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Dini

Welcome at the blog of Dini Commandeur. I've written quite a lot of columns for various magazines. I also write short stories every now and then. These columns and stories are available for everybody at this blog. I'll release new columns and stories periodically.

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« Leeuwarden.....of all… | Home | Happy Holidays »

About friendship

Column November 2005 Tuesday 15 November 2005 They were girl friends, our miniature parrot, Aggie, and Lemon, the parakeet. They visited each other regularly and most of the time that was fun. They chirped happily, but they had their fights, too, and could viciously bite each other. Still, they were close. One Monday morning, when Lemon laid down on the bottom of her cage, spread out her wings, and expired, Aggie tried to screech her back to life. It seems as though she realized that she would have to miss the only fellow member of her species in her own environment. No matter how different they had been, they had been friends. Their friendship had human aspects; closeness, compassion, fondness and bickering, fights – they were all part of the relationship. No matter how big the conflicts would be, the two of them always got back together. Through human eyes, a friendship like the one Aggie and Lemon had is exceptional, because they would have their fights but afterward they would always continue on without holding grudges. They were THE proof that a bad memory can be good for friendships.

Friendship... I have had fascinating discussions about that topic with some mail friends. How good it is to have a friend and to be a friend. How important it is to talk together, to laugh and sometimes cry together, and to realize that it’s not about what you get from friendship but, rather, what you put into it for the friendship to fully develop. After all, only if both parties “invest” time and attention into the friendship is there a truly balanced relationship. If the balance is missing things often go wrong. “Friendships are fragile. Be sure to handle them with the same care you do other fragile things”, said Randolph S. Bourne and he was right. For a true friendship is too precious to let it drop and shatter like a china cup.

On the internet there are many texts and poems about friendship, also about past friendships and the bitter feelings they leave behind. An example is the refrain from the song from Charity:

”One time you’ll draw the conclusion

Friendship is an illusion

Friendship is a dream

A package of trash, covered with a thin layer of chrome”.

One of my mail friends told me that she had once lost a friendship and how she handled that. “It’s always difficult to lose a friendship but still, you sometimes cannot avoid it,” she wrote to me, and also that she had learned to stay true to herself and not try to maintain the friendship at all cost. That she was allowed to have her faults and if that resulted in estrangement she would have to accept that, “Because life is too precious to do things you do not want to do and to share opinions you do not really support, just to keep a friendship” , she wrote. Many people my age have been hurt by others too often and, therefore, do not easily make new friends. That’s a pity. If only because it is wonderful to chat on the phone for hours on end with a friend. “Many don’t have the time anymore, “ said a girl friend from America regretfully when I spoke to her by phone. “They are too busy with other things and forget the people around them... It’s a shame, but it’s really their own loss, because it’s questionable whether there will be any friends left when, eventually, they do make the time.”

Indeed, friendship is fragile, as Randolph S. Bourne said. It can suddenly break. But it is so satisfying when a conflict is successfully resolved and the friendship continues, as a friend told me after she felt hurt by a friend and decided to talk it over with him. The beauty was: the man listened to her and he didn’t feel attacked, took her complaint seriously, and asked how they could resolve the matter. Because of his attitude and their talk they were able to save and continue their friendship. Friendship is like a burning candle: You can warm yourself by its flame, but sometimes you can burn yourself, too. The candle may have a beautiful, stable flame, but the flame could also flicker or die down. Sometimes it is better if the flame is extinguished, but sometimes, after a short flicker, the flame gains strength and stability, and gives more warmth and light.

What is friendship?

Friendship is so very special.

Friendship means to me

talking together, listening together

laughing together, whispering together.

Supporting each other in sorrow

With a bouquet of “Forget-Me-Nots"

Sharing in each other’s happiness

That is solid friendship

(Anonymous)

Friendship is important. Aggie and Lemon held their friendship together because they forgot their fights. With humans it’s different and sometimes it’s better to permanently end a friendship. However, so as to not become bitter, it is important for ex-friends to remember the many hours shared and not forget the reasons you once became friends.

This column partly came to be as a result of the phone and mail discussions I had with friends about friendship. Through them and our talks I once again realized how important and valuable friendship is, that friendship doesn’t need to be an illusion, and that true friendship really does exist.

Text: Dini Commandeur Translation Maria O’Neill


 

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