Finding Friends Haībun

01-c2a9-kathryn-forbes

Ranger and Monty © Kathryn Forbes 2013

I’m not the first to ever write about finding friends. And I won’t be the last. I looked at Goodreads quotes about friends, and they number 1071. I felt like the most noble of researchers just continuing to read past page one. Yes, folks, in your honor I actually read page 2! Whew, that’s 60 quotes. Here’s one gem from page 2:

I don’t suppose you have many friends. Neither do I. I don’t trust people who say they have a lot of friends. It’s a sure sign that they don’t really know anyone. — Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I know people who have facebook friends in the thousands. I also know that those people probably don’t hang out with all of those people every day. After all if you have about a 1000 friends, with 365 days in the year, even if you saw one friend a night, that would be almost 3 years before you managed to fit them in again for a second get-together. Of course, you could see them in big groups, but how much can you actually talk to someone in a big group? And is that friendship?

alone in a crowd
everyone else seems happy
what is wrong with me

A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. — Unknown

Okay, now that is some standard to live up to. Do any of us ever pour out all the contents of our hearts? I don’t. Not all in one go. If I did, I’m sure to never see the other person again. No one wants quite so much sharing all at once, it’s an emotional storm of neediness to overshare like that. It takes literally years to get to know someone well enough that you can pour out your heart. Even then, you only pour out the relevant crisis or whatever the current issue is, not about everything that may ever have happened to you since the beginning of time. A good friend can take that small outpouring, and they understand it in the context of having gotten to know you over the years, if you’re lucky. And yes, a good friend will ignore the chaff, and keep the grain.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. — Dale Carnegie

Here’s the kicker. You might be looking for a friend for your own needs, but so is everybody else. To really gain a friend, you have to care about them back. You can’t pour out your heart every time. You have to shut up and listen well. In fact, it’s better if you listen more than you pour out your own heart. For a talker like me, that can be hard. But setting aside my own issues is its own reward. It gives me a break from obsessing about my stuff, and listening lets me put my stuff into perspective: I’m not the only one with issues, am I? And it’s the path to actual connection, more than just acquaintance, but real friendship.

be that friend others want
learn to listen with support and love
friendship will be yours

The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are right. — Mark Twain

Now, I don’t know if Mark Twain had friends who would side with him when he was wrong. He was such a good talker, probably most people just agreed with whatever crazy thing he said. Like this one. Do I want my friends to let me do whatever bone-headed thing I want with no use of judgment on their part? In my case, no. God knows, my friends have to set me straight on issues sometimes, and I value their disagreement because it makes me really think things through. Friends can be counted on to keep you out of deep water by telling you when you are being bone-headed. I hate to disagree with Mark Twain, but clearly he needed to be disagreed with at times.

Why did I bother to collect all these quotes and share them? Why did I read to page 2 looking for the good stuff? Because making friends is one of the most important things you can ever do in your life. Real friends, not just people you see at a party, say hello to and then move on. People who actually stop and listen to you because you are the person they wanted to see. People who don’t just listen politely, and then cut you dead the next time you see them because they were secretly bored and are afraid you’ll really talk to them again. Friends think about what you’ve said, don’t judge, and then share in return so you don’t feel alone anymore. Friends call you up because they miss you or wonder how you are (not your mom).

when I was weary
you laid your cheek along mine
your warmth was my sun

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: Photo used with kind permission of, and post inspired by, the brand spanking new Haibun Thinking Writing Challenge’s photo prompt, Week 1. Any blogger can join in, please give it a whirl if you like reading these prose and poetry feasts of the senses. Follow the link if you feel like throwing a hat in the ring.

