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Galactic Turtle

Diversity of Friendship

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Galactic Turtle

Hello humans. :)

 

As someone who has no history of or interest in romantic partnership, I end up thinking a decent amount about friendship, what friendship looks like for me, and what I'm doing to grow/maintain those I wish to have in my life as friends.

 

One of my more recent friends (I say recent even though we met seven years ago, wow) brought to my attention as we were working out some of our differences that had boiled to the surface in the early part of this year that her wants, needs, and expectations surrounding friendship were vastly different from my own. It never occurred to me probably because friendship isn't a topic I've really seen explored much in the stories I've been exposed to. Stories usually have a friendship at its foundation and on top of that foundation are various adventures. The chemistry is already there, developed off page, or the chemistry is so immediate that things just work out. Obviously, life is not often that way.

 

This friend of mine, it turns out, grew up seeing what I call a "fairytale friendship" as the common goal shared by all people. I'm talking the BFF who volunteers for slumber parties so much that eventually you become BFF roommates who do each other's hair, watch rom coms, cry about the same things, laugh about the same things, hug all the time, go shopping together every weekend, eat dinner together as much as possible, and continuously vocalize that you are the undisputed best friend... basically almost a mirror of yourself with the upgrade of always having the exact reassurance or advice you need for any given situation. She is obsessed with the idea of the "best friend" and was looking for that in me. Naturally this made me feel like I was a 24 hour therapist and emotionally suffocated. 

 

My idea of friendship has always been more muted. There are two people in the world who I felt I really clicked with and it was never because of common interests but rather because of similar personalities, similar world outlook, similar intensity of ambitions, etc. In my view we have deep respect for each other, cheer each other on quietly, and use the rare times we are put in the position where meeting up is possible just to finally voice what our journeys have been and relax in each other's company before parting ways to conquer our individual mountains. It never occurred to me to have a "friend ranking system," I just accepted that I relate differently to different people. Also growing up with siblings, it seems only natural that I will have people I care about who drive me crazy sometimes.

 

Now myself and the fairytale friend have a better understanding of how we operate. It was through this process that made me just wonder in general about the diversity of what friendship can look like.

 

So this is all honestly a very roundabout way of me asking what an ideal friendship looks like to you?

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SithGirl

Well, I just want a friend to be there for me. And I want to be there for them. I want us to build each other up and support each other through life events. I want honest advice and for them to be willing to stop me from doing something stupid.

 

I can see about wanting the fairy tale friendship, though my fairy tale wouldn't involve a lot of those things. I consider my "best friend" to be the one I'm closest to. The one I'd turn to first if I needed help or something important happened to me that I just have to share. The one I miss most when gone for a while. Not someone who has to be there, but someone who already is and earned the ranking naturally. 

 

So I have other friends, and I have close friends, and best friends. It's just who ends up being there the most, meaning the most to me, etc. And yeah, seniority works too, because obviously you're going to be closer with those who you went through a lot of shit with compared to someone you met yesterday. 

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Snao van der Cone

I...do not like the idea of a fairytale friendship. I don't like the message of unconditional support. I don't want any other person to be tied up in most things I do. I want multiple friends, all with different strengths, who understand me as a person not because we're exactly the same, but because they have the thinking skills and emotional intelligence to grasp me (which I would reciprocate). I want to feel free to talk to a friend without worrying if my presence is welcome. 

 

A lot of these things are easily done at a distance, but I would also like a few people who live close enough to see in person a few times a month. That's been harder for me to maintain due to lifestyle factors. But a lot of the emotional fulfilment from friendships can happen through electronic means. I've formed some deep and lasting bonds with people over the past couple decades, including here. Like you say, these types of friendships allow for good times together between living individual lives, without depending on the friend to live life with you. 

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crazy ace

My ideal friend would care about me, and be comfortable letting me return the favor.

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Duke Memphis

We would stick with each other through thick and thin despite the numerous differences between us. Even if the other person hates hugs and the music I like but instead puts mushrooms on pizza and says very suggestive things all the time, we'd still appreciate each other's company and look out for each other.

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WanderingKate

My hypothetical ideal friend...would probably be exactly like my actual best friend :D 

My biggest wants in a friend are kindness, understanding my sense of humor, a good listener, non-judgemental, and caring. 

My biggest wants in a friendship are mutual care about each other even if we can't see each other too often, communication and closeness without being clingy, and knowing that if either of us needed the other person we would be there. 

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DarkStormyKnight

My ideal best friend would be closer to your "muted" version, I like having independence and doing my own thing frequently so I for sure don't want that "fairytale" friendship where we follow each other around oof. Ideal friend would be supportive and there to listen when I need to rant and we could probably talk for hours about anything but we don't because we both live our own lives. 

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Serran

I have a wife for sharing a life with. A friend to me is for hanging out when we are both free and interested in the same thing. And to talk to, keep up with each others lives, etc. 

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Saphoune

My 2 most significant friendships were quite similar and very different from a fairytale friendship. My best friends were often my opposites on at least one level.

 

I am reserved and lurking on this forum while they were outspoken and obsessed with sex/dating/family. They sometimes pushed me out of my confort zone. There were days where I would find them a bit too much but never regretted my patience. There was always dialogue and strong mutual respect, even though an outside person would think that our friendship had no balance. They always made me feel valid and at home with them. We did not share common goals and they would not qualify as QPRs because of the lack of discussed commitment (even though they all lasted for more than 5 years). My personal space is the first responsible for the lack of closeness: we don't see each that much. Still they helped me build myself and I am immensely grateful.

 

Of course I have other great long term friends. They have more similar personalities. The problem is that I am more afraid to intrude on them and their families.

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CBC

I don't really know, tbh. I have trouble getting close to people. I also have the annoying habit, though, of oversharing when I do want to be close. Or maybe it's not oversharing, maybe I just pick the wrong people... I dunno. This has happened a few times in recent years; I try to share something of myself with them (could be anything from something really happy and meaningful to confiding a personal struggle), or I ask them something about themselves in an attempt to learn about them and feel closer to them, and there's little to no response. Nothing much reciprocal offered up, nothing very personal anyway, and no significant interest in what I've tried to share. So I feel really stupid and I retreat.

 

So I have no idea what an ideal friendship would be like. I don't really know what you do with friends. My only close friends are my partner and my ex.

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AceMissBehaving

I think the “fairytale” friendship would make me feel suffocated too.

 

Friendships are extremely important to me, I have a circle of very close friend’s that I see regularly, and will drop everything for if they need me. I’ve always found it easy to be on hand to help my fiends, but found it harder to ask for help in the past. The friends I’ve made over the last 5 years have been different, because I can be my full self with them, I’ve learned I can depend on them to help me when I need it too

 

I also have a wider circle of friends that I see less often but are still incredibly supportive in both directions.

 

I don’t think “unconditional” is healthy though. I have one friend that’s drifted away recently. She would use me as a therapist and she’d leave me feeling drained, and nothing would ever change. After a while I couldn’t keep putting the work in. 

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