Journalist’s journal: Friend indeed

Natalia Oloo-Columnist

Have you ever had that thrilling feeling about someone you consider dear?  Something deep that has nothing to do with romantic attachments or any other sort of complexities?  That is what real friendship should feel like.

A natural description of friendship defines it as a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. An urban dictionary described friendship as something that is much underrated in our society today—something I found quite disturbing.

However, I felt enlightened when I proceeded to read that the urban dictionary equates friendship to a form of love that is different yet still far from “complexities.”

In his book about friendship, Hugh Black [2007] said that friendship is being valued for what there is in it, not for what can be gotten out of it. From his perspective, we can come to understand friendship in a different light and firmly define the line between friendship and acquaintances.

I find the difference between the two can be derived from the difference between quality and quantity. Black goes on further to say that when two people appreciate each other because each has found the other convenient to have around, they are not friends. Instead, they are simply acquaintances with a business understanding.

However, all this is crowned when he says that to seek friendship for its utility is as futile as to seek the end of a rainbow for its bag of gold. A true friend is always useful in the highest sense; but we should beware of thinking of our friends as brother members of a mutual-benefit association, with its periodical demands and threats of suspension for non-payment of dues.

History through Spenser, The Faerie Queene claims that some of the most unforgettable  friendships ever recorded include “Hercules and Hylas, dear / True Jonathan and David trusty tried / Stout Theseus and Pirithöus his fere / Pylades and Orestes by his side / Mild Titus and Gesippus without pride / Damon and Pythias, whom death could not sever.”

One would obviously ask what was there that made the above so special and in an attempt to clarify, I say the passage was a demonstration of how real and beautiful friendships can be. Enough to make great stories out of, as well as stand the test of time.

Plato also makes friendship the ideal of the state, where all have common interests and mutual confidence. And apart from its place of prominence in systems of thought, perhaps a finer list of beautiful sayings about friendship could be culled from ancient writers than from modern. Classical mythology is also full of instances of great friendship, which almost assumed the place of a religion itself.

A recent World Happiness Database study found that people with close friendships are happier, but I choose to put emphasis on the quality of the friendship that makes it more real in nature than its mere existence. Much can be said about friendship but the best is Proverbs 11:14, which says that where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Now just as iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, so I’m I equally challenged to do the same. I’m now challenged to do the same.

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