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To have a friend you need first to be a friend

‘To feel completely alone and isolated leads to mental disintegration just as physical starvation leads to death. This relatedness to others is not identical with physical contact. An individual may be alone in a physical sense for many years and yet he may be related to ideas, values, or at least social patterns that give him a feeling of communion and “belonging”. On the other hand, he may live among people and yet be overcome with an utter feeling of isolation…’

Erich Fromm

Yesterday:

I walked through soft rain, so soft it was soundless, but not so weak that it was momentary, from a sky not grey, nor yawning blue. Ahead of me my sister rushed, I walked languidly, something deep within me stirred. Like Bilqis who lifted her skirts to walk across a floor she thought was water, I lifted my skirts to walk alone through dappled rain.

Today:

Two conversations ran into the subject of friendship today.  One friend says she’s pleased to have found friends who are more like her.  She has recently met a group of women who share similar values, attitudes, and world views. ‘It’s like you no longer feel so different,’ I tell her knowingly because I too felt like an alien for much of my early Earthly existence. Only when I began meeting people who were able to relate to my ‘never-say-alouds’ did I feel closer to Earth.And yet it’s not as though we never had friends before we met these people but the discovery of people who mirror ourselves has to some extent enriched us, earning us a sense of validation.

Later on another friend asks me if I’ve ever really had the sort of friend who’s a second self. I enthusiastically inform him that I have. Is it a mistake he wonders to find in our friends echoes of ourselves instead of complements to our shortcomings. I think friendship, as an act in constant motion,  is like an organ transplant. There must first be a match between donor and recipient for it to be successful. And sometimes in the most cautiously selected circumstances the transplant is a failure, the organ is rejected. I’m not saying that sameness is a fool proof recipe to making friends, but in seeking friends who are echoes of who we are we come to better understand ourselves.

When the Prophet (PBUH) said that on the day of reckoning, ‘You will be among those whom you love,’ I think this is as much a caveat to choose our friends with discernment as it is a reminder that who we are is defined by who we love.

12 replies on “To have a friend you need first to be a friend”

Allo and welcome Zahera. Friendships, good friendships, certainly are hard to come by. I think besides just differences in values and beliefs also the differences in who we are at various times and in various situations makes friendship more challenging. Our identities are fluid and the adjustments we have to make within ourselves and towards friends is ultimately telling of the reality of friendship.

Hope you visit again!

Lovely post. This is my first visit to your blog. I think good friends are hard to come by these days and i think we sometimes fail to fully appreciate this blessings. I find it interesting that the essence of friendships is based *usually* on a shared belief system /shared values/principles but that the rules of friendship are not merely governed by these similarities. Rather it is our differences and ability to respect that enrich and strengthen those ties.

>Thank you everybody for the comments.

Waseem, I think if you have to try to fit in then the friendship is a little dubious. It sounds utopian but I think friends have to accept you as you are. The sameness should be co-incidental, not forced.

Nooj, I'll contact the patents office right away 😉

Zubair, and the inner solo?

>There's a sort of deep empathy that comes from the second self kind of folk.They understand the WHY not just the WHAT.And that helps you climb.

>kayyyyy!

"I think this is as much a caveat to choose our friends with discernment as it is a reminder that who we are is defined by who we love"

U had better mark that off as a kayism and oprah-capitalise it before some junkie in america sells it as his life-changing experience 😛 It does seem that for all the bad friendships I have rejected, God (SWT) has repaid in many times over in quantity and quality Alhumdulillah

Waseem yes u make sense. If u accept that friends change, u will never have to change friends. The tolerance has got to be mutual though

>That's awesome 🙂

May you continue to have fulfilling friendships that help you nurture the beauty inside you 🙂

>Mother always said that you become who your friends are. And in an age where some friendships tend to morph into relationships akin to familial ties, I would think it important to choose who or what you call family.

Heres to a lifetime of good friendships – they're like 3KG jars of Nutella, rare and extremely precious 😉

>The difficult thing about friendship is sometimes you have to change yourself to fit in and I don't think that is right.

It is all well and good to pick our friends by the similarities we share but we also need to embrace the differences we have, rather than sticking to our sects.

This would seem contrary to my first point but I dont think you have to embrace the differences by adopting them yourself.

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