The Question as John posed it 9x23:
What do we owe a friend?These are the points that tumbled onto the yellow pad, beginning with the negative:
What are the obligations and responsibilities of friendship?
Which does rather raise the basic question of what friendship really is. Here's my summary of the moment:
Friends are those with whom sympathies are shared, and past togethernesses are remembered, and in general with whom one is in basic agreement. It refers to and is rooted in the memory of time-and-place; a dyadic (and even triadic and beyond) relationship of shared experience and understanding, "bonding", brought forward into the present despite ever-differentiating life paths. And Trust is always the key. The common understanding is often/mostly tacit, undiscussed, assumed. The relationship is meant/presumed to be reciprocal, more or less equal, based in fellow-feeling and trust developed and then retained as time progresses. Periodic communication keeps friendships alive, but people's lives and attachments and interests and engagements with the world and even ideas and beliefs morph, sometimes beyond recognition.
Here are some preliminary thoughts On Friendship from our last shot at this Question, found in a 6ii19 yellow pads entry:
It occurred to me that friends are people who are party to the stories of one's life, participants in ongoing conversations, persons in sympathy with the details of one's being. Of course it's a matter of degree: some are closer, more entangled, with longer backlogs.
The experience of meeting again with friends of the past is an opportunity to carry on, or to place the relationship into the past and leave it there. I've had both experiences.
The making of new friends, the gradual extension of the stories, isn't something does lightly or without care in the intricacies of presentation.
On friendship abused, presumed upon, checkmated --which does sometimes happen, and one needs strategies to cope if it happens, and DEWLine feelers to enable to warn that one is in danger of doing it to a friend... And what is one to do if a 'friend' violates those terms of friendship (the dos and don'ts above)? withdraw? allow to wither via non-reply? ghost? have some sort of confrontation (always awkward, like an Intervention)?
What levels of hypocrisy can we tolerate, in self and others? Ask: ?Am I being manipulated or deceived? Do I experience violations of personal space and integrity? (pretty central to Identity). Is this relationship toxic?
A whole subarea to do with the occasions of re-engaging with friends of former times ... exchanges of information to indicate who one has become since losing touch (or background archiving of active relationship). We knew each other then. Do we find that we still have the same sympathy? Ought we to pretend that we do, to preserve "smooth interpersonal relations"?
and such attempted reconnections have risks, like *Too Much Information*, or being exhausting beyond the bandwidth the potential interlocutor has available in the resumed interaction; the 'attackabottoni' issue and the latent/covert emotional demand: reconnect with meeeee... all tantamount to Informing Against Others' Will
A favorite quote from Emerson:
A man of 45 does not want to open new accounts of friendship.
He has said kitty kitty long enough
And another element of Friendship that's worth exploring is the notion of one's larger Acquaintanceship, a moving/morphing Ego-centered force field in time, within which Friendship is a sub-domain: people with whom one has enough contact to have memories of, who belong to times and places, and may fade into sketchy memories or beyond, or who occasionally be promoted to actual Friendship.