slamming the door with an insult.
To celebrate each stage of our lives. In each friendship, there is something we have in common. For example, when I was single, I used to spend more time with friends who were single. Now, when I am a mother, I seek the company of friends who are mothers.
To apprehend our personal growth. Some friends are mirrors of ourselves. They possess strengths which are missing in us. In a way, these friendships are like a yin yang. This means that we also posses strengths, which our friends lacked at a particular point in the relationship.
To manage our vulnerability. We uncover a side of ourselves in each friendship. When the friendship ends, that shared side of ourselves feels like a wound for a while. Yet, sharing a part of ourselves is the most precious gift that we can give to someone else. For example, I like to imagine that I donated a painting of my emotional mood to a friend who is not part of my life any longer.
Not to take things personally. When we fail to understand our friends’ perspective, it’s a good time to remember that the way friends behave has nothing to do with what we did. On the contrary, it tells something about them, something that we didn’t see in them before.
How trustworthy are friendships?
Friends can betray us. They can reveal ugly sides. Yet, having friends is a main component of life. We laugh together, we cry together and we go separate ways.
Friendships may not be forever, hell, none of us is forever! But what would our inner lives be without the touch of friendship? As for me, what can I say? I am a lucky girl to have all the friends that I have had.