Monday, October 7, 2013

Familiar Friends?



Friends are not forgotten; some we simply do not meet often. After all, dependence on friendship is to have one or both frustrated; obligation makes martyrs of us all. We think of our friends. We miss them. We dip into their lives and into their immediate, and they into our immediate, commingle briefly, then we or they lift off from each other’s vicinity and we know it may  be days, or weeks, months, years, decades before we see one another again. And if you’re like me, the “wish I hadda” phrase comes haunting. What might I have said? What did I forget to say? Eh? And how much of our time was really mostly about me? What should I not have said? What did I forget to show my friend? What did I neglect to find out?

Like that of a dartboard’s mathematical precision, there are segments to friendships. We place boundaries around certain topics. We allow proximity at given perimeters. We ward off with an almost magical shield the would-be darts to our most intimate centres. We apportion and fixate and tabulate the results of friendships, and some flow easily, and some appear to depend on circumstance, and some friends go forever unquestioned, whatever, yet others are indeed equivocal.

Things are not always as they seem. That word, ‘equivocal’, means vague, ambiguous, ambivalent, oblique, unclear, evasive, or shifty. I used to think it meant ‘equally-vocal’, equally matched, well paired, commensurate, on the same page, of the same mind, at ease in one another’s company, or not arguable, ha! Goes to show it’s good to check up on guess-work.

Assumption, presumption, inference, speculation, supposition, and a host of other possibilities attend friendships. Rarely is ‘unconditional positive acceptance’ simply one of those things. We talk about our friends. We praise them in glowing terms and then say, “but”. We absently give voice to ‘barely being able to stand’ a given friend, and then treat that same person with civility, pleasantness, and even affection when in their company. And most often, we treat the discourse over a friend as though it is confidential, just between us, guised as mere analysis. Ha! Seems that in the company of those who talk about others, knowing they’ll talk about you, it’s best not to talk about others in the negative at all, ever, ha!

There is a homily about conversing. It says how one oughtta be more conscious of a hierarchy in conversational topics. We talk about people; or things; or ideas. And that’s just a ranking for us when talking! We easily throw mind darts at dress, music choices, physical types, and hygiene!

Friendship is difficult to define. We choose friends at the slightest of whims, or not. We build friendships carefully, or not. We sometimes write or receive letters and notes that declare care, or worse, bring an end to friendship. We dismiss, snub, ward off, or drop friends. We also keep them close, contact them, maintain them, and cherish them.

For me the love I give a friend never goes away, but the liking, interest, sense of a commensurate companionship and ease of conversation sure can fluctuate.

For you?


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