Tuesday, 22 September 2015


“The most fatal disease of friendship is gradual decay, or dislike hourly increased by causes too slender for complaint, and too numerous for removal.” - Samuel Johnson

friend |frend| noun
A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
• a person who acts as a supporter of a cause, organisation, or country by giving financial or other help: Join the Friends of Guilford Free Library.
• a person who is not an enemy or who is on the same side: She was unsure whether he was friend or foe.
• a familiar or helpful thing: He settled for that old friend the compensation grant.
• (often as a polite form of address or in ironic reference) an acquaintance or a stranger one comes across: My friends, let me introduce myself.
• (Friend) a member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.
verb [ trans. ] archaic or poetic/literary
befriend (someone).
• add (someone) to a list of friends or contacts associated with a weblog or electronic list: I am friended by 29 people who I have not friended back.

be (or make) friends with: Be (or become) on good or affectionate terms with (someone).
a friend at court: A person in a position to use their influence on one's behalf.
a friend in need is a friend indeed (proverb): A person who helps at a difficult time is a truly reliable person.
friends in high places: People in senior positions who are able and willing to use their influence on one's behalf.
friendless |ˌfrɛn(d)ləs| adjective
ORIGIN Old English frēond, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vriend and German Freund, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘to love,’ shared by free.

I was reading an old letter from a friend yesterday and I was impressed by the depth of feeling expressed in it. I sat back and thought carefully about my present relationship with this person. - And the term “waning” came into my mind, which I remembered as one of the things that I had been taught about in my old psychology classes about relationships.

Friendship according to the psychologists can be “nascent” – being born; “active” – in its most developed part; and lastly “waning” – petering out as the road parts for the two former friends. Obviously this differentiation will be different for each of our friendships and it can stop at any stage. A nascent friendship will often go no further as we get to know the person we are befriending and not like what we see (or vice-versa!), Or an active friendship may last the rest of our lives. It's the waning aspect that puzzled me yesterday, especially considering the depth of friendship that I had shared with the writer of the letter.

Trying to apply the theory behind human relationships that I learnt in psychology into the practicality of my own life is something that I have never actively tried to do. I have always seemed to know instinctively what “felt” right at the time and have acted accordingly, and thankfully I have not made many decisions that I have subsequently regretted

But this old letter brought to the fore an often recurring theme in my experience and I guess it must be the same in other people’s experience also… We befriend someone and for some time we may share so much, but then inexplicably, the relationship “wanes” and may completely disappear into nothing but a memory. Why? I analysed the relationship I had with this person and could find no fault with what I had done. After a couple of unanswered emails, one assumes that the person no longer wishes to continue communicating.

Is it the times we live in? Is it to do with people’s expectations of one another person nowadays? Is it to do with the sort of person that each of us attracts? Is it ennui, do we tire of that person that we thought so engaging not that long ago?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post and I know I have had conversations about this. I think expectations have changed. Friendship now is networking and has a use by date.Real friendship I would say is rare like anything else which is valuable. Unbalanced friendship like any relationship inevitably wanes e.g where one initiates all the contact.

    If a person wants to be part of your life they will make an obvious effort to do so Think twice before reserving a space in your heart for people who do not wish to stay.