Thursday, March 02, 2006

Friends

As with politics so with friendships; my interest is primarily in the practice rather than the theory. Nevertheless today's In Our Time on BBC Radio Four about friendship was fascinating. When this programme is at its best (i.e. most of the time) it's rather like eavesdropping on a group of intellectual friends chatting around a topic. As ever you can 'listen again' via their web-site.

There was some politics as well as friendship throughout the programme. One speaker mentioned how important friendships are to us nowadays in private but how suspicious we are of them in public or business life – they provoke cries of nepotism or special treatment. Earlier a theory had been advanced that what we think of as friendship nowadays couldn't really have existed before the market economy got going because relationships were then so much more about power, influence or simply survival.

They spoke about the different sorts of friendships and why some last and others don't. As usual the Greek and enlightenment philosophers had much to say on the subject and were duly called upon to enliven the discussion.

I was interested by the mention of friendships developed at work. These can be tricky for the reasons they must have been at medieval court - power play lurking in the background. So it is within political parties; you may be friends with someone but competing for the same safe seat or step up the greasy pole.

I guess Friends Reunited has been successful partly because some friendships weren't strong enough to prevent the friends losing touch. I wonder how successful subsequent reunions are? I've been very friendly with people at work but have sometimes found that meeting them years later is a disappointment because the things that brought us together are no longer there.

Anyway, nurture your friendships. Like houseplants they may take time to blossom and will wither if neglected. Best not to wait too long for the other half to get in touch. E-mail should help today's generation but my parents are still friends with people they knew sixty odd years ago and with whom they exchanged nothing more than Christmas cards for forty years or so. My longest friendship has endured for 45 years so far and some lengthy periods without any contact - perhaps its time to send an e-mail......


(btw - I'm sorry if anyone has found this site whilst searching for gossip about a long-running American sit-com featuring the deeds of men who shrug wryly and ladies who squeak rather more than one might reasonably hope)

2 Comments:

At 18:43, Blogger DCveR said...

You know, friends are what I treasure most. My real friends are not necessarily the people who I hang out everyday, not even the people I get to meet in parties. By they are the ones who in spite of their busy lives always make time to help when I need it, regardless where on Earth they are. They are also the people that I will help regardless of my scheddule or calendar.
And yes, sometimes we spend even years without actually being together, but I never got the sense anything was lost. Guess this is what makes me one of the luckiest guys ever.

 
At 11:25, Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

I haven't lost a friend since email. Not a real one.

And it's not always about the staying in touch. I have seen A&D about twice since their son was born, but I'll still sit in a lobby for hours to get the kid into the school they want, and they would do the same for me. That's what makes them friends.

 

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