Issue #32 — 4.9 minute read
👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
Kendra and I each had thoughts on this topic, so we decided to do a collaborative post. To make it more focused, we answered the following prompt: How has your experience with friendship influenced you? We also added quotes from thinkers about this topic at the end of the post.
I feel that our relationships with others can be mirrors for our state of being at any point. And this has taught me that because we're in a constant state of flux, it's normal for our friendships to shapeshift, too. What might have made sense for me and someone else two years ago isn't necessarily what we need now, and that's okay as long as there's communication.
There are people I've known for years where we've gone through cycles of being acquaintances, to close friends, then back to casual friends. And others went from acquaintances to casual friends, then intimate friends - and we've remained there ever since (check out this friendship pyramid and others like it).
There were times in my life where I found myself being friends with people that didn't make sense. Growing up as a Black person in PWIs (predominantly white institutions), I was constantly trying to fit within systems supported by white supremacy, which led me to conform to the standards of others instead of being me. There were also times when I wasn't a great friend because I was projecting my insecurities. In either case, this resulted in surrounding myself with people I wasn't in alignment with because I wasn't in alignment with myself.
It intrigues me that some people (past versions of myself included) seem to prioritize their romantic relationships over platonic ones. Why? I think some of it has to do with what's ingrained in us from a young age. We're encouraged to value romantic relationships because it's associated with signs of "success" such as marriage, kids, etc., while friendships are incidental. Even telling someone "I love you" can carry different connotations depending on who you say it to - some people exchange these words more freely with friends and family. Yet, overthink telling this to a romantic partner.
Friendship has taught me the importance of vulnerability, intimacy, and unselfishness. Friendships offer a mutual sense of joy and a space to be unapologetically ourselves, which I hold sacred.
I'm curious to know: what would it look like to imbue some romantic energy into our platonic friendships and elements of friendship into our romantic relationships?
The thing I enjoy most about the prompt above is it doesn’t ask if friendship influences us, but rather infers it. It may not be something we reflect on often, but we can all acknowledge that the people we surround ourselves with influence our actions, how we think, and, really, who we are. There’s a quote from Jim Rohn, who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
I’m not sure there’s anything magical about the number five, but there is some truth in what he said. Using the friendship pyramid Kendra linked above, think about your “close” and “intimate” friends and how they have influenced the person you are today. Many of my beliefs were shaped by conversations and experiences I’ve had with friends. The books I read, podcasts I listen to, TV shows & movies I watch, most of my interests—philosophy, running, tattoos, disc golf, house plants—many of my favorite things became my favorite things simply because of the people I’ve surrounded myself with over the course of my life.
Speaking of house plants, here’s a fun fact: If the roots of a plant grow too large for its current pot, the plant’s growth will slow down and its overall health will decline until it’s re-potted in a larger pot. That’s a great metaphor for friendship. If the people surrounding you are no longer supporting your growth, maybe you’ve outgrown that pot.
It’s also worth reflecting on whether or not we’re helping our friends to grow into the best versions of themselves. Cheri Huber wrote a book titled, Be the Person You Want to Find and, while it is mostly referring to romantic relationships, the advice applies to platonic relationships as well: Be the friend you’d want to have around. Be the friend your friends need by asking them how you can best be there for them (and make sure to let them know how they can best be there for you, too).
Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
Octavia E. Butler
Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.
She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.
What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.
Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.
Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend.
I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.
Jennie Jerome Churchill
Treat your friends as you do your best pictures, and place them in their best light.
I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Old friends cannot be created out of hand. Nothing can match the treasure of common memories, of trials endured together, of quarrels and reconciliations and generous emotions.
A friend is another self.
✌️ Until next week, happy philosophizing.
Guest Post: Motion
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