There are many types of friendships. Some that last for life, some that last for the time you were in a job, on a course, or even shorter. The word expresses something so big and so varied that more words are needed to explain it.
As a short cut we understand friendship to mean something supportive, with shared values, harmonious, present and alive. Perhaps after enquiry the friendship is described in terms of where and when it started, closeness, or how many times the friendship meets.
A life long friend, or school friend denotes longevity, an achievement it is still going, and high importance to the friends.
The most significant are our first experiences. In youth friendships are new, fun, and we had more time and less responsibility to embrace them more fully. Early experiences that are hard, extreme or unique are factors in breeding friendships that survive as they were about survival.
Going to school in a foreign country, boarding, or schooling in the armed forces separate people from the mainstream. So friendships are created as a bonding around exclusivity, uniqueness of experience, or disagreement with the educational ethos and values. Rebellion is a good bonding agent.
These friendships can last for decades: and unless they are updated stay fixed in the first environment. The friendship remains stuck in roles of younger or older siblings, parents, rescuers, sounding boards, or people to vent to. This can be emphasised if families are broken or unsupportive. Old friends become family members.
Being with friends who have known us for years and decades can be reassuring, a haven, satisfying a familial sense of belonging. Yet with them come old patterns of behaving, stuck roles, & high familial expectations. The experience and sense of values gone through are lost in time. The experience ended: the friendship carried on perhaps not meeting often: but still from an important part of early life. A big building block to the way we live now and who we see ourselves to be.
Old friendships are important yet can be stuck in the place they started.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2019
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique