A Few Notes Concerning Friendship


Friendship is, on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the first item under the Love and Belonging category, just above the fundamental physiological and safety needs, and just below self-esteem and self-realization. Whether or not Maslow got it right is up for debate, but one thing’s clear – life without friends is a lonely vagabondage, which makes even the most solitary and self-sufficient of us feel that something is missing.

A friend can tell you things you don’t want to tell yourself.” – Frances Ward Weller

In our day and age, making a new friend (at least in theory) is as easy as pressing the Add Friend button on your Facebook page. But I think there is a danger in that, the danger of trivializing the word friendship, of taking it for granted. Isn’t friendship a bit more than the sense of familiarity that comes with knowing someone and talking with him or her regularly?

Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention. Friendship is always an act of recognition.” – John O’Donohue

The openness of our society, the Internet, social media, the countless means of communication we have at our disposal, all of these make it easier for us to interact with those around us, to establish friendships, online and offline. But it’s not enough to make friends. We should try to nurture friendships, to seek depth and quality over numbers. Cliché as it may sound, one real friend is worth more than a horde of virtual friends. The time you spend making many virtual friends is better spent deepening and strengthening your friendship with one or two people you get along with great.

One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.” – Mindy Kaling

For many years I have lived withdrawn. Dropping out of school meant losing touch with friends. Looking back on my period of isolation, I realize that I have truly missed the warmth, understanding, and innocent (or not so innocent) complicity that comes with friendship. Even the most solitary of us need friends. We need them to help us define who we are. And we must seek them, out there in the world, even if that sounds daunting.

PS: Still don’t have a diagnosis. Will visit another doctor this week.


26 thoughts on “A Few Notes Concerning Friendship

  1. There are always people willing to be friends Victor. It’s a case of noticing.
    I hope this new doctor will prove efficient and helpful. If she/he can’t diagnose an illness, perhaps they can tell you there really isn’t anything to worry about because the symptoms may be from something non-threatening. I’m obviously hoping for that for you.

  2. boy with a hat, I wrote a thesis regarding the Jehovah names of God. It was amazing how closely those names match out needs as illustrated by Maslow. I wrote a section comparing them. My thesis was “If we love God and know his name, he will be our source of: Friendship, Provision, Victory, Guidance, Peace, Holiness, Healing, Righteousness.” I have a bit of it on my web. Maybe your post will spur me on to putting more on my web. I’ll try to put in the chapter on Jehovah-shammah, My Friend, in a few days. Peace and friendship to you.

  3. Well, friends do gro apart after a point. We don’t have similar interests anf life comes in the way especially with school frineds. Life is difficult without them! I am in that part of my life, where making new frineds is more daunting than keeping in touch with old ones.

  4. I agree about isolation. My latest setback kept me isolated for months. I’m looking forward to rekindling some friendships over the summer!

  5. What about those friends with whom you have everything in common, who are your partner in crime, but they don’t like you to rise above themselves. Who always try to bring you down. What about those? Do we continue being friends with them, so do we cut them off? I am at a fix, please help.

  6. Very well written. I feel people throw around the word friends too much. Also, it’s how one defines friends that makes the difference. I have little friends, but many acquaintances.

  7. I guess we all feel our solitude from time to time. True friendship (if there is such a thing outside family) is a rare and precious gift: for me there are drinking friends, there are kissing friends and there are fiscal friends, but I acknowledge the limitations of our relationships, and I do not ask for more than they are happy to give. I have no ‘true’ friends, other than my wife and my dog. Do I feel lonely? No. I value the time I am allowed to be by myself, and to commune with nature, or my inner thoughts.

    Your loneliness, if indeed you have it, is the true gift. It burns a path through your heart where the soldiers of your imagination may sometime march. From all I read of you I know you are a true artist, and as such a certain inner yearning must be your fate.

  8. The word friend is used so loosely nowadays but real ones are hard to come by. I was always taught that there are “friends” and then there are “associates” which are big differences. Friends! How many of us have them?

  9. Dear Vincent,

    I hereby diagnose you as human, sensitive, normally abnormal, perfectly imperfect…and courageous enough to express that. Whoops. I’m not a doctor. I just get it.


  10. Reblogged this on Moi And The World and commented:
    “One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.” – Mindy Kaling

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