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More on Friendship

As always, a book project has prompted me to solicit thoughts/ideas/reactions from various people; now, I’m thinking about–friendship. On 11/19/07, I posted an entry “On Writing and Friendship” with which there are also posted two comments about friendships.

Annie Unverzagt, a very special friend from the time we were graduate students in the mid-1960s, sent me her cherished copy of Gert & Frieda, by Anita Riggio (New York: Atheneum, 1990) along with her thoughts that she said I could post: Annie on friendship: This delightful children’s book tells a wonderful story about friendship. It seems to capture some essentials: emphathetic listening, acceptance of a friend’s quirks and differences, enabling a friend to find their strengths, supporting your friend in good times and bad. Our family–especially the girls–have always loved this book, mostly because of “hugging around the middle” concept. I suspect we are attracted to the humor and whimsy that underlie friendship. No one is taking here–it is a relationship of giving on both parts.

As I get older, I am most appreciative of the timeless quality in a good friendship. It does not seem to matter if you last visited together yesterday or many years ago. There is the caring and interest in your friend’s life and living that seems to transcend time, especially when feelings are mutual. You have moved beyond the level of getting something out of a relationship, even if it is only “does the person like me” to purely enjoying the opportunity to exchange in an atmosphere of acceptance.

I have always treasured loyalty as a time-tested strength of friendship. I suppose that is fruther refined to maintaining friendship without requiring anything in return. I think things are much trickier with political–or any other reason–friendships such as the one you are explaing in your book.

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