friendship … and a cup of coffee …

caramel_3654I noticed over the years that friends don’t remain friends forever, although I know some of them as long as I live, the frequency of seeing them has declined radically. And some/(many?) friendships also do end.

Making friends is a long process for me. Real friends who come and visit and invite me to be myself, are a rare gem and a treasure. About once every 5 years, this happens.

Internet friendships are of a different nature. These long distance encounters allow us indeed to be ourselves, but the feedback is different, and drinking a cup of coffee together, just being there for no other purpose as to be there together in the freedom to be yourself, is not really possible. I don’t want to minimize internet friendships, far from, but they are different, and more volatile, although there are many exceptions too. And of course, they can, and sometimes do lead, to a cup of coffee.

Something happens when you are in the same room with someone,
listening to each other’s voices,
talking about nothing,
and listening to
the longer silences
in between.

A chatroom, even with a webcam doesn’t have this ‘magic’, at least not for me.
The webcam and the chatroom is always focussed,
while being in a living room together with someone,
there is no need to focus at all.

It is this unfocussed space, when talking has become superfluous.
There is the physical feeling of being together just meters apart.
This creates an intimacy far beyond words.

Once you have that, the telephone or the internet can temporarily fill the void.
But e-communication can not replace this togetherness.

I think that once you have come to the level of sharing silences, on the internet we forget to e-mail, and we stop chatting.
The world beyond words is difficult to find on an internet: full of words, search terms, chatter and twitter,
or the never ending ventilating of opinions on facebook or, what i’m doing right now, on wordpress. 🙂

And yes, in the real world,
when silences arise more frequently,
many of us interpret that as an end of friendship,
an end of interest.
While exactly the opposite is true.

Frequent silent visits do not bore,
they are the communication
on that field that Rumi talked about:

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I will meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase <each other>
doesn’t make any sense.”

Rumi

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35 thoughts on “friendship … and a cup of coffee …

  1. I have met some really wonderful people here on this site but then I met the biggest faker and thief. God have mercy on her soul.

  2. I’ve thought a lot about friendship throughout my life. I was shy and chubby as a kiddo and had trouble making friends. I did finally make some friendships that have lasted, but I’ve always felt they were not “real” or “deep”. I’ve learned that this is because I don’t reveal a lot of who I am with my friends. I let them do the talking and the decision making in an effort not to offend. In the end, however; I get cheated and my friends do too. I’m getting better with this now, and at least I’m real with my husband, which is great. Anyway, great post! It made me think. Celeste 🙂

    • For me, it takes a lot of time to make friends. It is often built around a common interest, but then those friendships only last as long as that interest remains common to both.
      Make that common interest a common outlook on life, and it gets less superficial.
      My deeper friendships are based upon feeling good and very open, and able to say anything, with that similar outlook on life. Listening is surely very important too. But all communication has to go in both directions: openness, listening, talking.
      I have never stopped making new friends, but I meet on average only one every 5 years.
      And, … I have never made friends at work.

  3. AnElephantcant understand friendship
    Sometimes it flows away like a river
    But others strangely enough
    Turn into deep personal love
    And that person stays inside your heart forever

  4. Hi Bert,

    I finally made it. Totally, I realize about the silences. I actually have internet friends where constant reassurance, where being quick to soothe the upsets or congratulate, are no longer needed. These “closest” of un-met “friends” are also the few I have actually had some long telephone conversations with – at least, we’ve had that give and take.

    I really think what you have described is the being comfortable with, just as we are. It is rare, but thankfully there is enough of that in existence, at least, so I have now found – though speaking for myself I had to live OVER 50 years to finally find those un-met, but close to my heart, friends – and several years to develop that level of comfort that only requires an occasional checking-in.

    As to “being present, in person with”, yes, there is a very “real” energy to that, that requires actual presence to detect. There’s no one beyond my husband, who is “present in person”, and who’s energy comes close to being that comfortable, without the need for constant reassurance, in my own physical realm. 25 years of enduring marriage has given me that much at least.

    I’ve one really good friend 2 hours away that comes “close” but needless to say, the contact is infrequent, and never just one-on-one (always the whole family is along for the ride, and actually she was already my husband’s friend, before she became equally “mine”), though we came close to that possibility last winter, when I got stranded there overnight by a severe snowstorm. Sadly, I wasn’t able to reach her before I gave in to a motel room, not knowing if she was even in town at that time.

    Fondly !!

    • Always grateful for your wonderful contributions to this blog. Interesting that you seem to be able to solidify a few internet friendships. Something that only very rarely has happened to me.

