Thursday, November 10, 2011

friends for different occasions

Today I met a friend for the first time face to face and together we spent one of the loveliest days I've had in a long time. Some 10+ hours were passed talking, walking, vegetarian/vegan food browsing, a wee bit of shopping with a stop for lunch and later a cup of hot cocoa.

I was pretty exhausted, hungry and tired when I got home late in the evening, but also with the great feeling of having been able to both talk, being heard AND listen to someone who actually do think outside the despicable box for so many hours. To not having to had restrain myself from comment on issues people in general find well, less than pleasing to hear about.

That's a sadly rare thing these days, at least for me, the 9-5 life for so many people, the commitments, the family life and so forth, they all make it difficult to spend long hours just talking, talking, talking with no particular deadline. Therefore I rarely have that utterly satisfying feeling of having thoroughly vented a subject after meeting friends. Sure it's nice to have lunch, coffee, afternoon tea, dinner, drinks, go to some cultural event, but a few hours (perhaps after not having seen eachother for a few weeks, months even), it's just not enough time for catching up and discuss life, the bigger picture for real, to challenge the mind.

Sometimes I also feel, that no matter how nice, kind, well-meaning friends are we move in such different circles intellectually. I've been brought up to think for myself, question and criticize (when needed) and I miss such discussions, ventilating and challenging. I often find I can't talk about certain issues without people taking offence, taking it as a personal insult perhaps, they get defensive instead of simply taking it as a suggestion to think differently, see other sides of the life coin.

So many people, too many, just accept norms and values set by society (which of course actually is made up by ourselves), keep doing things by jog trot (like eating meat), never really question the selfish IKEA way of living, never analyze underlying motifs, refusing to see the big picture, how my actions make an impact on someone else's life on the other side of the world, that we are all connected.

Or perhaps I simply spend time with the *wrong* kind of people, perhaps we've grown apart over the years. Some of my friends and I. At least I know for sure I have far too few friends who are vegetarians. People who never question their own choices, who never seem to strive to become better, more compassionate people, I pity them and I pity the world.

And for saying that, being who I am I do know some people find me uppish, preaching and tiresome. Because to find time to actually question and challenge your ways, your life in this soul-crushing 9-5 life of ours it takes an open mind, effort and, most of all, a sincere wish to become a better person.

Trying to make a change - while nota bene definitely not being all perfect oneself, still eating some dairy products and using leather goods for example - influence others, in some small way at least, being an advocate for those who far too few listen too, care about, since selfishess rule, it's wearying. And some days, friends that don't challenge you, that are just a happy chat over a coffee and cake for a couple of hours, that like to talk shoes, nailpolish, cuddly guineapigs, curtain fabrics, planned holidays and such are just what a mind weary about the unfortunate ways of the world needs.

Friends for different occasions.

shoe per diem and liquorice

What's your thoughts on friendship?
Does it vary over time?
Do you grow apart?
Do you need friends that challenge your mind and ways?
Do you have friends for different occasions?

Edit: Where do you draw the line between friends and acquaintances? Do you have one?

The more I think about this, the more thoughts I'd like to add to this post. And I actually do think about it a lot, but this is the first time I've put it to blog. Fodder for more posts.


Kissowa said...

I miss the "just talking" thing myself. It seems that every time you meet up with a friend you have to -do- something. Go out dancing, see a movie, whatever it may be. Gone are the days when you could just drop by for a cup and a chat. I miss that.

Fuzzy Tales said...

I think most people come into your life when you have a need, and they pass when your need also has passed. Very few walk with you on your entire journey, which doesn't in any way lessen the beauty of the friendship at the time.

I also think no one person can take on all issues--you have to pick your battles. I do eat meat and dairy foods, I have a difficult time with all grains and potatoes, so have to find what works for me, even though I'm a party to the terrible way food animals are raised and killed. I feed my cats canned food too, don't make my own from a "proper" food source, so I'm "guilty" in that regard as well.

Do I wear leather or fur? No. Do I own a leather purse? No. I also am a big supporter of animal adoption and rescue and don't have much regard for those who don't spay/neuter and who let their pets roam and breed, thus contributing to the overpopulation and euthanasia of tens of millions of cats and dogs every year.

