Love is not immortal
This hub is not about romantic love (éros) but specifically about the love between friends (philia). Of course, lovers are also friends; friendship, like romance, is part of an ideal relationship between lovers.
In modern Greek 'philia’ means friendship - a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, the community, and that special partner in our life. It requires virtue, equality and familiarity. In ancient texts philos denoted a desire or enjoyment of activities between people. It is a general type of love.
Philia is mortal. People can be bosom friends for many years before one or both realizes on a good old rainy day that they are no longer in the comfort zone of a true friendship, but out of it and perhaps unable to free themselves from guilt and all those negative feelings one experiences in a dead relationship.
What/who are the major killers of a friendship?
- Different interests and goals,
- A shifting of position,
The list is long...
Keep in mind that relationships, whether negative or positive, intimate or completely impersonal, are part of life. The mortal part of it is our feelings and emotions - the factors that make relationships an obligation we have to deal with. The death of one kind of a relationship is in fact the beginning of a next kind. For example: Impersonal relationships end and turn into personal relationships or vice versa. Romantic love may end and turn into friendship or vice versa. People are always in some kind of a relationship with other living beings.
Distance and Absence
Moving to another town, or even to another country, is a common trend of events. The proverb ‘absence makes the heart grows fonder’ is not always applicable. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is most probably what really happens. Of course, friends may maintain their bonds, but their relationship will have a complete different nature.
A change of interests and goals
Best friends may work together for years towards the achievement of a mutual goal. Once the goal has been achieved, or even sooner, a friendship may die. Good and bad memories will determine the nature of the new relationship.
A shifting of position
One friend may enter a romantic relationship which allows no room for personal friends. It is, after all, a code of conduct, if not a rule, that friends should not become the fifth wheel of a marriage-cart.
A cord of friendship can disconnect when one friend in a working place gets appointed in a senior or completely different position. People conduct themselves according to the position they hold. The changes in their behaviour could become unbearable for the friend they've had in their previous position. Call the initial friendship false if you want, this is in fact the way the cookie crumbles.
So often friends betray each other in a moment of weakness. One may offend the other either intentionally or unintentionally in many ways, and the friendship dies like a person in a fatal car accident. Betrayal is the most obvious and common killer of relationships.
All people have one or three obstinate bad habits, such as procrastination, long-windedness, impulsiveness, impetuousness, stubbornness, a tendency to criticize, etcetera. Friends normally cover for each other - love is blind! One will try to compensate for the shortcomings of the other. But in the course of time the one who suffers the most will reach the end of their patience. Intolerance sets in and destroys the bond of friendship.
How does a friendship die?
In the case of distance and absence phillia, like any other love, may die slowly and naturally. Good memories, however, form a solid bridge that allows interaction from time to time. Regular reunions may save a friendship, though distance changes its nature.
Too often philia and other kinds of love die a horrible death. Killers of a friendship can be like cancer - a long, painful suffering. Friends may forgive each other their shortcomings seventy times seventy before the bond between them finally snaps.
Betrayal is like a fatal car accident – unexpected and quick. If a cord of relationship is not completely broken on impact, it will be severely damaged and eventually it will break.
What to do with a dead relationship?
Seeing a dead relationship in the same way we see a dead person/animal makes it easier for us to make the best decisions.
Of course, what is dead should be buried without delay and mourned for a while. Good memories will warm one's heart while bad memories will be painful.
The sooner we realize that life is a one-time experience and that love is just one of the many mortal aspects of life, the faster we will be able to move on and experience yet another unique relationship.
What is dead and buried should not prevent us from enjoying and appreciating our short existence on this beautiful planet. Contentment and happiness are the rewards of our choices.
- The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. ~ K. Chesterton
- Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart. ~ Washington Irving
- Friendship must never be buried under the weight of misunderstanding.~ Sri Chinmoy
- We all lose friends.. we lose them in death, to distance and over time. But even though they may be lost, hope is not. The key is to keep them in your heart, and when the time is right, you can pick up the friendship right where you left off. Even the lost find their way home when you leave the light on." ~ Amy Marie Walz
- We enjoy warmth because we have been cold. We appreciate light because we have been in darkness. By the same token, we can experience joy because we have known sadness. ~ David Weatherford
- There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. ~ Carl Jung
- Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts. You have to remember this when you find yourself at the beginning. ~ Sandra Bullock
© Martie Coetser
Updated: 04 October 2015