I know a girl who, when she was in grade school, was asked to write down the name of her best friend in the class on a slip of paper. Her teacher instructed everyone in the class to…but she refused. That same teacher later called the
girl’s mother to tell her that out of all of the slips from the rest of the class the little girl’s name appeared the most; the girl who refused to choose one, to say one person as a best friend was a best friend to so many others. They called her their best friend. Maybe they didn’t have anyone else. Things are so simple in childhood, and yet they are echoes of what is to come. That girl isn’t little anymore, she’s all grown up, and she feels so alone. Life is tragic, and so often I’ve found that though each of us are surrounded by people most of us feel alone, misunderstood, friendless… Through 7 cups, through everyday encounters in the workplace, in my people place (the school), on facebook. This truth keeps recurring–this overwhelming feeling of aloneness that overcomes the minds of individuals, despite our connected culture, despite our interactions, despite all the best friends catchphrases, and the images we paste on social media of us smiling and surrounded by people, I have come to the realization that most of us feel alone.
I wonder if this is different from, say, ten years ago when life was slower and connections, though fewer, were perhaps more meaningful with depth, or maybe this is an occurrence that has been as pervasive as now ever since man’s fall in the Garden of Eden? Do all of ya’ll have any thoughts on that? Loneliness will not exist in Heaven. What a sweet, relieving thought. But for now it must be dealt with in the long nights, yes, but also in the days when we paste on our happy face whilst surrounded by people, when we practice our small talk skills exchanging recipes and meaningless anecdotes in the attempt to make conversation, doing our best to keep deep or controversial things left by the wayside. That’s a pet peeve of mine. What is the point of interaction void of meaning? It’s stupid. Chitchat is ridiculous. Let’s talk about the meaning of life not the salad dressing you made for last night’s dinner. Mayhap I’m weird, and thus alone. Depth scares people, I think. But I’ve found it can also attract them. Ask people about themselves and as they grow to trust you they’ll talk for hours. Ask about their struggles and their thoughts and fears. That, for me, is an engaging conversation, that is something worth taking time to talk about.
How do you make friends? How do you find friends? What are you guys’ thoughts on that? Do you feel alone? Do you have friends? Do you feel that most of the friendships in your life are one way, or that both parties are really making an effort? I really don’t have the answers on this topic, but I have lots and lots of questions. There are many friendship related experiences and stories jumbled up in my head besides the one I shared, but that doesn’t mean I know how to make them into a cohesive whole. By now you probably know that conclusive blog posts are not a specialty of mine. On one hand I suppose it doesn’t matter if one can pinpoint the moment when someone becomes more than an acquaintance, when they become a true friend, but on the other hand maybe it does… I suspect that each of us have different definitions for that word “friendship”; I’ve been told that my definition is a rather large set of shoes to fill. I guess we just all expect the other person to go to the lengths we would go, which really isn’t reasonable. We don’t all speak the same love language, and even when we do love someone and try to speak their love language we are not fluent in it. That is a paraphrase of some of what she said in this post , which was specifically meant to address romantic relationships, but I think that thought applies to the topic of friendship as well. At least, I hope that you could say that your significant other is a friend of yours, if not maybe there is something wrong.
For me, I have found that most of my friends walk a very different path in life than I do. If I’m honest, many of those I talk to on a day to day basis (mostly via social media, though I have met most of them) are not Christians. One that is has drastically different theological views on the topic of predestination and such than I do, another that is is a Catholic who was recently confirmed in the church, but I’m not sure how much she applies of what she knows about God. Judge those things as you will…They know I am Christian. I know people who say your best friends should all be Christians, but I ask them: What happens when things don’t quite work out that way? To a point, yes, you can choose your friends, but most Christians I know are too busy to have time to invest in a friendship with me, and I take what I can get. If “what I can get” is nonChristians is that a crime? Are they somehow lesser friends? I think not. They know my faith and they respect it, some come to me with questions and struggles, some are even yet hesitant to open up. Many of my friendships could be considered one sided…I know a lot about my friends and invest in getting to know them and they don’t know a whole lot about what I’m going through, but part of that is my fault. On one hand I am vulnerable and open, but on another I suppose you could say I’m a hard egg to crack. I like that I confuse people sometimes, I like having an air of mystery, so my aloneness may be self imposed. Maybe that is the case for others too? In any case, this post has gone on for long enough. I’d love to hear your thoughts.