Have you ever heard or have you ever seen, father-son; mother-daughter; husband-wife; boss-subordinates; brother-sister as a friend? Might be yes, but how often and how genuine. At the end of a day, the message is, “mein tumhara baap hoon, jo mein kahta hoon, who karo” (I am your father, do what I say). Recently, I posted one query, “Can an adult male and female be just friends”, and replies are just shocking (read below). That is why, I say, friendship is a relation of choice. But, do you know the meaning of “FRIENDSHIP”, yes, you know, you have read in some newspapers and magazines, but what about applying the same.
Before I start I know, as you probably know, that a friendship can be an antidote for loneliness or depression or even boredom. But it should be just more than an antidote for these problems. What are the qualities that lead to a solid friendship?
First of all, friendship must be genuine. In friendships we reveal what we are and who we are capable of becoming. Friendships demand that we reveal ourselves without pretenses or masks, without affection or deception. G.K. Chesterton knowing the risks involved in cultivating a solid friendship, summed it up when he said, “Friends are those with whom our faults are safe.”
Another ingredient necessary for the cultivation of a friendship is that one must be generous. The friendship is its own reward. Christ summed up the element of generosity when he said, “greater love than this no one has than he who lays down his life for his friend.”
Another quality needed for a friendship is that it be gratuitous. It is a free donation or offering of one person to another. Friendship is never marred by jealousy. There must be a certain freedom between the two friends. Otherwise, there could be the problem of possessiveness or even suffocation of the friendship.
Other qualities could be mentioned so that solid friendships can be cultivated. A sense of humor, charity, understanding, compassion is only some of the ingredients that have to be cultivated for a solid friendship with another.
Just one more thought on this subject. For many people in this world, life is cold, lonely and hard. If they had one friend, their lives would not only be different, but happier. A friendship is a touch of heaven on earth. And you can bring a touch of heaven into someone’s life.
Friendship between male and female
Hence, strong friendships between a man and woman are sometimes difficult to understand and accept though relationships between two women or men is more readily accepted by our society. When a man and woman hold hands in public, automatically they are assumed to be lovers. Friends are friends and lovers are lovers. Very few people are physically affectionate with their friends. People find it difficult to dissociate love from sex. If two people express love and affection for each other it is assumed that they are lovers. The truth is fairly simple: two people like each other, are comfortable together and a special bond of friendship develops between them.
Sometimes friendship is taken for granted and people are willing to give it up when they fall in love, want to marry or have a long term relationship. Sexual or romantic love is assumed to be better and therefore preferred.
There are factors which decides if a male and female can be JUST friends or not and we will discuss here, one afrer another.
1) Your Mental and Emotional Make-up: It need high level of maturity, understanding and wavelength for any couple to keep that thought of intimacy away from their heart throughout the relation.
2) Type of School and College you have studied in: If you have studied in “all boys or all girls” type of schools and colleges then there is a high chance that your relation with your counterpart of opposite gender will not be clean and transparent as compared to those who have studied to “Co-Education” system.
3) Number of friends with Opposite Genders: If you have more friends from opposite gender than there is a chance that your friendship with those people will be clean…with any thought of intimacy compare to those who have one or just limited friends from opposite gender.
4) Family Background: If the family of more orthodox, traditional, with very strict value system…then also at times… there are chances that you cannot be JUST friends with a person from opposite gender.
5) Stage of life you are going through: If you are facing lots of rejections, emotional instability, frustration, lots of struggle and if your performance is not appreciated by your bosses and colleagues…then also you try to find that solace, that comfort by intimately getting involved…because their you find acceptance and emotional comfort.
6) Profession you are into and type of organization you are working in: As we have discussed in one of the cases…if it is male or female dominated company or department…there are also people tend to get involved with people of opposite genders.
7) Successful, Happy Married Life and Unsuccessful and Unhappy Married Life: If you don’t have successful and happy married life…you are not getting that time, care, and affection as you want and if you have a friend from opposite gender who is taking care of you, giving you time, affection and emotional support than also there are high chances of developing those intimate relation…much above your “JUST” friendship thought.
