“Man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.”
– W. S. Gilbert –



No, I seriously don’t think that quote by Gilbert is a fair one. As much as I like our funny simian cousins, especially in their natural habitat, I don’t believe that monkeys can define friendship the way we do; at least not consciously.

In my book, friendship is a relationship between two or more people who hold mutual affection among them. This mutual affection can be caused by lots of things. It can be caused by the needs to be able to trust someone, the needs to receive affection and sympathy, the needs to share ideas and experiences, and many others. However, there is one that I always think is the most important reason of all, and that’s the needs to be yourself, and thus to be able to express your feelings and make mistakes without having to fear judgement. As a matter of fact, considering its importance, I believe it should have been written this way:



You can never really feel anything totally alone, and consequently you can never really be yourself without the existence of others. And this point should be well respected within a friendship. There is no need for friends to share the same idea, or to share any similarity, for all that matters. An Arab and an Israeli can be friends regardless of their political and ideological differences, and even a cannibal and a vegetarian can be friends regardless of their culinary preferences, as long as each is less individualized and more aware of the other.


Some people tend to choose their friends among the people whom they consider similar to themselves, true. However, this shouldn’t always be the case. Such an exclusive attitude will limit one’s social, psychological, and emotional development. The true test of friendship is respect. Once you can respect other people’s different thought, attitude, look, breed, and any other, you are ready to be the best of friends.

Of course respecting doesn’t always mean agreeing. You don’t have to agree with your friend’s opinion to respect it, right? Even criticism, as long as it’s not for the sake of criticism alone, is a form of respect. Criticizing your friend’s opinion without prejudice is a sign that you respect his opinion so much that it deserves your different opinion. It is through this differences that we can learn from one another.

“What about online buddies?” one might ask. To this I will say that it’s not too different from the real world, as long as each and everyone involved is honest enough and able to leave prejudice behind. Online friendship is a friendship between thoughts, and thoughts represent the people. True, there are some phonies out there who claim to be what he is not, and thus misleading the others. After all, there is this classic internet adage which says “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” and until the online buddies actually meet, this is true. However, it is equally true in the real world. No one can truly share every thought, every emotional experience, with everybody. There are some degree of sharing, and in the end there some part of you that you want to keep for yourself. Everybody has at least four faces; one to be shown to everybody, one to be shown to personal friends, one to be shown to family members, and one to be shown only to himself. That’s what I call privacy, and that’s the one thing you’ll find really hard to share, even with your closest friend. Online or not, this privacy, this true self, will almost always remain hidden from everybody else. Of course, different people have different levels of privacy, and this should also be understood and respected.

Now, seeing that online friendship is not that different from the real world one, you only need to ask yourself this question “What should and should not I do to and with my friends?”, referring to your real-world friends, find your answer, and apply it to your online friendship. Remember, you don’t have to always share the same ideas to be friends. As I said before somewhere, if that was the case, I wouldn’t have any friend left. Quite the contrary, having a friend who is totally different from you will enrich your vision du monde.

One last thing, always remember that friendship is like peeing in your pants; everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.



Dedicated to all who have honored me by considering me a friend.


~ by edwinlives4ever on November 8, 2017.

4 Responses to “ON BEING FRIENDS”

  1. Reblogged this on Dream Big, Dream Often.

  2. Quite the contrary, having a friend who is totally different from you will enrich your vision du monde. ~> 🤔🤔🤔

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