Ideal Friends(IV)

Original Text:

Original Author: Chen Sai, the leader writer of Lifeweek

In 1950s, Rebecca G. Adams, a social psychologist, concluded three conditions of friendship according to a series of research findings. The first one is the proximity, primarily meaning physical proximity. The second one is frequent and unplanned interactions, which mean you have lots of opportunities to contact with each other. The last one is the environment where you’re encouraged to get our armor off and confess our true feelings.

However, when it comes to the tenth season, the utopian friendship isn’t likely to be maintained any more, due to all kinds of variations of our lives, such as getting married, having a baby, moving house or changing jobs.

As getting older, friendship can be quite complicated. It’s life gets harder, not that we don’t care about our friends. There is a survey in America which keeps tracking couples of friends for 19 years. And the result shows they had suffered 5.8 times life variations on average in 19 years. When the life variation happened to them, they could go with their families instead of friends.

In fact, even though those variations wouldn’t happen, it seems to be logical that people devote all their energy into work, love and family, having no time to think about friends.

However, why do we take it for granted to treat friendship as the last one?

Friends seem to be the weakest one among all close relationships. Different from the kinship, friendship is the choice of our will. Different from the love, friendship lacks of a formal structure and engagement. Thus, when variations happen, what we will drop at first is friendship. There’s always something more important than meeting friends, like the date, work or kid’s Halloween party.

A Dutch sociologist’s study has discovered that we lose the half of our friends every 7 years.

Nevertheless, there is still a strange belief in the depth of our hearts that there is something everlasting in real friendships which can stand the tests of life.

What is the everlasting thing?

About this question, Alexander Nehamas, a professor of philosophy in Princeton, shares an interesting view: The reason why we treasure our friendship so highly is the beauty of friendship, not morality. The beauty couldn’t be defined by any language, so does the friendship. You can list many reasons, such as the guy is so kind, clever and loyalty to your friendship, who gave a helpful hand in your toughest time. But in reality it can’t be explained why he is your friend.

Alexander believes that friendship plays an extremely key role in the process of your being yourself. Every friendship is the unique combination of two souls. Every time, making a new friend means a process of renewing for us, especially when you are young. Part of your ego lies in the relationship between you and him, and this relationship keeps changing all the time.

That means the maintenance of friendship isn’t focusing on the present situation, but a promise to the future. Loving a friend means loving the way he is and the way he will be in the future, as the friendship makes what he will be like in the future. Just like appreciating the artwork, you hope to find new value constantly from it. Once you think you have already known all of it, the charm fades. Likewise, once two friends think there is nothing new to be known between them, their friendship is gone.

I love the friendship between Will and Chuck(Will’s good friend) in the film Good Will Hunting. Will is a genius, who would rather spend his whole life in construction site than leave his friends in adversity. He tells Chuck he hopes they could get older together, be neighbors, have a baby who they could play with like a little league on the groud. However Chuck says, I would kill you if you were still here, because it would be the insult to mediocre people like us that you have a talent and dare not to realize it. He tells Alexander his most pleasant moment only lasts for 10 seconds. “From parking to appearing at the door, I hope you are no longer here every time I knock on your door. You leave without saying goodbye or anything else, but I will get it.”

In the end of the story, Will leaves without saying goodbye, pursuing his love and dream bravely. Standing  outside the empty apartment, Chuck smiles with entire relief and ease.

I think it the best friendship because of the utmost freedom and openness. Being my friend is not because you are a genius or good man, but because I love you. The reason why I love you is not only the known part of you, but also the unknown part, the change happening with our friendship.

Therefore, you’re totally different when you’re with different friends. Every friend takes you to another direction, and the friendship makes you complex, your life enriched and to be complete. As Friends finally ends, those six people are actually engraved with each other’s indelible marks. You can find Joey in Chandler, Ross in Joey, Phoebe in Ross, Chandler in Phoebe and so on.

Many people wonder what’s going on about them later, and whether their friendship will last forever or it will gradually become the memory of the past.

We have no idea. However, they do show the best form of friendship, so do the most optimistic promise to the future.

As what Nehamas writes in his book Of Friendship, “ A philosopher has said friendship links the whole universe. Let’s be more humble, as friendship just gathers some guys together. And they can say something to each other, just like what Montaigne told his friend La Boétie who already passed away. It’s “If you have to ask me why I love you, I think I have nothing to say but because of you, because of me”.