Thursday, 6 May 2010


What do we mean by friendship? Can we be friends with all sorts of different people, even those whose values are not a 100% match to our own? What is the price of authenticity? 

I read an article recently according to which breaking off with a friend can be just as painful as breaking with a romantic partner. When friendships end, it seems there's often no real end to speak of, no closure. I've always felt that listening and offering support have been part of friendship. Someone I believe to be very wise recently told me that for her friendship means sharing her truth. She is a person who sees many things, but does not share them with people she knows less well. Sharing truth can be difficult, particularly when we know the other person will not agree or not want to hear. Where is the line between authenticity and sharing our truth and accepting other's truths and not being just plain antagonistic?

Answers on a postcard... ;o)


  1. well yes, we are friends with all sorts of people. How good a friend? Well, that's where the values factor comes in.
    Also, sharing truth is important in a friendship, but even with our best friends there are always some things you don't mention - for example your disapproval about something he/she is excited about. You let it run its course and support your friend through whatever it is.
    Could go on, but hey my postcard is out of space :)

  2. It's an interesting one. I think it depends on how important honesty is to you. My best friend Penny and I are very close purely because we both value honesty very highly. I remember the moment when I realised that I how great our friendship could potentially be. I felt I wanted to confess something to her which I was very embarrassed about. It took me ages to get it out and the minute I did she replied 'me too'. At that point I knew I could tell her anything. I have other friends who I can't be honest with, whether because I don't think they will understand my point of view or because I don't think they can handle the truth and I value those friendships much less because for me, being able to share myself at full volume and being accepted and valued for that, is extremely important.

  3. Wise people, it almost seems to me that you represent two quite different views. Until recently I have been much more a proponent of the first (reserve judgement and support). Then not so long ago I ended up in a situation where I began to feel complicit in a situation I genuinely believed was damaging a friend of mine. What if I had spoken out sooner? Possibly it would have made no difference to her and maybe even alienated us to a certain extent, but I may well have felt more true to myself. It's a tricky one I think. Thanks for your answers :o)