Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Paradox of a Friend

Sometimes life just fails to make sense. And trying to make sense of life often results in a big fail. 

Was that a paradox? Or was that just a twist of words and semantics? A mirror image of the same words rearranged to just mean something different.

Friends. A concept that can boggle and confuse. Gone are the days when the concept of a friend was clear and simple. Was it ever clear and simple? Now, a friend can be one thing but then turns around and appears to be another. Has the concept of a friend changed or is it just me who just never grasped the concept in the first place?

I know of what it means to drift apart. I know how it is when life takes you through its twists and turns, consuming you fully so that you lose track of what is important. Usually, though, there is a moment of clarity when you reach out for those who once meant something to you. Usually, it is those whom you reach out to, who are the ones who turn out to be the true ones. That first category, that all-important category. And anyone else who did not make it just falls short of the meaning of a friend. So what happens when you realise that you yourself did not make it to your friends' all-important category? That you were not, to them, a true friend.

Relationships are complex. There are old friends whom you met at school and university. There are friends whom you met through work. And there are those whom you met through others friends, through your travels and by any other means. There does not seem to be a set rule to what defines a friend or when one starts becoming a friend. Yet I have found that old friends are really the true ones. You may have lost touch for years, decades even, but once you are in touch again it is almost like old times, picking up where you left off. Friends from school and university, from the years that shaped both of you and allowed you to share in those defining moments, those friends can never be replaced. The friends that come after that are what I like to think of as cosmetic friends. The ones who decorate your life and add meaning and value to it but did not play an all-important life defining role, although some do. 

It seems that time is another important factor. Add time to a relationship and it becomes mature and golden, something that you start to cherish and appreciate. That is probably why old friends are the truest, purest and most cherished.

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