Key Takeaway: We need our friends! In purposeful living, true friends are those who will support us, guide us, check us, advise us… who will be there for us no matter what.
They say no man is an island.
But, I say, we all comprise an archipelago: we have the capacity to live our own selves – yet we also need our relationships with others.
Exactly two weeks ago, my best friend finally migrated, leaving me quite alone here. While he teases me whenever I express to him how much I miss him, the feeling I yearn for is one that, deny as some might, everyone actually needs to have a healthy and truly good life.
It’s true that love is the greatest gift of all and that it’s a force unlike no other. But love comes in so many different forms – and while romantic love with all its deepness is art made alive, there’s still something so universal about platonic love: in other words, friendship. Not everyone is called to be married, not everyone becomes a parent or sibling, but everyone can become a friend.
Friendships allow relationships beyond blood and matrimony to begin and bloom. They can occur between any two people, regardless of their backgrounds, circumstances, abilities, interests, skills, desires, fears, and purposes… regardless of their Life Kits. You don’t need to have the same interests to jive – what we call wavelengths, though admittedly you won’t have the same wavelengths with everyone. Your family members and spouse can also be among your greatest friends – it’s the relationship you build that matters.
Someone who’ll be there for you, someone to talk to, someone who’s got your back – that’s the magic and power of having friends. Our society of love is built on respect and, more deeply, friendship.
In living a purposeful life, one never ought to be alone – it can get lonely out there. We need friends, our friends. They’re the ones who support us, who keep us in check, who advise us whether we like it or not. They’re the ones we can share our joys and sorrows with. And if we truly value our friendships, we won’t be treating them as fair-weather or even bad-weather friends: not just people we go to when things are good or even bad, respectively. We accept each other for who we are completely, whenever, wherever.
And, like love, we help each other grow. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen R. Covey teaches effectively an “evolution” of relationships – from dependence to independence to interdependence. We all go through each stage in life. We are dependent on our families as babies and children, then we gradually grow up to become independent. But not everyone learns how to be really interdependent. True, healthy friendship is one way of practicing interdependence. And this is what’s very important in purpose.
My best friend always said that in our little trio, we help each other out. True interdependence couldn’t be phrased any simpler. We have our own higher purposes, our own Life Kits. With them, we can stand on our own and solder on the path of life. Yet at the same time, we remember that we don’t take that road alone, and that there are some who we can (or should!) help, some who can help us. The time to be proud and haughty and say, “I do not need you” is long gone. In purpose, we help each other out as a community to multiply our individual impacts.
It takes compassion and humility to accept this, but once we do, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Trust me: It’s lonely having no friends. I’m not saying you should have an army of people to meet up with every Friday night. Whether or not you have a lot of friends depends on your own circumstances as a person. But I do insist that everyone should have that one or two (or three or four!) individuals they’d entrust their lives with: true friends they can be utterly themselves with.
So, this weekend, go and reflect on your friendships you’ve made and sustained over the years. The old and new ones. Who are your true “bros” and “sistahs”? Who are those rare gems you know will be there for you and vice-versa, always? Who are these gifts from heaven that enrich your life so well?
Have a purposeful weekend!