I caught myself with a particular phrase in mind — you don't choose your friends.

Posted by Mikhail Tikhonov on April 22, 2020 · 3 mins read

I caught myself with a particular phrase in mind — “you don’t choose your friends”. That is what I intentionally wanted to be the main topic of this post, but given that I’m about to start a new “chapter” in my life, I also started to reflect on what friendship is and it changes over time.

I used to think, back in time, that friends are temporary, like a small society of the most enjoyable people you can find in your current community. And that position is totally comfortable, but leaves you very vulnerable to changes — with any significant change in your lifestyle you eventually stay alone. While I was generally normal, flowing inside one of the chapters of my life, this position was totally comfortable for me. Things changed when severe depression and anxiety struck. At that point, I felt very disconnected from friends, isolated, and by my old “theory,” I should’ve established new “friends” because the community changed significantly (I fell a year behind, wasn’t really talking to anyone for about six months and so on).

Now, reevaluating the idea of friendship in my head, I come to the conclusion that friends are independent of time and circumstances, and that they are kind of islands of stability in your life.

And under that reflection, I also came up with a different idea of how you become a friend with a person. I actually think that it’s more of a random process (random in that there are way too many hidden variables to consider it deterministic) of selecting a subset of your current surrounding. Or more accurately of the surroundings to which you are paying attention. You become friends from spending time, sharing emotions and life obstacles together; but in fact, you share, spend time and rely on some randomly selected persons you’re clicking with. So you really don’t have much control of who’s becoming your friend and who’s not. I think that if you will try to force friendship you will always feel it to be fake.

And under this way of consideration, I’ve also changed my view of time-limited friendship. I think you are able to remain friends as long as you still share what’s important. I will believe now that friendship is a bond that should be valued way more than I did, and that it actually can stay with you even if you and your friend are moving in opposite directions. You just have to pay attention and be regular. Just be close by, near, ready to help and up-to-date with your friend’s life. You have to fight to keep that bond, but from now on I think that it’s worth it.