  5. I agree. While technology has enabled us to connect with people all over the world via blogs and myriad of social media, it has come with price; not only that technology-enabled connections lack real life features of human interactions, but have also enslaved us to technology gadgets leaving us with less and less time and energy to connect with people in our respective streets, cities, neighborhoods … the result is that people spend more and more time in front of their technology enabled screens, than talking, or just being with other human beings. It is yet to be seen what will be consequences of that on future generations of humans and their abilities to communicate and connect with each others.

  6. Yes, I agree that in-person encounters are by far more meaningful than the virtual kind (you’ve been to chat rooms? That’s something I’ve never done.)
    All in all, I prefer my own company and that of a very select few friends I’ve come to know over many years, including my husband and daughters (and our three dogs). To sit or walk or swim in nature while visiting with another, we often encounter vast expanses of silence. Which is wonderful.
    That being said, I also appreciate Facebook and the WordPress community where all we have are words and images. Being an introvert, I can’t deal with an overload of noise, and there’s a certain beauty in words that way. And while these ‘friends’ (some are actual friends and family with whom I share history) can be fickle, it’s nice to know others appreciate my work enough to stop and comment. Yours is one of the blogs I actually read regularly. So thanks for your introspection.
    Aloha, Bela

    • Thank you for your insights.
      Although I’m slowly removing the compartments in life where I wear different masks for different public, in fact moving to no masks at all, I still feel that information for customers or employers is different from information for friends or family or people I don’t know.
      FB is even abused by the government to spy on our lives and see whether we could perhaps pay more taxes. But the closed source dictatorship of ‘S’uckerberg is the main reason why I refrain from that medium.

  7. I don’t have internet communications that are personal – don’t do skype, twitter, facebook, etc., and in my e-mails, I don’t talk about anything personal.
    I believe in real contact, where I see the person; the body never lies and the heart is transparent in the eyes, so to me, it’s the only way to truly communicate – in person.

  8. I wonder if we are silent in our aloneness we can begin to actually feel the connection of those silent friends who are present over the distances. The reality of their presence cannot be sensed in the seeking for affirmation – that endless loop – Can we feel them there in a quiet mind state? Sometimes for me the “like” button is to leave my little scratch mark in the sand to say, I’ve read your words, I’ve connected with you, silently, I am with you.

  9. Hello, Bert, my experience over my nearly 80 years has been:
    1. True friendship needs no nurture.
    2. For most people there are just a handful of friends in the true sense with the rest being temporary friends or acquaintances. This is not to diminish the value of all as each has its merits and purpose.

  10. it is so sad to find so many of us living our lives and friendships through the internet. Though the internet is such a powerful research/information tool, it has also stolen many of our real lives away.

    • If we could give the right place to any media, more would be gained than lost. The immediate fulfilment of a desire to communicate by the internet, brings Internet often to the forefront. However, we also know that immediate speech often hurts and that words often have to be taken back when they where spoken without any thought. Even so immediate gratification, deprives us of a lot of beautiful experiences, and longing becomes an experience of the past.

  11. I agree, friendships ebb and flow – and a handful of true friends in a lifetime is a glorious gift.
    Funny how letters can be better than the immediate feedback of the internet. Perhaps the key is in the anticipation.

    • When we write a letter, and while I write these replies, we are connected. We even feel this, no matter what the physical distance might be. We feel the need of our friends to communicate – everyone can recall such coincidences.
      Immediate feedback overshadows the ‘long distance connector’. Immediate feedback creates the need to always say or type something, and then we don’t ‘feel’ the ‘connection’ anymore that takes place when someone writes us or makes the intention to call us by phone.

  12. I remember sitting at the window in a room darkened by night in my grandfather’s lap or at the other window by myself, in silence, and feeling a great connection of love. Silences mean you are comfortable enough not to have to chatter or talk. Very rare are such friends or relationships. My husband welcomes such silences. He is the only one of my relationships where silence can reign.

    • Unfortunately, the self identified with mind has a need to constantly keep the fire of existence burning. It does that by interior and verbal chatter. Awesome moments can smother this need for self-affirmation. Friends, and being together with them, does generate awesome moments. And then the need for self-affirmation becomes silent. Friendship creates a belonging, and a space of trust and freedom. The freedom to be who we are, with or without words.

  13. I enjoy encountering groups of children from time to time who, seemingly, develop friendship rather quickly. Yesterday I attended a couple of events and met many new potential friends. Being child-like helped me, I think!

    • Innocence is free from the fear that one can get burned by making acquaintances. As much as fire has the power to burn, humans have the power to hurt … and in adults only the accumulated wounds are remembered. The accumulated positive encounters have often been shadowed and forgotten. Leaving the fear behind, creates that space around you to start new encounters and possible friendships.

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