References:
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/friends?page=2
http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2007/10/10/43-most-insightful-friendship-quotes/

112 thoughts on “Finding Friends Haībun

  1. Aww, such a great post. Great friends definitely take time to make but are such a gem when you have them. And I also love the process of getting to know a new friend who you “just click” with upon meeting.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Sunday Brunch (#2) | Serenely Rapt
  3. Nice one – that reaches out. I thought you were a little tough on Mark Twain! I understood what you were saying, and you made a valid point. I think the last few words of that great quote you chose explained his position to the full. But you are so right about the friend throwing the arm over the shoulders. Such a warm piece in itself – the second haiku was particularly endearing.

    Like

    • I suppose I was hard on Mark Twain, LOL. I don’t imagine he would mind still being relevant all these years later. And that was where the muse took me. I do think being able to be honest and speak your mind is an important ingredient in real friendship, otherwise you have a leader and followers. Not equals.

      Like

      • Very true – goodness, the opposite is an unpleasant thought. I agree with him that there are a lot declaring their admiration when one is riding high. There are specific situations where loyalty might be prized (was thinking, and perhaps in a male context) in a tense encounter with another group, but if my friend was coming close to committing a crime, or war crime of some kind I could not stand by him or keep my mouth shut.

        Like

        • I do think it’s important to know where your heart is always, and listen to your own inner guides. Even in friendship, but that’s me. I always have to contemplate. I am a loyal person, though, over many bumps in the road.

          Like

  4. I like your thoughts on friendship and had a laugh when you wrote about what would happen is you unburden the entire contents of your heart to a friend in one session. How true.

    Like

  5. I find over time friends seem to change. I always wished to have them for a lifetime, but people move and eventually life gets in the way. You do have good advice on making friends, it is all about being a good friend and listening. Love that photo too. So cute.

    Like

    • It’s something to remember in this age of email and electronics: no one online can throw an arm over your shoulder when you’re having a bad day. But I can give a virtual hug! 🙂 Thanks for commenting! Brenda

      Like

    • Two is a good number, I think. It’s hard to keep up with too many, and too easy to lose track of someone when you have too many. You shouldn’t lose track of someone really close… It’s hard when people move around, though.

      Like

  6. Brenda, this is an extremely good post, and one I find so much truth in. I can list my “true” friends on one hand, but acquiances and other folks would be in the hundreds. But the fact is most of the folks I call friends, I am there for, and most are there for me as well, to their level of comfort. But going back to the handful. They are there for me no matter the level of comfort, just as I am for them. Great Post, take care, Bill

    Like

    • Isn’t friendship grand? I can’t imagine any consolation to the years sliding away better than the friends who stay with me. My kids just make them slide away faster!

      Like

    • The north wind is surely blowing here, and temps are 30 degrees below freezing. What a wonderful song, Paul. Boy, Carole King wrote the most beautiful, connected and wonderful poetry in her songs. “Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, All you have to do is call, and I’ll be there, Yes I will, You’ve got a friend.” She surely did know about friendship.

      Like

  7. Friendship – when we don’t have it we crave it. Growing up my sister was allowed to forge a lasting friendship – and I was not. Partly though because we moved so much that by that time of friendship making – most had made their bonds. Sometimes family can become friends. Other times not.
    There is a whole debate on weather parents should be parents first, then friends to their children. Sometime parents need to say ‘no’. Thank you for sharing wonderful quotes and joining this haibun prompt.
    The internet allows us all to expand our circle of writing and poetic friends – and for that I am also thankful.

    Like

    • Great thoughts on friendship, Jules. I agree parents need to be parents before friends, because no one else can do it. And kids need boundaries. We all need boundaries to feel safe.

      Like

      • I think now that our children are in their 30’s we can be ‘friends’. It would have been nice to be friends with other family members…but sometimes time and distance work against you. Family, I think we will always try to be their for them, but as you mentioned you can’t force the cards to play out the perfect poker hand – especially when not playing with a full deck in regards to those people you can’t control.

        Like

    • Charly, I hope you have one or two real friends. If not, start thinking about making some. They can save your life.

