“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’ ”
– C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I’ve always found friendship a tricky thing – I’ve watched other people quickly and easily slide into friendship in a matter of days, and wondered why
the process of ‘becoming friends’ always appears so daunting to me. It’d be simplistic and easy to blame it all on ‘extroversion’ and ‘introversion’ (me being the introvert, of course), but it’s more than that. I simply place too much emphasis on that magical moment of ‘connection.’
Look above at that quote. When I read that I realized C. S. Lewis had put into words what this ‘connection’ feels like in a way I’d never managed to myself. You know what it feels like when you’ve been acquainted with someone for years, and done all sorts of activities with them, but still don’t feel like you really know them? And then there are others you feel connected to right away? Because with some people you reach that ‘you too?’ moment right away, and some people you never do.
And that’s why some books feel like friends! We all want some evidence that our experience is not completely abnormal, and when an author can reach out and connect to us through the printed page, we might decide the book is a masterpiece. This, incidentally, might also explain why some of us absolutely love some books, while others cannot see what’s so great about them. All our lives are different.
I realized I found this ‘you too?’ moment so important in friendship because I was writing it all the time – when I wanted two of my characters to like each other, they had to find a moment of connection at some point during the plot. (They say introverts value this type of connection in relationships, and I guess I’m just more evidence of that!) And it irritated me in other books where characters were ‘such good friends’ or ‘so in love,’ when nowhere in the book did the two of them ever really talk.
Now, why did I say ‘too much emphasis’ on this connection up there at the beginning of this post? Because it’s easy to think I don’t have anything in common with someone, before I reach this ‘you too’ moment. When I’m staring at a stranger, I can’t imagine I’ll ever find anything in common with them. It’s too easy to give up on ever reaching the stage of a relationship known as ‘friendship.’ But most people are worth the effort – and the human experience is meant to be shared with others. I’ll end off with another C. S. Lewis quote:
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
So there you have it – what do you think of this definition of friendship, and do you think it rings true? Do you find it easy to make friends, or difficult?