brief thoughts on friendship

August 22, 2014

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. About the people I care about, who care about me. in fact, I’ve been thinking about romantic relationships too, and how often in life it feels like romance and friendship are set next to each other and friendship is found to be significantly the lesser (see: friendzone, a concept I find repugnant); how friendship is found to be lighter, or- or weaker or simply shallower, and I don’t believe that, I don’t believe that at all. I don’t believe people understand what friendship is, in those circumstances. the people who are my friends- I would not be alive without them, I would not be sane if they were not part of my life; they constitute part of my self, and they are inseparable from my wellbeing. there is no me without my friends.

perhaps it’s that when your life often feels like it’s on the edge of crisis, you are absolutely dependent on other people for survival, emotional and sometimes physical, and in turn learn to offer the same kind of quality of relationship, that same kind of action. perhaps that’s what living with depression and anxiety- and living with others with depression and anxiety- has taught me. friendship for me is going to people’s houses and talking with them during anxiety attacks, is walking people home doggedly despite arguments and insults because you know they’re not safe to be left alone, is calling the ambulance or the crisis team for them; friendship is sitting in hospitals or holding them down while someone else wrestles a lightbulb or a razor out of their hands (I would like that not to happen ever again, please; I am too small to hold people down). friendship is picking someone up at two in the morning when they’re running away from home, and letting them live in your house for a week; friendship is letting that same friend stay many, many, many nights over the course of a couple of years on your floor, or your couch, or in your living room, even when she tries to paint your steps blue in a fit of well-intentioned insanity (even I don’t know what the hell I was thinking; I recall my thought processes and I am still horrified that at the time it seemed like a perfectly logical decision).

friendship is making someone cups of tea in the morning; is cooking them dinner, is texting them every few days to find out how they are, is writing them a letter or drawing them a picture; friendship is buying someone a book because it made you think of them, or some soap because it smelled good and you thought it would brighten their day. friendship is baking with and for; friendship is hugging them at one in the morning when they bawl over your floor, or talking them back into equilibrium at four in the morning and reminding them of hope. friendship is staying up all night with someone who is going through hell and needs to talk about it; friendship is the phone beginning to hurt your ear because it’s been glued there for hours. friendship is space and silence, and pottering around a house, drinking cups of tea and reading in the same room; friendship is being held and sat with, or sat on.

friendship is being sensible at people, and reminding them of perspective; friendship is talking them through their fears and being available to listen and ask questions on Facebook chat when they’re having a bad day. friendship is dumplings and deep-fried mussels and staying the night; is emails into the silence and staying present, staying there even when life takes people sideways for a little. friendship is lingering with, is staying with, is living with, through the difficult and the everyday. Faithfulness. And for me, and for a lot of people I know, a lot of days are difficult, and I have had the best of friends throughout it. I have learned and I am learning from them how to be faithful and how to be a friend who listens and who cares and who stays, and I have been shown this over and over again in the people they are, in the faithful everyday. this is why I love my friends so fiercely. they have blessed me with who they are. God, I have been blessed. there are few other things in life that make me happier than my friends.

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