When I was a kid, I thought my elementary school chums would be my friends for the rest of my life. Although I have kept in touch with several of them from high school, college, and post-college--eternal brother or sisterhood has whittled away with each passing year. Some of these shifts have happened because of distance or a job change--I moved to Colorado, then Los Angeles, Korea, and now back to Los Angeles--while others were simply a factor of perspective: What do you mean you don't care about Ross Perot? Let's go read PerezHilton! Can you honestly say that Obama will be more or less the same as George W.? Yes, my political and social views of society tend to be cautious at best. I don't feel like jumping when people tell me there are wagons passing, because a wagon trail can either circle or scatter with a single arrow. Maybe, that is why I sit on the fence to such a degree, that I even find myself being friends with people who see love or friendship with as much caution as I do.
"Relationships all end badly," one such friend said to me recently. "You will die alone in the end."
"I don't know about that," I said, on my perpetual barbed wire. "I am having a good time with the Sogee."
"Right, right," my friend continued. "Don't take my word for it."
Is it a familiarity with death that allows me to be so impartial? A "he knows death" like "Bo knows baseball" that keeps me from giving so much? Or is it simply a broken heart in the past or present?
You know, it's funny. People often think a broken heart comes from a relationship long ago, but it could just as well happen in any relationship you're having presently. You might have an adverse opinion to your partner when they give you the cold shoulder and stop chatting with you for three hours. You could even say something about Ross Perot that suddenly puts your high school chum at odds with bringing you to the family barbecue. In fact, it could be that friendship might shift most readily with the approval each of us may hope to gain by having such a friendship.
"He fits the mold of someone that would be my friend," your mind might say. "He looks like someone that would be my friend."
Such "shallow" thoughts may not be at the forefront of people's decision making, but it could very well be just under the surface if we lack the wherewithal to make such an introspection.
If I would garner a guess as to how "shallow" thoughts about relationships may take shape from the unconscious, I could point to someones external symbols of identity, such as a job, car, or hairstyle that signify some form of status: His Mohawk. Her belly button piercing. Their interest in shoplifting. Our interest in people behaving according to our interests.
Of course, we could be more scientific about our predilections and point a finger at pheromones and the scents of our partners or friends as also having a significant effect on who we choose to have in our lives. We could also shift into the New Age angle and acknowledge the idea that one is friends with an individual in order to learn something.
"When you are done learning from your partner, your relationship will end," a friend from Boulder once told me.
Regardless of the multifarious reasons we can hypothesize for repelling and attracting people in our lives, there still remains the simple fact that friendships dwindle with age. Our responsibilities and families restrict the time we can spend with the increasing number of individuals we may have in our lives. With phone bills on the rise and the cost of friendship being proportional to the amount of time one has, it is no wonder that we make friends from classroom, work, or online environments more so than in any other way.
If I were to make a guess as to the future, I would say a majority of our friends will be made via the Internet. We will be surfing our interests and meet like-minded individuals who reflect our personal states of mind. We might suddenly be into refurbishing a home interior and scrolling through HGTV.com, when a comrade-in-nails suddenly asks the question you were hoping to post: Do nails hurt trees? Then suddenly a friendship is born. You post seventeen messages back and forth. You make an appointment for an Internet tea. They call you on SKYPE. You have the tea in your hands. LO AND BEHOLD! Your tea cups are both County Crier floral teacup designs! How could it be possible! It's destiny!! It couldn't possibly be that your searches on Amazon offered you the same interests in Faux Florals and Candles (One-of-a-Kind Weddings), and these interests led you to the CUSTOMERS WHO BOUGHT THIS ALSO ENJOYED link to let you purchase teacups that were a product of your geographical upbringing in Miami, Florida, where floral teacups were the rage on Mother's Day in 2009 when Casa Diri's Floral Design had a sale. No! It is God at work, right?
We are flying in all sorts of weather, but what about the original question posed by my friend: Do all relationships end badly?
I would say relationships are a factor of our personal choices. If you want a friend, you will create an opportunity to make one. Whether this person will be open to exchanging fluids or handshakes, will be up to them; and--to a larger extent--the similar interests you might share. If you are in line with how you have been most successful at making friends, it would be in your best interest to seek out friends in those round tables associated with your interests. The Internet could be one road to take, but a workshop on screenwriting may be just as viable. In the end, you'll either continue to stay in touch as long as your schedules parallel each other, and other responsibilities/interests don't pull you away from one another.
As far as death ending all relationships, that does happen for the physical side of things. But I still remember many friends who have passed. That is how the relationship continues. I can even remember relationships with childhood chums I have since lost touch with due to life's roads and be inspired, angered, or joyed by the stick that flew in my eye from Jay's foot; or Sheba, the German Shepherd, that Lieutenant Forester kept around us kids for safety. I can remember all these moments. I can even write them down. There, on the page, and in my heart, these friendships will live.
I will talk more about love relationships tomorrow.