As I’ve often written before, humans are inherently pack animals. Why else would we all gather in large groups to build towns and cities? There’s no denying there’s safety in numbers, which is why animals tend to travel in packs, as well. There’s also a social component to it, where most people crave time with others of their own kind. This isn’t to say that there aren’t issues with that concept.
That very same gathering of people can lead to significant issues such as criminal activity, exhaustion of resources and less availability of services due to the amount of people taking advantage at once. But there’s no denying that at our core, we seek out other people and this becomes evident through a firmer connection with others that we refer to as friendships. Loosely defined, because I haven’t defined something in my posts in FOREVER, friendship can be described as a state of mutual trust and support between two parties who wish to enjoy mutual interests.
That definition is quite loose indeed and is more my perspective on what a friendship is, rather than an actual dictionary definition. Do people use dictionaries anymore? Probably not, with the internet available… But I digress… Friendships are important and an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, even to those who prefer to be alone. Solitude eventually has a significant impact on one’s overall mental well-being and growth. This is why we seek out like-minded people from a young age.
During childhood, friendships follow a come-and-go model where you’ll usually be friends with the same kid of the roughly the same age that you have available. For example, my son Nathan used to be great friends with the boy who lived next door. When that family moved away, he started playing with the boy and girl across the street and forgot all about the boy next door. Kids are flexible that way and are more about the social interaction than who they’re having it with.
As we get older, however, friendships become more about connections and retaining the person, more so than the interaction. The best friendships are the ones that although you may not have spoken in weeks or months, you still value your time with them when you DO get the chance to get together. I have many of those. That’s certainly preferable to people who have constant contact with you but are in a constant state of conflict. Conflict is never a good thing and will always contribute to one’s own suffering as well as theirs.
The big problem with said conflict is that it usually leads to negative feelings and emotions and damages the friendship. Although I’m a huge proponent of “it’s never too late,” willingness to repair a rift will only carry you so far, especially if the other person is unwilling or incapable of communicating or compromising. To be clear, even though conflict isn’t good, it is normal and it will happen in any long-lasting friendship, whether we want it or not.
As we grow into adulthood and maintain those limited relationships, these issues become more dominant. This makes sense, since adults are more prone to their own opinions and feelings, which may not always reflect with yours. This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a continued communication between those two parties. But that’s the funny thing about communication; it can’t be one-sided. Both people need to be involved in the conversation for it to, well… BE a conversation.
All of this wordy bullshit is to say that if you find yourself in conflict with a friend because they have a differing opinion than yours, remember that while you have no obligation or expectation of explaining yourself, a little explanation and clarification can go a long way. Especially if your goal is to retain and maintain the friendship. And if someone has cut you out and stopped communicating as a result of a misunderstanding, you really only have two options: take the initiative and try to repair the rift or, and especially if it’s happened frequently, let them go. Much like the old saying, if they were meant to be in your life, they’ll make their way back. Food for thought… ☯️