So what makes up a good friendship and how does one get formed. I found myself in front of the mirror this morning while brushing thinking out loud. From my childhood, I have two close friends I pretty much take as my brothers, and I wondered what the key ingredients of this relationship are? We don't like each other's post on Facebook, one isn't on Facebook and the other I never get to see his posts, to begin with. We also don't chat every day on WhatsApp and maybe in a month, we get a brief few minutes a month for a catch-up.
In my adulthood, I also have a few close friends. And the key ingredients are pretty much the same. An open heart to share, a willingness to give the friendship a chance to grow, time and love.
In our present time where friendship is evaluated on a transaction of giving and taking, we easily fall into the trap of running an accountancy business. If we spend time taking stock of how many good deeds we both have, such friendship is only a matter of time before the accounts don't balance. In today, there are more technology and entertainment to keep us distracted that we lose the time we could have invested into building lasting friendship.
So speaking of my childhood friends, why has this lasted over the ages? I looked backed and realised it is about shared experiences, time, disagreements and lots of reconciliation. I can liken this to soldiers in a platoon. Ever wonder why Soldiers find it difficult to mingle with the civilian population after a deployment? They always return to seek the company of their comrades.
Bonds shared amongst soldiers stretch from a shared experience of surviving being shot at, going through training, standing guard together in the heat and sharing a not so fancy meal at the table over a while. Shared experiences are the key ingredient of a lasting friendship. Lets also not forget the fights and arguments. Any association without arguments is just a hotbed of volcanic activities waiting to erupt at any point in time.
Being open and vulnerable is also key to a lasting friendship. It is risky to be vulnerable and scary because we are afraid to be seen as fallible or weak. Knowing your friend's weakness is essential to understanding their humanity. Also sharing those struggles, sharing those down moments, brings both parties in a relationship closer.
I have had falling out with my childhood friends so many time, there is no point keeping scores, but as we get older, the space of time before the next fight gets longer and longer. We know and understand our boundaries better. And we also push each other's buttons from time to time but push just deep enough to have a laugh and nothing further.
With an open heart comes truth. In friendship, you will have to tell the truth. No amount of brushing it off will resolve anything. As a matter of fact, when things hit the fan, all the things brushed off resurface. An open heart brings to bare our vulnerabilities and fears to the table, and it needs to be reciprocated. In a friendship, we both take turns to be weak and strong. If only one party is soft and the other is always strong, we may need to ask - maybe the stable party isn't putting forward an open heart.
So as adults in our present time, why is friendship such difficult relations to forge? Children aren't burdened with the worries of bills, job hunting and focus more on playing, laughter and sharing toys. These are the basis of forming long-lasting friendships. This is why our childhood relationships have lasted through the times - shared experiences.
It is also a two-way thing. Both parties in a supposed relationship need to be equal on the table. When we visit the round table of friendship, all parties are of equal, and neither is greater. So if a person extends friendship and you don't reciprocate or open your heart to receiving and returning, it won't be nurtured no matter what the person does.
An excellent time to form friendship is in a moment of joy and peace. Invite a person to drinks, to parties, or just give a simple phone call. Adversity can also be an excellent time to form a friendship. So let's hope when we are free to mingle outside again, we will take a few more steps to mend friendships and build new ones.