      A haibun is prose followed by poetry, usually a haiku. The prose can also be divided into sections with haiku as transitions. Both are Japanese forms of writing. They are often about nature. Our connections to nature or what we can learn from it.

      Peace and Joy, Brenda

      Like

      • About the friends, I have a couple dozen that literally will give their life for me. But I see them very little.

        About the poem, hey! I figured it was a Haiku but didn´t quite understand all that prose, it was beautiful don´t get me wrong. But I was just thinking what it had to do with Haibun, although it did cross my mind what you just said. So glad you specify it.

        Like

    • Me, too. I hold onto relationships and things. Once someone tried to snatch my briefcase out of my hand. I was with a friend, and he got my friend’s purse, but I just didn’t let go. I don’t let go. I think it’s part of my nature. It’s like looking at your finger nails, and seeing they look just like your father’s, but they are yours. It’s kind of surreal to look at your own nature so finely. You sound like a good friend to have. Blessings to you and yours, Brenda

      Like

  8. This was a great blog entry, and enjoyed:). I will say in all honesty that
    I’m not good at picking out friends at ALL. Either they are just too weird,
    needy or end up taking advantage of me…sometimes I wonder if something
    is wrong with me LOL!! I think at times I am such a perfectionist when
    it comes to having a friend…expecting them to be this way or that way.
    I also have a trusts issues, and the two closets people in my life now
    have given me reason for concern, so I have to watch what I say when
    it concerns my personal life.

    I have also let people go that had too many issues or I felt personally
    they were negative. It gets frustrating, and I personally feel that
    there is no compassion or empathy anymore with people, so maybe,
    I’ll just have acquaintances. Is that a fulfilling life, not really, but it’s
    better than doubting people and worrying that they are talking about
    you behind your back. I feel like I have to keep my distance because it
    all comes down to being hurt, and I am tired of dealing with it.

    Like

    • Darkmuze, you raise real, thorny issues. It’s difficult to trust, and perhaps it should be since you can’t trust everybody. But if you don’t ever trust or let someone close, then you shut off the potential for real connection, and that is the route to happiness according to everything I’ve read. When you have friends, sometimes it’s important to forgive and forget when things happen, and sometimes you have to realize they are human with frailties, faults, etc. I do agree that being choosy is important, but don’t slam the door shut entirely. I do hope you can find a friend who would be simpatico. We all need connection. Cheers, Brenda

      Like

  9. This was a beautiful post Brenda. I’ve noticed a very strange trend in the past few year. People want to be ‘given’, they don’t want to give. They want people to understand them, give them attention and love. But they don’t ever think of reciprocating. How on earth do they think people will keep giving when they get nothing in return?

    Please give me permission to reblog this, may I?

    I want to apologize for not being in touch and reading your posts. For the first time in my life I have suffered from a ‘reading block’. I haven’t been able to read at all neither online nor off. It is so very strange. Even now I can only take it in small dozes. Bear with me please.

    Stay blessed 🙂

    Like

    • Please reblog if you like, I will be pleased and honored.

      As for your reading block, reading is not a thing that should be forced. Perhaps you just need some space to hear your own thoughts. Sometimes I need that, too.

      Blessings to you and yours, Brenda

      Like

  10. Wonderful post. I actually like the Mark Twain quote. I don’t think he means that a friend will necessarily agree with you when you’re wrong, but they will be there for you, by your side. I’m sure we’ve ll been in situations when we’ve been in the minority, trying to make a point that in retrospect was very misinformed, and we remember those who tried to support us, even if at the time they might have thought we were off our rocker.

