Footnotes On Friendship

If the measure of my life is judged by the footnote I leave behind, the subtext of that footnote should define the character and quality of my friendships.

Footnotes are not just facts about a persons life. They are as poetry, pregnant with ideas, feelings, and imprints, left with those people who were part of my life whom I affected, and whose effect on me gave my footnote its texture.

Friendships evolve from acquaintances who become friends when vulnerabilities are revealed, acceptance extended and trust developed and solidified over time. Eventually becoming the basis that makes life worth living by bridging the gaps of separateness. Without them, we have no orientation, no connection with the outside world or the ability to judge our own actions. They ground us in different ways, depending on the type of friendships they are. But they need to be cultivated and never taken for granted, treated as flowers in a garden requiring constant care and nurturing.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned has been that the strength of my friendships are related to my willingness to put myself in the other persons shoes in order to understand who they are, why they feel as they do and what is necessary to not only resolve any misunderstandings that may arise between us, but also to give me the ability to appreciate their strengths, weaknesses, and fears. These will ultimately deepen the friendship by communicating the value of the relationship.

Most problems arise when one feels they are giving more than they are receiving. However if we recognize that people are different, with different natures, it would be easier to remember that such as life, relationships must be fluid and flexible. We should also recognize that people may require various levels of attention at different times. It’s not important whether friendships are equal, but that each individual feels they receive the attention they most need from the other, when they need it.