Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Scripted Friendship

What stands out to you in your most treasured friendship? What shines? Are you very much alike? Do you think a lot of the same things and finish each others' thoughts? Or are you very different, finding comfort in each others' strengths and weakness?

In recent years I have sort of lost faith in my ability to maintain a great friendship. I have even had difficulty maintaining healthy relationships with my own family, so it is just that much harder to keep up with friends. Of course there are multiple sides to every story, and, just like a marriage, it takes the work of both parties. Life changes, people change, and both get busy, so it is not unusual to lose touch, but lately I've felt like it has been more than just losing touch with people, deeper than that, and I can't put my finger on it. I have a great friend in my husband of course. It isn't that he is not enough, but I have missed having that friend that I could turn to in any situation, someone I could talk to about anything without judgment, someone to keep me from getting cabin fever and losing my mind when the only two available people to converse with are toddlers!

Television shows haven't taught me much, but one thing I have watched and witnessed is that Hollywood certainly knows how to write the perfect friendship, yet very few people know how to actually have one. I have witnessed friendships on Grey's Anatomy, for example, that have been written to survive anything. They have misunderstandings, disagreements, and downright hateful moments, but in those moments we, as an audience, always understand where they are coming from, and we try to relate. At the same time; however, we wonder how something like that can be forgiven. The writers take care of that too. The characters always work it out in a way that makes sense. They move on, and understand that they are each different and handle circumstances differently. In one moment they can be screaming at each other, and in the next, they have their arms around each other, silent, just giving them the comfort that they need.

Are friendships like that possible? As much as I love my family, I can say, in all honesty, that I don't even have that Hollywood written relationship with them. You would think that your family would be the one group of people that you could really duke it out with, battle your differences, and open your wounds with, and they would still be there with love no matter what. But my family functions superficially. If you're honest, and dig too far beneath the surface, you're likely to find yourself held at a great distance from the people you love the most. I don't say this to be hurtful to anyone. This is just the way that we all behave. We walk on eggshells so as not to hurt or offend. Do we not believe enough in our own love for each other that we can be honest or accept honesty from one another?

The conclusion I've come to is that most people have difficulty being honest with themselves. If you can't accept it from yourself, or you can't be honest with yourself about who you are, then how can you handle that honesty from others? The characters on Grey's Anatomy, no matter how screwed up, know who they are, so when they hear it from their friends, no matter how hurtful the context, they understand where it is coming from. That is because they understand themselves, their strengths and their weaknesses.

Maybe that is all unrealistic. Perhaps it is much like the elusive Hollywood body type. It is just smoke and mirrors to most of us. Is it too much to ask of ourselves, to live up to the characters and friendships that Hollywood knows how to write? Can we be honest with ourselves, so that we might be able to be honest with each other?  

1 comment:

  1. I've never had a best friend & probably never will. I think ultimately I have a LOT of acquaintances, some closer than others. I think it's because my family functions as family & friends. Perhaps also because some friends growing up were 2-faced, so I lost faith in trusting 100% of my heart to anyone outside my family. But, I'm OK with that. My family can tell it like it is, & very frequently we do, & then we all love each other with even more intensity.
    Ultimately to answer your question, don't believe most of what you see on t.v. I'm sure friendships like that are possible - think of David & Jonathan. However, they sure are hard to come by. & yes, we can & should be honest with ourselves & each other.