Friendship

I was talking with my family just the other day and I was quite surprised to hear them say two things: first, that they don’t like the majority of people and, second, that they wouldn’t be friends with people who did things they didn’t like or disagreed with. I have to say that I am of a completely different view on both of these points.
I may only have a small number of friends who I’m very close to, but I still like all of the other people I know. My family said that if they didn’t really know somebody all that well, they weren’t really all that bothered about them. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with this, I mean, if you don’t really know somebody, how do you know that they’re not secretly a very bad person? But, then again, at the same time, how do you know that they’re not secretly a really nice person? No matter who it is, if I happen to bump into somebody I know I’ll be very happy to see and talk to them. Perhaps that’s a little too optimistic, I don’t know. But, what I do know, is that it must be nicer to be happy every time you see somebody than to be disinterested unless it’s one of your closest friends.
But I wasn’t particularly bothered by the first point, perhaps you get even more joy from your closest friendships that way? My main problem was with the idea of not being friends who do things you disagree with. My friends do all kinds of things which I disagree with: drinking lots of alcohol, smoking and being involved with sexually explicit things which I’d rather not think about to name three. But they’re still my friends, and who am I to judge them? If those are the things they enjoy doing, so be it. If it’s making them happy to do those things, I’d be making them unhappy to try and stop them. They’re not harming anybody, so there’s reason to pass judgement. I’m sure you may say that they’re harming themselves and so I should dissuade them, but they’re intelligent people with their own free will, they know drinking too much can be bad in the long run and it’s their choice about whether they do drink and how much. I value all of my friendships with people very highly and if they were ever doing something that would immediately harm themselves or others, I would intervene, but I have no right to oppose they’re choice of recreational activities. While I may not like the idea of a lot of the things I’ve mentioned I can see that they are all good people, and since they are good people, I can only hope to have long lasting friendships with them all.

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