Being grateful for you at that moment...
Some friendships come to us, some leave. Some friendships travel deep, while some tentatively glide along the surface. And then there are the ones that journey through our lifetime. Thinking of all my friendships, it can be disheartening to not be able to resolve the ones lost. Could there be a blueprint for that quintessential intimate and lifelong friendship. Isn’t it the deeper, forever friendships the ones that we want. That we need. I wonder how practical is this expectation of every friendship. Perhaps it’s better that we discover and appreciate the purposefulness of a friendship in “that present time” in our life and to believe that that connection has enduring worth. Still, I’d like to resolve the ones that have settled only in memory, to understand the why’s of a lost friendship. To not feel the sadness about the ones I didn’t want to lose and, likewise, to not feel regret or guilt in having insensitively or hurtfully let one go.
In my quest, I looked to Aristotle’s philosophy on friendship. A philosophy that provides insight, along with a bit of comfort in the normalcy that all friendships, whether past or present, casual or rooted, do have purpose. With any philosophy, roll up your sleeves, play with it, shape it. Then, consider its personal relevancy. Aristotle’s philosophy on the human connection we call friendship is an affection of wishing “… for the good of our friend for the friend’s sake” and that then if “… this good will is on a reciprocal basis, it is friendship.” To resolve this within our many relationships, Aristotle conceived three underlying classes of friendship: one of usefulness, one of pleasure, and one of virtue. All three friendships can be reciprocated and mutually beneficial between two people, but at a significant time in a person’s life.
A friendship of virtue – affection for someone simply on the genuine foundation of who they are – provides that deeper and forever connection, as opposed to casual or momentary friendships based on usefulness or pleasure. I’d like to point out that the latter two are not necessarily selfish or undesirable; however, these incidental friendships can be less fulfilling and, in some cases, dissolved. Friendships of usefulness and pleasure can be less fulfilling or dissolve when one person is no longer experiencing what is useful or pleasant; that is, the foundation that the friendship is based upon no longer exists. These friendships also tend to involve expectations of one person that the other is not meeting. The emotional aspect of these relationships is that someone often gets hurt. And it’s this hurt, whether you are on the receiving end or the imparting end, that needs to be resolved to be able to appreciate the friendship’s worth.
I’d like to offer a post script to Aristotle’s philosophy. That a lost friendship remains present in who I am today; that there are qualities, even lessons, in every friendship that comforts me in understanding my ever-changing self. To be conscious of the friend I want to be for others. So then, I will no longer label these friendships as "lost" or consider them in the past tense; rather, as “presently remindful” friendships that, in some way, have offered the gift of unique virtue. Then, in understanding each friendship, maybe lessen the feelings of confusion, hurt, regret, guilt. To resolve and, who knows, maybe aspire to deepen a casually gliding friendship or relight a presently remindful friendship. Either way, I do delight in this feeling of possibilities.
© Copyright Paula Davis