The Fragility of Friendships

When one lives in the City of Washington, the assumption is nearly always made that your vocation is politics. This is not unreasonable given the fact that it is the nation’s capital and politics is the wellspring of what draws most people to this town. However, Washington is much more than just the seat of national governance; it is also a city of great culture, history, bad weather, and local dysfunction. It is a place where people live their individual lives, rear their children, suffer their sorrows, and forge friendships entirely separate and apart from whatever goes on (or doesn’t) in the Halls of Congress.

 

In other words, there are far more facets and identities to being a Washingtonian than simply politics.

 

It’s easy to lose sight of this baseline when so much attention is focused on the single element of politics in this town—especially with 2012 being a presidential election year. The reason I am saying all this is because I want to draw an analogy about friendship.

 

Previously, I have expressed my opinion that, in many ways, politics is the new dogma for many people who have been turned off by organized religion. I have also stated that I believe people need and want and are continually seeking out some Greater Cause in which to believe. Alas, all too often, this search seems to find a landing spot in politics. And thus, we return to the fire and brimstone sermons of yesteryear now dominated by political cant.

 

So it is with much earnestness that I caution you, be careful about jeopardizing friendships on the basis of a person’s political views. We are, each of us, far more than our politics! To malign and insult people because their views or priorities differ from ours utterly distorts and belittles all the qualities about them that we have admired over the years. It is absurd to try to relate to a person only on the basis of their politics. In fact, when you think about it, how much does politics actually play in our daily activities? While anything and everything can be made to seem political, is this an accurate representation?

 

What I’m trying to say is this: there will not be a single person on this planet with whom you will agree 100% of the time. And, to go further, they may hold certain views with which you vehemently disagree, but how much does that matter? How much will their views on one particular issue impact the way you go about living your daily life? Does this one person’s opinion become so important that you can no longer treat them with courtesy or respect? Are you prepared to make this the dividing line to eliminate a friendship with someone you like and admire and have a shared history on so many other fronts?

 

I pose these questions because adult friendships are fragile, precious things. If too many rocks are thrown, if treated too roughly, they can fracture and even shatter. A thing, once broken, is far harder to reassemble than it is to do (or refrain from doing) what is necessary to keep it intact. In most cases, maintaining health is far easier than overcoming illness.

 

How many real friendships do you even have?

 

Like the City of Washington, we have many different roles to play, many aspects that we can enjoy or grumble about, but we continue to live there because we love it. 

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One Response to “The Fragility of Friendships”

  1. helenga Says:

    Amen to that! Thank you for being such a wonderful voice of reason and focusing on the big picture and what’s really important.

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