“Just what are friends for, anyway?”
Or, “Just what is a friend?”
Or, “What does it take to be a friend?”
We all, every one of us, can attest to the fact that we ‘believe’ friends are important. There have been volumes written and miles of recordings recorded making claim that friends are important. Why? What for? If I am going to be a friend, what is my function? If I am going to have friends, what will be their function?
Here we go with the questions again. An aside, I’m sure I was that whiny 4-year old who kept asking WHY at every turn. But then, if you have read any of my writing or even talked to me for more than a few minutes over the past few years, you know that even though I may not have answers, I have acres and acres of opinions . . . strongly held and loudly proclaimed. Sometimes opinions can even suffice for answers.
So, here’s my take on friendship:
There are only two functions required of a friend. FRIENDS ARE IN OUR LIVES TO SHARE TWO THINGS: PAIN AND LAUGHTER. Everything else in between may also be shared, to be certain. But those other things are optional, not essential.
And why share? Because, as one writer aptly stated, (I believe is was King David in the Psalms) we come into this world alone and depart this life alone. We humans are born solitary creatures. But in between the birth and death experience, we are herd animals. And friendship speaks to that “in between” section.
Sharing ameliorates the solitary and strengthens the individual’s relationship to the herd. In this capacity, sharing has several functions. First of all, sharing acts as a mirror to allow us (or our emotions) to be validated as being real. Secondly, just like good butter added to anything, sharing intensifies the experience. With the laughter, more is never too much. With the pain, the intensity is spread out over more than just yourself, thus making it more bearable. It makes the load of pain lighter to carry, if you will.
Oh, then there’s that ‘trust’ issue. But my perception is this, in order for the two elements listed above to work in a friendship, there has to be trust. Knowing a person without the trust element is just an acquaintance.
Well, and then there’s that perspective thing. A really, REALLY good friend will let you know that the joke you just told was not funny, or to get a grip, put on your big girl panties and deal with whatever the pain may be and get over it . . . . or a really really REALLY good friend may just laugh uproariously, or simply hold your hand when words aren’t enough.
So, friends . . . does anyone really need them? Can you be a friend? Am I a good friend? I don’t know about you, but I live firmly in the middle of the herd, surrounded by friends who make me glad to be there!!
To quote me: “FRIENDSHIP: THE ONE ELEMENT OF WEALTH ANYONE CAN OWN.”
Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years.
A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.