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For many years I have lived withdrawn.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.