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-   -   Friends / Friendship.... (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2192)

River 02-22-2010 11:13 PM

Friends / Friendship....
 
No, seriously! I'm curious in a broad and general way about how people think about friends and friendship.

What makes for a good friendship?

How long does it take to become truly close friends?

How does non-romantic / sexual friendship compare and contrast with romantic and sexual relationships?

What is this whole "intimacy" thing?

How important is friendship to me/you ... and why?

Ask your own questions here -- or make some up and answer them. This is a broadly open topic on all things having to do with friends / friendship.

River 02-22-2010 11:20 PM

One need which I have with friends -- true friends -- is to feel that I'm really being listened to when I'm talking. Naturally, I want to be giving the same kind of respect and attention. But I notice that not all that many folks are good listeners. Instead of really listening, they're planning what they're going to be saying when I'm done talking, or interrupting me before I can express a complete thought, only to share THEIR opinion or perspective on the topic at hand.

Part of this may be that while I'm not myself a dope/pot/splif/420/weed smoker, a lot of folks around me are. Seriously! And the whacky weed takes already challenged attention spans and thrusts them into ever tighter spaces ... which are ripe for tangential meanderings with no apparent thread--however thin--connnecting to the root branch.... If you don't know what I mean, you may want to cut back a little. ;)

MonoVCPHG 02-22-2010 11:36 PM

I hope Redpepper adds her thoughts to this thread. Great topic and I will take some time to give it a proper response :)

Breathesgirl 02-23-2010 12:11 AM

First off great topic!

Second: In my view every single person on the face of this planet is polyamorous in some form or fashion, whether they'll admit it or not. Those of us who have close friends and chosen family, we're polyamorous. About the only way one wouldn't be is if they are a hermit living way out in the woods and has never met another human being aside from birth or adopted family.

Third: Friendships are important to me. I love it when someone takes time out of a busy day to text me a smile, send me a quick email, call just to see how I'm doing. This doesn't happen very often since i'm extremelly selective when it comes to friends and chosen family.

Intimacy doesn't necessarily have to lead to romance &/or sex. Intimacy can be simply cuddling on the couch watching a movie, a quick hug or a friendly peck on the cheek. To me they are separate entities.

It's supper & cuddle time! WOOT!

MonoVCPHG 02-23-2010 12:56 AM

Most of the people I interact with are thought of more as acquaintances. These are the people I work with and socialize with. There are few people that create an emotional response to when I think of the word "friend". Most are only on my mind when I am physically in their presence. Out of sight, out of mind.

I don't share an ideal of everyone being connected although I do feel a sense that we should look out for each other. I associate polyamorous relationships with sex so I don't think of any of my acquittance's as poly relationships.

I don't require much from my friends; good, light hearted banter and perhaps a more philosophical life discussion when some one wants. I don't need a lot of friends but do like to be in public places with people around me. I am relatively guarded but when I do open up I hold very little back. I don't form deep bonds very often and when I do it's usually with one person even in a platonic sense. Friends are very fluid and mostly surface relationships.

My life is very simple in regards to my friends. I stay out of their business unless they ask for help and expect them to stay out of mine unless I am obviously doing something harmful to myself or to someone else. I do like to help them in many ways (building stuff, etc) but don't want help very often. I like doing things on my own. Perhaps this is because I usually defer control if I think some one knows more than me?

I have always used the word "intimacy" as one reserved for sexual partners but that is a bit blurry now as I have a much deeper connection to Polynerdist than friendship. Brotherly could apply I think.

River 02-23-2010 05:11 PM

Thanks, Mono- and Breathes-.

When I look back at my personal history of friendships, I realize that I have not been--until more recently--particularly good at forming loving friendship bonds--which differ, of course, from "buddies" with whom I'd do stuff like play pool, go on bicycle rides, go camping or hiking.... You can have such a buddy who is also a close friend, but more often I think I have mostly had buddies.

Part of it may have to do with the pattern established in childhoood as a result of moving around a lot, leaving my friends behind. Sometimes, I'd occasionally get together with an old friend with whom I was especially close. His mother or father would drive him the long distance to visit and stay a night, then away they'd go and I wouldn't see him again for a long while. Those connections grew weaker over time and I wouldn't easily make new friends.

Part of my challenge with friendship probably has to do with my having been a shy, introverted kid with poor self-esteem largely related to some abuse and neglect from my parents. Mother was abusive at times. Dad just wasn't interested in or capable of being close with me in the way I would have liked--most of the time. Healing from all of that took a long time -- to have come as far in healing as I have. But I still tend to have some sorts of challenges about forming close friendship bonds.

