After a very productive ‘deep and meaningful’ conversation with one of my best friends recently, I started to reflect on the nature of friendship, and a few thoughts emerged regarding what constitutes a healthy friendship. These are my reflections.
There is a place of true connectedness where both friends can be free to be their childlike selves – there is a zone where nothing is being suppressed and where all emotions can be expressed without reservation or tension; happiness, sadness, anger, joy, frustration, anxiety, etc. In the zone of pure friendship, much laughter is to be found. Laughter arises quite spontaneously when both friends feel at ease, which is the result of sharing openly. There are no awkward silences in the zone – silences, maybe, but they are comfortable and natural.
The zone can be reached by talking in depth about our experience of being in the present moment. We can ask our friend the question, ‘What are you feeling right now?’. It is helpful to explore what is going on in the body. Do I feel nervous? Tense? Fragile? Exploring these things in the context of a friendship helps us to open up, and to feel at ease.
There are normally stories attached to our present moment feelings, which can be expressions of a more complex past. These stories might be of hurt, frustration, or loneliness, and might be the result of years of negative feeling being somehow stored up in the body. To share these stories can be liberating, can help heal broken hearts, and can help friends feel closer together.
In a true friendship there is no need or possessiveness, but instead there is an unconditional love. When you love a person for who they are, you don’t need them, you simply want them to be happy.
There never needs to be a reason for a friendship, and it can be damaging to say that your friend is your friend because of such and such a reason, because they make you laugh or because you have the same taste in music. A deep and true friendship will be about so much more that what you have in common with someone – it will be about love.
Friendships are a gift from God and a true blessing. They are to be valued, nurtured, and worked upon, so that hurdles are overcome and a depth of connection is sustained.