Frientimacy: The 3 Requirements of All Healthy Friendships | Shasta Nelson | TEDxLaSierraUniversity



Healthy Friendships

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I’ve been thinking a lot about friends and the meaning of friendship lately; I think it is a matter of timing for me. When I left my home and marriage and started hiking and traveling, I also left some good friends behind. Some of these were work related. That is, I had a group of people I socialized with at work and also with whom I frequently ate lunch. Some of these I have remained in contact with to this time. A few I consider very good friends, even though they live over a thousand miles away.

I have met a lot of people hiking, who were interested in what I was doing, and wanted to help me along the way, but this was a very special situation. I’ve been invited into homes, stores, fed, offered water by field workers as well as hunters, had cars stop to offer me a rest in their air conditioned car, and given the key to their house. I've stopped at churches asking for a place to throw a tent and been shown the guest room, been driven into towns for resupply and burgers, been taken to fiddle concerts and on and on and on.

These relationships gradually slipped into the past, except for a few hiker friendships, which I still have. Letting these go has been a painful experience, which I experienced as a loss, but it’s like trying to hold on to quicksilver. Now, I have been in the same place for almost three years and starting to develop new acquaintances. I am wondering how acquaintances slip into something closer, when the relationship becomes a friendship, and just what is the difference.

At the bottom of emails I receive from one person I think of as a friend (at least a developing friend), I took this saying, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” However, that doesn’t seem to go far enough. I’ve looked ‘friendship’ up on the Internet and it seems others have a hard time defining it also.

One writer thought friendship is all about how much you care and understand each other, about talking, and listening. Another writer wrote that a true friendship is not defined by a huge number of friends but by someone who cares enough to hold you and stand by you in all phases of life. It is also someone for whom you would do the same. The writer went on to say that finding a good friend from among acquaintances would be a very hard task. So far I have realized that a friend does not have to have the same interests or life views that you do. One morning I was surprised by a question from the woman who exercises on the mat next to me. We do not share the same political views, for example, nor read the same books, but when she discovered I was moving to a different apartment, asked if I needed help.

Wikipedia defines a friendship as the cooperative and supportive relationship between two or more people. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship, which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, affection, and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis. These are some of my favorite quotes from the website answerbag.com:

FAKE FRIENDS: Never ask for food.

REAL FRIENDS: Are the reason you have no food.

FAKE FRIENDS: Never seen you cry.

REAL FRIENDS: Cry with you.

FAKE FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.

REAL FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget its yours.

FAKE FRIENDS: Would knock on your front door.

REAL FRIENDS: Walk right in and say "I'M HOME!"

FAKE FRIENDS: Are for a while.

REAL FRIENDS: Are for life.

These are just some of my thoughts and questions. I would love to hear yours.

Last Updated:4/12/2010
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Date: 30.11.2018, 02:37 / Views: 54163