Friendship

As we get to know someone friendship begins to grow. This is a vital aspect of lasting, meaningful relationships. When a relationship is built only on physical interaction, it very quickly becomes dull and meaningless.

Knowing about who the other person is, and liking that person for who they really are is vital to any lasting relationship that will bring meaning and fulfilment. Most of what we think of another person when we first meet them is generated by our imagination. This is especially true if we are seeking a romantic relationship with this person. We come to the table, so to speak, with our own world that we then place them in, and it is the same for the other person. Often the relationship we had with parents, and what we saw modelled by parents, is the foundation for much of our ‘behind the eyeballs’ assumption about life and others. To see the world through the other person’s perspective is one of the first steps to becoming friends. Often we assume that what we like, or dislike, will be automatically transferred to another person, or that everyone has the same perceptions. Nothing could be further from the truth—humans vary widely in every aspect of personality, habits, character and preferences. To be a friend, we need to respect the others views and enjoy sharing mutual experiences. Being a friend doesn’t mean we have an agenda to change another into what we imagine they should be, but we enjoy them for who they are.

Healthy friendships are emotionally non dependant. We share with each other out of our fullness, not because we feel we cannot live without the other person. This doesn’t mean we don’t desire shared time and mutual activities, but we are stable and happy all on our own. Too often co dependant relationships develop, where one person becomes dominate, the other subordinate. One person is always running the life of the other, and the other is always depending on them to manage things for them. In a relationship like this both parties resent the other, but they feel they cannot live outside of this arrangement, so they form their emotional bond around this skewed dependence. There is usually much controversy and little true happiness in this kind of relationship.

We start life dependant. There is nothing more dependant than a baby. As we grow, we should naturally become more independent, both physically and emotionally. There is a further step we need to take to continue with our maturation--that of interdependence. This is where we chose to join our lives and interests with another because we want to and we realize that we can have a fuller, richer and more productive life through mutual cooperation. Neither the dependant or the independent stage of maturation can work in moving into healthy, lasting, friendships.

True friends deeply care about what is best for the other and want to be there for them. They don’t use each other, but seek mutual benefit in relationship with each other. The Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is the rule of relationship for a true friendship. Friends respect each other as people in their own right. Friendship is about who we are as a person, not about sexual involvement. A true friend sees someone not as a sexual object, but as a person. True friends don’t carelessly hurt each other, and when they do cause hurt, are quick to apologise, make things right and seek forgiveness.

Getting involved in sexual interaction before friendship grows hinders the relationship process. Because of the deep physical bonding that happens, healthy and lasting sexual intimacy should be one of the fruits of a deep and lasting relationship, as it cannot be the foundation. Generally, when we engage in sex on a shallow level, it undermines our respect for ourselves and the other person, and often resentment instead of friendship is the end result. Without a solid friendship being built, a couple will most certainly ‘fall’ out of love as quickly as they ‘fell’ into it! Remember, we choose what level we interact on in the relationships we are involved in. Being a friend also means not pushing the other person into something they are not comfortable with or ready for.
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