    Like

    • Yes, having your friends support you despite a minority or unpopular point of view is pretty key. But there’s a fine line there, where you want a friend to give you a reality check, make sure you aren’t totally out of perspective. Maybe you’re all riding in the crazy car together, and it’s best not to know. I saw one quote by Charlie Chaplin: if you’re in jail, a good friend is trying to bail you out, but a great friend is in the cell next door, saying that was awesome. LOL I laugh, but…

      Like

  11. Brenda,
    My guess, or personal interpretation of the quote from Mark Twain, was not that friends should agree with you when you are wrong, but will still love you and accept you- and yes, offer correction- when you have made a mess of things. I have a couple friends like that, and I value them greatly! Always enjoy your blog- and love the pic of the horses! 🙂

    Like

    • Yes, maybe that’s what he meant, and certainly I wouldn’t want my friend to drop me just because I got in a rant that perhaps was not well thought out. Not that that happens that often. LOL Ah, hem. It’s hard when a quote is taken out of its context to really evaluate it. But it was a useful stepping stone for something I wanted to explore. Thanks for voicing your opinion, I appreciate your time and thoughts. Peace and Joy, Brenda

      Like

      • Your welcome! Always enjoy your thoughts Brenda…hope I didn’t give you the idea your interpretation was in any way incorrect! Thanks for kindly receiving my opinion, and for visiting my blog. Peace and Joy back! Danese

        Like

        • Disagree at will, I am fine with it. 🙂 And you do have a point. I’m finding it fun to talk about friendship. I don’t know that I have really have before. Not in this depth.

          Like

    • Kismet. It’s a pretty important issue as you watch your kids grow up and struggle to learn how to be good friends and the boundaries of behavior. It was on my mind lately.

      Like

    • Isn’t that photo great? Those are a couple of happy horses. They must have a great relationship with the photographer, too, to present that behavior in front of her.

      Like

  12. Awww Brenda so happy to see you here. 🙂 I always love your haibun and this was is super special. Friendship is something very important to me and I was just emailing about how I feel its important to be loyal to those you care about. Beautiful haibun from a wonderful lady.

    Like

  13. Aw Brenda thankyou so much for going to those lengths to bring us these beautiful wise words on friendship, you are absolutely right, friendship must always be more give than take – if that is happening on both sides then there will be balance and the friendship will be healthy and endure. I also think the mark of an enduring friendship is that if circumstances throw friends apart for a while, they are always able to ‘pick up the threads’ again.
    Tons of blessings on the frienships you develop, sweetheart, and on your day, Bia 🙂

    Like

    • I have some wonderful friends, known for years, must talk to even though our lives have diverged. It’s helpful to remember when time is short, to listen, at least for a talker like me. And time is always short these days.

      Like

  14. Excellent Brenda and welcome to the Haibun Thinking challenge. You have provided us with such wonderful words to contemplate we all want friends but in reality have a few close ones. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Like

  15. This is a great post, Brenda. Thank you for joining in the first Haibun Thinking, and thank you for helping to make the first week a success.

    I liked the research you did for this, and how you formed the whole post. Excellent 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks, Al. I’ve been thinking about friendship a lot lately because of my kids, and their efforts to make friends in a world where their “friends” have smart phones, want to play games in all their free time, and don’t really talk anymore. It’s a hard world for young people, I didn’t have those barriers.

      Like

      • Friends nowadays tend to be from the other side of the globe. With this snapchat and also Facebook and Twitter they can talk to anyone. A lot of them find it easier to do that, so as a result become more reclusive. It will reach the stage where even teaching comes via the internet. Physical friends are a lot better though because you get that interaction

        Like

  16. I agree with you about the tons of friends. I have four close friends, two of which are closest. Those are relationships that span time and distance (incredible distance). I really don’t feel like I need any more than that, if it makes sense.

    Like

      • No, you didn’t make me sad (thanks for your concern). This week I came across old letters from friends no longer here. I threw so many things away as life moved on – I was surprised to find these letters. Lovely to read the words of old friends.
        Elephant

        Like

        • It’s sad that people no longer write letters. I have old letters, from years ago, but nothing since my kids were born, since email had already replaced letters. I treasure my old correspondence, and I have them in a memory box.

          Like

Comments welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s