Updated: Mar 6, 2022
Think of the people you hang out every now and then, the people who celebrate your birthday with you, and go to parties with. You do everything with them, but you feel like you do not have any friends. Your friendships do not feel real. Last night, one of my American friends schooled me on how friends should not make rude comments to each other. She had schooled me previously, too. In hindsight, I feel as if Americans put too much emphasis on how to be nice, how to be friends, what to do/not to do in relationships, what is appropriate to say, what is not, what is racist, what is not. They have always educated me on how to be better and nicer. Ironically, this is the same country where so many are anxious and depressed. This is the same country where very few have real friends. This is the same country where mental illness is the rule, not an exception. What, then, are we missing here? It is possible to be nice and yet not be nice. It is possible to do all things friends are stipulated to do yet not be friends. My friend says she feeds the homeless but that does not necessarily make her generous. It is possible to do the act and not mean it, just like It is possible for a woman to do the checklist of marriage yet not love her husband. Relationships are not contracts. You cannot establish a set of stipulations and hope to obtain a relationship. Not only is it possible for someone to fulfil the stipulations and not be your friend, but it is also possible for someone to be your friend and not fulfil the stipulations. The former is an example of fake friendship, which is what most people have. The later is an example of love manifested in friendship. Your dog may not fulfil the stipulations, but chances are it does love you. Therefore, quit legislating how people should act. Allow your friends freedom in your friendship. In fact, encourage freedom. Allow your friends to act however they want to. Don't be a tyrant. A contractual friendship is simply self-imposed slavery. It is fundamentally not friendship if there is no freedom in it. Perhaps, spontaneity is also an expression of love because it isn't corrupt with thoughts and motives. Don't corrupt that spontaneity with rules. Friendship doesn't have an algorithm. You know when the chatbot wants to be your friend.