Friendship and the nature of bonding

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Friends
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ones. Basically, because Father Time eliminates a few every year; others move away and distance seems to erode our relationship.

The basis for friendship is not determined by agreement of opinions; whether it be political, religion or sexual similarities.

The bond of friendship is greater than any disagreements. Sickness and distance cannot erode the bond.

I’VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT DETERMINES A BOND. Here’s an example. A couple of months ago I was sitting at a table at McDonald’s in the local Walmart. As my custom, I was reading, writing, snacking, talking a little and watching.

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Suddenly a man scootered up and asked if he could join me. I agreed. About sixty years old, he was severely handicapped and was a quadriplegic. The waitress brought him a large coffee and a bowl of oatmeal. I watched with interest as he drank the coffee with a straw and spooned the cereal.

Amazingly we hit it off immediately. He told me what he did for a living and his family. I did the same. We bonded within fifteen minutes. I’ve tried to figure it out.

We were both white-but it has occurred before with an Asian and black and a Hispanic. Separately, of course. He was educated; so am I. He was in business; I’ve retired.

He was knowledgeable; so am I. He’s not religious; I am. He doesn’t give a hoot about sports; I love them.

You won’t believe what just happened. I was doing my usual bit at Walmart, when a man smiled at me. We communicated and I invited him over. His name is Donald, he’s black, has only one leg, he’s about 60 years old. I’m 90 and white.

He lost his leg because of diabetes. He had neuropathy. Me too. He had a lot of pain. I have weakness. He has arthritis in his hands. I don’t. We are glad to be alive. We wish each other a Happy Thanksgiving and hope to see each other again. Wow!!!

I’ve bonded with two men. One white, the other black. One a quadriplegic, the other with one leg. Both about 60. In spite of adversity both expressed gratitude for life.

History records the importance of friendship. Thomas Aquinas was inspired when he said, “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than real friendship.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote these words, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

I particularly appreciate the ancient historian Euripides. “One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.” However, I believe that often our relatives are also very good friends.

Back to my subject. What contributes to bonding. It’s certainly not race. I say it involves similarity of experiences.

Such as the Great Depression. Religious affiliation; Education similarities; Families; Jobs, etc.

A major component for bonding is having common interests. This includes experience, but it goes beyond them. It includes small items. Watching TV programs like football games and other sporting events becomes bonding.

Any activity that creates a common interest stimulates a friendship. I have several friends that I see them only occasionally; but the bond is as strong as when I first met them.

Individuals that have common failures or successes have a tendency to bond with one another. Seldom do individuals that have a habit of failure have a tendency to bond with a person who obviously is successful.

Perhaps the most significant quality in defending a bonding between two people is the word “intangibles.”   They are indistinct. No one can place their fingers on it or verbally grasp a definite word.

Several individuals that I asked about this issue just shrugged their shoulder. They didn’t know or just refused to share their thoughts with me.

I suggest that it just happens.

Finally, the basic analysis of the bonding issue seems to be based on INTANGIBLES.  For instance, what is the ambience in a casual meeting. Is it comfortable? Is it stressful? Do you want a second meeting?

Did the individual seem arrogant or have a know-it-all attitude? A comfortable feeling is essential for a future bonding. Again, age, race, education, or nationality are not a criterion for a bonding relationship.

Amen. Selah. So be it.

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