So, as I said, you have to pick your battles, find what works for you, what you can live with and what you can't, and just do your best. Not with blinders on, but by making conscious choices--some for the Higher Good, some not, depending on your circumstances.

pärlbesatt said...

What's your thoughts on friendship?

Orkar/hinner inte svara på nu.

Does it vary over time?


Do you grow apart?

Ja, med vissa. Det har tagit tid att inse att det inte behöver handla om att de växt ifrån mig, eller ratar mig, utan att jag växt ifrån dem, eller vi från varann, och att det är okej.

Do you need friends that challenge your mind and ways?

Självklart. Även om det är skönt med snälla ord och kanske till och med lite egoboosting ibland så behöver man vänner och ögonöppnare, inte rövslickare och medhårsstrykare. Plus att det vore dötrist att tycka likadant om allt. Så länge man har respekt för varann och kan tycka om varann fast man tycker olika så.

Do you have friends for different occasions?

Ja. Eller folk för olika ändamål snarare än vänner för det. Eller så här, vänskaper behöver inte vara eviga, eller djupa allihop, eller handla om att antingen prata eller göra. Så svar ja, på din fråga.

Och jag har varit vego sen jag var typ åtta... :)

Erica said...

I have been struggling with the same friend issues myself, though for different reasons. The simple realization that most friends aren't forever or for-every-occasion has been a difficult one for me to accept because I am an only child and thus think of (and treat) my friends as family. Unfortunately I have done so somewhat blindly, and various paths I've chosen (marriage, having children, becoming a stay-at-home mom) have created obstacles between myself and friends whom I had assumed would always remain close. It's taken a while, but I think I've finally come to a place where I can be ok with whomever they are going to be in my life, and simply be thankful for what we've been able to, and are still able to, contribute to one-anothers lives. Different friends for different occasions is really the only way, isn't it? Very few can match our needs, wants, opinions, and interests 100%. We are, after all, individuals.

heather said...

I have very small circle of friends (truly, less than 10) and haven't made a new, true friend in over 10 years. I have a childhood family friend that is my second daughter's godmother and a long-time friend (20 years) that is my first daughter's godfather. Neither are married or have children, but they are excellent people and I wanted my children to have another adult as a mentor and that could add value to their lives outside of our extended family unit. We have different lifestyles, but we have shared experiences that have bound us for life. My friends add value and it is those relationships that I make efforts to foster.

Moving as we do makes it difficult to maintain close friendships, but I always miss them when I am away. We never actually 'do' anything when we are together and never really have. It is always just a few phone calls that I am around and wanting to meet up and we gather and talk and argue and laugh and never want the evening to end. We don't always see eye to eye, but we celebrate and support each others 'highs' and help each other in 'lows' and give swift kicks in the behind when we feel someone needs it. We are married with children and some of them are not, we have different lifestyles and views, but even though we aren't the *same* it's never made a difference. We make time and space for those we value and care about no matter what the individual situation. I like the differences - I wouldn't want to just hang out with my clones all day.

My own husband and I rarely see eye to eye on many issues (particularly political) and everyone who knows us knows we can debate each other about absolutely anything. Oddly, we never take it personally (as we agree on things that truly affect our daily lives) but there is never a dull moment. I suppose it keeps us lively and humorous dinner companions, even after a day with the children. ;)

I have dropped friends over the years when their lives negatively impacted mine or our differences actually translated into not really liking each other. We don't have to be the same but when I roll my eyes because so-and-so is going to show up, party's over. Life's too short to spend leisure time hoping for the moment to end.

Pia K said...

a few more thoughts on friendship can be found here

- i love it that we do think about this (quite a lot it seems)!

Felis said...

I'm absolutely agree with everything that Fuzzy Tales says. I tried to write long posts about why I'm still predator, and why using fur or using cosmetics tested on animals is unacceptable for me. But with my english results was terrible :) .
So I stopped and I thought a lot about your post and all comments.
I think that friends can be on different position and discuss about that, , without bad feelings. To told you that I have beliefs why not to be vegetarians, or you reasons to use leather. We are on different position but but we still can like each other.
Would be the same if some of us think that is not big deal because humans are something more than animals are?
For me friends can be on different position, but when 2 peoples have different ideals they can be only acquaintances, not friends.
Hmm, that explain why all my friends now are only acquaintances for me. :(
And difference between position and ideals, everyone understand for herself, and also what actually means friend?

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