Ideal Friends(I)

Original Text:
Original Author: Chen Sai, the leader writer of Lifeweek

Adolf Guggenbil, an Jungian  analyst, had shared a story: He asked his grandpa in his childhood what’s the friendship. His grandpa replied that the friend is the one who you gave a hand to without hesitation, when he drove to your house with the dead body in his trunk at midnight and asked for your advice.

Imagine that: One day, at midnight, when having driven with the dead body in the trunk, Joey asked Chandler what he should do. What do you think Chandler would do? What’s about Ross, Phoebe, Monica or Rachel?

The lonely moments in Friends

The episode impressing me most is: one day, the weird old man passed away, who was a neighbor upstairs, leaving a pile of junk to residents downstairs. While Chandler looks through the old man’s photo album at the young age, he realizes how similar his life is to the old man’s : they can play a little instruments, love saying something one-liners and always pick a hole in other’s coat. Then the noise of girls comes from upstairs, and Chandler pokes the ceiling with the old man’s broom. After that, Chandler drops the broom like hands on fire. This is because it’s the same way that the old man poked the ceiling of their house. At that moment, he believes that he will die alone.

At the atmosphere of pleasure and humor in this teleplay, the lonely and blue moment is easily to be ignored or considered to be a joke. As the story tells, like a drowning man will catch at a straw, Chandler comes back to Janice, who has a catchphrase—“Oh my gad!”.

Phoebe always jokes her miserable childhood, but her loneliness hides in some weird beliefs, such as her good friend’s soul lives in a yellow pencil, or her mother’s soul lives in a cat.

All the time, Rachel wants to be an independent woman of a new era, while she may be the one afraid of loneliness most, who always needs lovers or friends around her. Once, after hearing the encouragement from Monica to eat alone in the restaurant, she ends up with melancholy and leaves others an impression that she is insane. That must be something wrong if a beautiful lady eat alone in a restaurant.

Most of the time, Joey’s loneliness lies on those which his friends talk about but he doesn’t understand. One day, a sales man ,who sells encyclopedia door-to-door, asks Joey whether there is some trouble about knowledges. Being inspired by the salesman, Joey buys a set of books with 50 dollars which is from Chandler’s pocket. When he has memorized the one beginning with V, his friend’s topic has turned into the one beginning with K.

Watching Friends in young age, these details won’t touch you deeply. But after having watched it for ten years consistently, these details will be kept in your heart like a pin, reminding you everyone has his loneliness which couldn’t be touched by the best friendship.

Nowadays, we can frankly talk about the anxiety and depression, but are ashamed to talk about the loneliness. Acknowledging the loneliness, is just like admitting we suffer serious failure in some basic levels of our life, such as the sense of belonging, love and attachment.

Psychologists believe that loneliness can trigger hypervigilance to social risk, which means you’re extremely sensitive to the social signal of refusal, always feeling the hostility and scorn everywhere in social interaction. If going like this, it will turn into a vicious circle that the lonelier you are, the more serious this kind of suspicion can be, and the feeling of being isolated will intensify.

In America, it’s said that loneliness has become a serious public health issue. A survey shows a quarter of Americans feel lonely frequently. The key mechanism that loneliness destroy physical and mental health is to remove the safety net of social support. When you think the world is filled of malice and danger, the level of stress hormone will increase, and the immune system will be restrained, which affects sleep and cognitive function. It’s said that the harm of chronic loneliness is more serious than the obesity and air pollution. For example, the people in chronic loneliness have a 29% higher incidence of cardiovascular disease than normal people, the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dying young will double. And those people are more easily to be attacked by diseases such as diabetes mellitus type II (T2DM) and arthritis.