So, it is possible to be “JUST” friends with people of opposite gender and it depend on your maturity, mindset and your need at that particular time. We can talk about our thoughts; our feelings but you cannot say the same thing about the person of opposite gender. You never know what your friend is talking about you in his or her group of friends.
As far as my personal experiences goes…I have lot many “Female Friends” from different cities, different countries, from different age groups, married-unmarried-singles and now gender hardly matters to me. We discuss about our experiences, go out for dinner, movie, and picnic and also give comforts…if there are any issues at professional and personal fronts. But, as I said earlier…I can say how I feel, what I think…I cannot say with any surety as what they feel and think.
If the sexual element in a relationship is lost, no friendship is left and the couple moves away from each other in every respect. Instead of seeing sexual relationships as friendships, which include sex, couples often see them as separate from any kind of friendship. If people could break away from this tradition they could be friends with their lovers and ex-lovers and enjoy close, happy and meaningful relationships. This would also reflect a certain amount of growth and maturity of the personality.
My Gift to all my friends for their Friendship
I love you not only for what you are,
but for what I am when I am with you.
I love you not only for what you have made of yourself,
but for what you are making of me.
I love you for the part of me that you bring out.
I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart,
and passing over all the foolish and frivolous and weak things
which you cannot help dimly seeing there,
and for drawing out into the light
all the beautiful, radiant belongings,
that no one else had looked quite far enough to find.
I love you for ignoring the possibilities of the fool
and weakling in me,
and for laying firm hold
on the possibilities of good in me.
I love you for closing your eyes to the discords in me,
and for adding to the music in me by worshipful listening.
I love you because you are helping me
to make of the lumber of my life not a tavern but a Temple,
and of the words of my every day not a reproach but a song.
I love you because you have done more
than any creed could have done to make me good,
and more than any fate could have done to make me happy.
You have done it just by being yourself.
Perhaps that is what being a friend means after all
Saying so, I never mean to say that, I will be giving you solutions for all your problems
As a friend, I may not be able to give solutions to all of life’s problems, doubts, or fears; but I can listen to you, and together we can seek answers. I can’t change your past with all its heartache and pain, nor the future with it’s untold stories; but I can be there now when you need me to care.
I can’t keep your feet from stumbling. I can only offer my hand that you may grasp it and not fall. Your joys, triumphs, successes, and happiness are not mine; yet I can share in your laughter and joy.
Your decisions in life are not mine to make, nor to judge; I can only support you, encourage you, and help you when you ask. I can’t give you boundaries, which I have determined for you, But I can give you the room to change, room to grow, room to be yourself.
I can’t keep your heart from breaking and hurting, but I can cry with you and help you pick up the pieces and put them back in place. I can’t tell you who you are. I can only love you and be your friend.
And every morning when you open your eyes, tell yourself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every second is a gift from God, you’ve got to dance like nobody’s watching, and love like it’s never going to hurt.
People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don’t need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there.
“Friendship is the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring all right out just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful friendly hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and, with a breath of comfort, blow the rest away.”
Not only in Friendship but also in all the relations love is the driving force that creates and sustains it. The kind of love friends have for each other is the desire to know, serve and share. It is the antithesis of lust – the desire to acquire, possess and control. It is what makes one want to connect with another human consciousness – intellectually, emotionally and physically.
Unspoken doubts and suspicions are barriers that limit the possible depth to which a friendship can progress. Love empowers friends to say how they feel about each other without inhibition or fear of hurting each other’s feelings. It thereby allows them to resolve their doubts and suspicions about each other, thus removing the barriers and opening the way to an ever-deeper friendship.
Because friends love each other, one never attempts to force, coerce or control the other to change for the better. One friend only informs the other of the way he or she feels. Love will motivate the informed friend to change him or herself for the better. Because friends love each other, they will never use each other as a means to an end – as a human resource to be used and abused for self gain. A friend – as a precious sentient consciousness – is an end in him or herself. That end is the joy of sharing experiences and reciprocal love.
Let me know, what you have to say about it.
With lots of love and care,