Saturday, July 31, 2021

Best Friends and Enemas

The title is simply click bait though someone once sent me a card that read, “For your birthday, I’m giving you a big bottle of castor oil. . . with friends like me, who needs enemas.

Looking for some serious thought and comments here as I am puzzled. Umair Haque wrote a column, “How bad is American life? Americans don’t even have friends anymore.” The image below is of survey results for USA asking, outside of relatives, how many Best Friends people had. Range from 0 to >10. The numbers dropped considerable between 1990 and 2021.

As I have said before Umair Haque makes Jeremiah sound like Pollyanna so I took his conclusions with several grains of salt. Read it if you like. But I question the definition and the survey question.


How do you define best friends? I divide people into Best Friends, Good Friends, Friends, Acquaintances, People I wish I didn’t know. I have lots of people I consider good friends but where is the divide between good friends and best friends? Things that keep me awake at night.

So, I asked my children, as I have a great deal of respect for their thinking ability. I will edit their answers somewhat.

I think best friends is such a limiting concept because I have “best friends by topic” or by location or by time in my life. I’m sure the numbers dropped as people moved online. I have so many different types of friends I find the labels don’t fit! Friends I talk about work with, friends I talk about philosophical things, friends I call with exciting news, friends I meet for coffee, friends who I can talk to one thing about but not about others, etc.

I would say my list of “good friends” or “good friends who I never see or talk to but still appreciate a great deal” has climbed since my youth. People wander between labels easily too. I like “good friends” as to me it seems like there is more room for people. 

We don’t need “best friends” like when we were 6 anymore. Because our worlds are bigger and more complicated now. For me, I like the saying that friends come in three categories: forever, for a time, for a season. I’m okay with that. 

For me, there are 2 types of best friends. 1.The ones you spend your chosen free time with. 2.Non relatives, non children that you would lay down your life for without a moment’s hesitation. And if any asks me to say who my single best friend is, it's XYZ.

Hmm. An interesting question. I guess I maybe have 5 or 6 BEST friends outside of relatives. I think your division is pretty good, though. Too many people falling into the “people I wish I didn’t know” category these days. I probably have more of those than I do best friends, which maybe says more about me than I would like. 

And I’d say best friends are the people you can be totally yourself around. But only sometimes. Or maybe they’re the people you want to talk to when you’re happy or you’re sad. Or the people who know you the best and still love you anyway. 

Yes! I agree. I would go to ABC for different things than LMN. And they know me in different ways, but they’re both my best friends.

Their comments helped a great deal to get my head around something I never thought much about before. Friendship is a continuum with no fixed dividing lines and many sub titles under my five main headings of “Best Friends, Good Friends, Friends, Acquaintances, and People I wish I didn’t know.”

I have maybe three people I consider best friends or top of the list of good friends. These are people I have known and worked with for many years, who are far smarter than I, each in different areas and from whom I am continually learning and with whom I could spend all my time.

I have dozens of good friends, all for different reasons and the two years I was back in Canada allowed me to renew many of them. There are also Facebook Friends and Blogger Friends, some of whom I consider good friends. Internet makes it easier to stay in contact with friends I know personally and friends I have never met personally.

Acquaintances used to fall into the hundreds when I worked in Sask Ministry of Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers, industry people, through meetings, conferences, farm calls. Walking across Agribition used to take 3 or 4 hours because I stopped and talked to everyone I know. Now, not so much, having been out of the game for 20 years.

People you wish you didn’t know are usually out of your control. You have no choice (sometimes they are relatives 😊😊) usually through work or related business. On FB I have unfollowed or unfriends most of them but being polite sometimes intervenes unless they make racist remarks.

OK, the floor is open to comments.


18 comments:

  1. To add another layer to your analysis, I believe it's necessary for each of us to learn to be our own best friend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent post Allen. Got me fired up for sure.... Friends? who is and who ain't and where are the lines in the sand that seperate them. As much as I would like to write a lengthy comment here, I will play off this post and post my own take on frriendship. And of course give you all the credit. It is a timely post for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will find it. I am so far behind in reading blogs and everything else. I have 65 unread emails too.

      Delete
  3. I thought 'people you wish you didn't know' was the definition for 'relatives.' Or maybe in-laws. You can pick your friends and acquaintances; you can't pick your cousins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to feel that way until I saw "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and realized all families were weird in their own way to paraphrase Tolstoy. Even my brother who never heard a conspiracy theory he didn't believe. I just don't talk to him much.

      Delete
    2. Have you heard Paul Thorne's 'I Don't Like Half the Folks I Love?' https://youtu.be/1dhWD_r5-LY

      Delete
    3. Love it. That is the honest to God's truth. I could make a long list.

      Delete
  4. I also like 'I like the saying that friends come in three categories: forever, for a time, for a season. I’m okay with that.'
    My friends (and I have shamefully few in life) fill a whole range of categories. I learn from them. I don't (often) have to pretend around them. And absence doesn't change the relationship. Good friends are (for me) those with whom I can pick up the thread again when life has taken us in different directions.
    As an aside - I am so grateful for your email notification. My reading list is broken and flatly refuses to tell me when people have put up another post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like what you say about friends, especially picking up the threads after an absence and carrying on.
      I tried leaving a comment on your blog but it was rejected and the comment area crashed. Your blog is giving you real trouble

      Delete
    2. I don't think the commenting problem is limited to my blog. If you have the energy try again later. And yes, the blog is giving me a heap of grief at the moment.

      Delete
  5. Hello from Idaho. I came over from Bozone. I like to use the phase "Good People" and hope you have chance to stop in for a cup of coffee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome and thanks for dropping by and commenting. Same holds if you are in Ukraine; drop in for coffee.

      Delete
  6. I particularly like the 'Friends forever, for a time, and for a season'. I have a number of Forever Friends (all 20+ years and counting; some 40+ years), and that makes me feel incredibly lucky!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is such a good description. Sometimes the friends for a season, return into your life and you take up where you left off. Most of my friends are the 20 to 40+ year variety. Some of the friends I made in Ukraine go back 20 years and some are maybe 10 to 15 years. I don't meet a great many new people anymore.

      Delete

Comments are encouraged. But if you include a commercial link, it will be deleted. If you comment anonymously, please use a name or something to identify yourself.