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The Love Challenge - the love of friends

Well, the previous post - the love for the process (for life, really) was really yesterday's post, today's post is the love of friends.

What a joy!!! There is just nothing like coming back to people you love, especially if you didn't expect to see them for quite a while, and to hear the excited voices "She's back!!", the big smiles, the children's laughter, and even your kitten is excited to have her friend back who appeared before you even had a chance to park.

In some places, almost everyone seems to be your friend - shop owners smile even if you meet them on the street after weeks, even nature seems to welcome you back and the ocean caresses your feet gently, while flocks of birds chirp excitedly around you.

It is such a treasure!!

Now, what is a friend? Some people call everyone their friend even if they only once saw them once from far away, because it's good for business to have lots of friends, or they hope to elicit beneficial behavior by suggesting friendship, and there is nothing wrong with either, but what I really mean in this post is people who like or love you, who like seeing you, and who help out and stand by you when you are in trouble, and you do the same for them.

In some cultures - company cultures and nations, these people are almost impossible to find, because the culture doesn't support it and promotes a tribal culture instead - people turn on their friend when the tribe demands it and friendships are really alliances of convenience. A real "friend" in my definition would have to make some pretty significant sacrifices to be a friend when you are in trouble and would likely be in trouble him or herself, and for the long term. In the West, outside companies, truly tribal cultures exist but are pretty rare. It is easy to dismiss those kinds of friendships as shallow if you don't appreciate the immense pressure tribal cultures put on people to comply, and most will try to somehow make up for it when nobody looks. You can have friends in their sense in these cultures, but be aware of the limitations of their definition of friendship - otherwise you can find yourself neck deep in trouble and severely disappointed.

In other cultures, most people are your friends, in my sense of the definition, because that's what is expected by the culture. If you don't stand to your friends in times of trouble, you'll soon be very alone, and nobody will trust you. People will work together, but as consenting individuals, which is oftentimes more productive than group think, and if two people have a problem, the rest tends to stay out of it. Tribal structures are only accepted when they produce positive results, and witch hunts are, with very rare exceptions, a no-no. It's the kind of culture I enjoy, and friendships can give such a freedom and feeling of belonging that it is hard to leave.

Well, I very much enjoy friendship, but what's probably most important is how good a friend am I? Do I come through when it counts?

One thing is for sure, good friends can make your life a true joy, and I will travel thousands of miles to come back to my friends when I can, as most of us probably will!

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