Maybe it’s because I’m moving very close to Social Security age, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my friendships lately. I can’t imagine a life without those special people I call friends, and as years pass and they move on through life and death, I’ve come to appreciate them like no other time in my life.
Now that I have the perspective of years to look back on, I’ve noted that friendships often come and go, and many drop by the wayside — sometimes in inexplicable ways. There are obvious reasons like losing things in common, or paths not crossing regularly due to changes in work, location, or interests.
Sometimes, it’s merely not making the effort to stay in touch, whether it involves making a phone call, writing an email, or taking time to get together — things that can be time-consuming in busy lives. Other times, losing friends can be more purposeful, like deciding not to stay in touch with someone who does little to reciprocate.
The term “friend” seems to have lost some of its meaning in the Facebook age as it changed from a noun to a verb, i.e., “Have you friended anyone lately?” What’s more, friending and unfriending have become as common as a handshake or a wave goodbye. The number of friends you have is shoved in your face on a regular basis so you are likely to friend someone that you may only incidentally know.
For those who don’t bother with social media, you probably don’t realize how important it is construed to have one of your FB friends “like” a post or, even better, comment on it. It validates that others like you in a Sally Field sort of way, without even having to win an Academy Award to earn that love.
I must admit I love it when people comment on something I say on FB, much in the same way I love getting return mail or comments from people who read this column, especially if it’s positive. However, I try not to take it personally that I don’t have thousands of FB friends or get few, if any, comments from readers. After all, wasn’t it Aristotle who said, “A friend to all is a friend to none”? I’d rather settle on the few good friends I treasure than thousands of FB friends I can garner.
Is it the length of friendships that makes them more meaningful? They say that old friends are the best, but I believe it’s possible to create one out of someone I just met. Better yet, it’s nice to develop a close bond with a person you’ve known a long time but never took the necessary time to talk with.
I can think of several people I consider friends today because although we’ve crossed paths for many years, I only recently started having lunch and sharing lives with them on a regular basis.
I love that many of my friends are at least ten years younger than me, and some as much as 50 years younger. Yep, just because one of my friends doesn’t know who the Beatles are, I can still listen to her technopop music. I used to think I had some sort of longing for youth by hanging around a lot of these young whippersnappers, but then I found one of my favorite friends to be nearly 25 years older. So I’m happy to report that friendship has no age limits.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that as friendships come and go, I’m hoping that more stay than leave. It takes special people to make that happen in this age of fast-paced lives and divergent interests. I hope I can continue to find them along this bumpy road.
Sharon Yamato writes from Playa del Rey and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.