I have friends, and they very in the degree of intimacy and tenderness shared and felt. Sometimes friends have moved far away, and I have not kept up contact by phone or email or mail. One person I consider a close friend hardly ever calls or stops by, though I call from time to time and stop by now and then. But when we *are* together, he's quite affectionate and close -- even though we have a tendency to "bump heads" (argue) about this and that. Some of my friends I only see when I happen to find them at a cafe I frequent.

Many years ago, some stuff happened that severely wounded my capacity for trusting. That's been healing, has healed a lot. Maybe there will always be a scar in that place?

I "met" someone in this very forum almost a year ago with whom I've (we've) developed what seems to me a remarkable and very close friendship -- though he lives way over on the other side of the Atlantic, in England. Soon after we "met" in here we began "talking" to each other via gmail chat (live chat) pretty much every day for months, except for a few breaks while he was away at a meditation retreat or some such thing. We still "talk" in Gmail chat a lot -- perhaps averaging two or three times a week. We often go on for hours! or at least an hour. He's planning to fly over here come late summer ... and we're planning to go on a backpacking trip together, and spend lots of time together.

The funny thing is, this guy in England I've never met face-to-face is probably my closest friend! Apart from Kevin, my life-partner with whom I live. It's rather strange to feel and in fact be so close with so many miles of ocean between us. But there is no doubt that we're close, that we love one another, and that we share an intimate bond.

Ariakas 02-23-2010 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by River (Post 22765)
No, seriously! I'm curious in a broad and general way about how people think about friends and friendship.

What makes for a good friendship?

Friendship for me means honesty. Communication. And I find most important of all, the ability for it to be a two way relationship.

I am having difficulties with our ex, claiming to be my very best friend, but she won't open up about things. She expects me to but won't give that back.


Quote:

How long does it take to become truly close friends?
Close...too variable for me to answer. Good friends, I can usually tell within a couple of meetings if someone can be a friend...or even a potential lover. Both are separate but are tied very closely.

Quote:

How does non-romantic / sexual friendship compare and contrast with romantic and sexual relationships?
Not enough experience in this. Unfortunately most times I have had a sexual relationship, it turned romantic, even for a short time.

Quote:

What is this whole "intimacy" thing?
Intimacy for me is hard to define but I know when it is happening. Some of my most recent intimate moments were in the morning waking up with our ex and having her touch my hand, asking about scars, me rubbing her feet, touching the small of her back, smelling her hair.

With my wife it is the same but different, as there really isn't exploration left, we can be intimate simply snuggling on the sofa, holding hands in the chair, touching each others legs.

Quote:

How important is friendship to me/you ... and why?
If you had asked me 6 months ago, I would have said it isn't. I thought I could live without friendship. However, try going through a period where all of your friends suddenly leave town, you loose a lover to friendship and you are simply left by yourself in a world of acquaintances (my wife was with me, but that relationship is altogether different). Friendship to me in important, very important. That connection that carries you through the tough times that your spouse may not be able to. The alternate to talk to, to spend time with...

I will say this, friendship for me is a single edged sword. I find the word...almost negative coming from a womens mouth I am interested in. This is something I have to work with and understand, but hearing the dreaded words "you are a friend" is basically like seeing a door slam in my face. In my world growing up, when you hear that, any potential relationship beyond friendship is done. While I am friends with lots of women, and love them in their own ways, I am also rarely interested in women. I know I have to get past it and I am trying, but it still stings emotionally.

SchrodingersCat 02-23-2010 07:18 PM

The true friends in my life are the people I can go months without seeing and then get together with as though it were only yesterday.

They're the people I can "just be myself" around without worrying that they won't like me anymore. They're the people whom I love unconditionally, even when they're acting like boneheads...

For me, intimacy is wanting to share my innermost feelings with someone. I don't equate this with sexual intimacy. I'm emotionally intimate with my mom and my husband, but not necessarily with my best friends. I suspect the reason is that I'm independent and stubborn, so I just don't like to "lean" on too many people.

MonoVCPHG 02-23-2010 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by River (Post 22802)

The funny thing is, this guy in England I've never met face-to-face is probably my closest friend! Apart from Kevin, my life-partner with whom I live. It's rather strange to feel and in fact be so close with so many miles of ocean between us. But there is no doubt that we're close, that we love one another, and that we share an intimate bond.

Thanks for sharing this River..I bet I know who it is. Another strong influence and well spoken gentleman :)

MonoVCPHG 02-23-2010 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 22809)
The true friends in my life are the people I can go months without seeing and then get together with as though it were only yesterday.

.

Perfect! That is very much the way I am with those I consider really close friends.


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