Friday, October 14, 2005

On friendship. I have been thinking about the nature of friendship ever since Dougie put me onto this Elizabot, who showed me the Wikipedia entry for 'friend'. I had actually discussed this topic with Dougie a few weeks earlier, over drinks after a hard day's work on the Crikey project Censored Due to Legal Advice. (Not to be confused with the TISM album of the same name.) Anyway, Wikipedia listed all sorts of culturally and historically specific varieties of friendship, from philia and agape to soulmates and blood brothers. I had an interesting conversation on this topic yesterday with Tash, who asked if there was an entry for "semen sisters". Well, Tash, Wikipedia is fully editable.

We tend to drift into friendships through circumstances. School friends. Workmates. Friends-of-friends. Only when asked directly at occasions like 21sts and weddings do we ask ourselves, "How do I know X?" "How did we meet?" "What was it that made me want to be friends with this person?" So often, it's that they happened to be a socially gregarious person with similar tastes and interests to you. And you know what I think about shared tastes.

I still stand by what I wrote then. There is more to friendship than being able to talk shit and hang out. But we are losing the vocabulary to describe our relationships with each other. What should we expect from our friends? Where are the lines between different sorts of friendships? Is the idea of a 'best friend' something that we leave behind in childhood, or does it have some validity as adults? Is friendship necessarily non-sexual? Do lovers become our best friends? What is the difference between sex-crushes, love-crushes and friend-crushes?

I have always tried to keep up my existing friendship networks, and it really pains me to realise that perhaps I don't have much in common with my old friends anymore. Lately, though, I have been trying to imagine hybrid kinds of friendship: ones in which I can be loved and accepted for being 'myself'; ones in which I can be both frank and frivolous; ones that satisfy my current desire for shelter from the crapness of everyday life; ones in which I can love and be loved without fear of humiliation or sexual confusion. But I don't know if I am weird for wanting this, or if it's an impossible request to which nobody will agree.

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