How Many Friends Is “Normal”?

When we live too much in the imaginary world of TV, movies, and social media, we start to believe that fantasy is reality.

Take friendship, for example.

harvesters sisters girls friends picking grapes steve henderson art

Each in her own way, according to her ability, but together. The Harvesters, art print from Steve Henderson Collections

In the land of myths, six to eight young, attractive, witty men and women regularly interact without anyone ever having to go to work, clean the toilets, or wash dishes. They just flow from one fun situation to the next, tossing out one liners and being close and supportive and connected.

Those without seven close friends orbiting about on a 24-hour basis start to think there’s something wrong with us. Why doesn’t our life look like it does on TV?

Because TV isn’t real, but our lives are. When we focus too much on the entertainment world’s voice, we forget the beauty, truth, goodness, and reality of what we have.

The artwork, The Harvesters, reminds us of this beauty. Two sisters join, each in her own way, to pick grapes under an arched portico. They are friends, true friends, because as family they share a bond that is unique, precious, and special. (And while yes, there are dysfunctional families, there are also many, many dysfunctional “friendships” — we just don’t focus on these.)

Because we are shuttled so early into schoolrooms of 30 other people all the same age, we pick up the impression that friendship is limited to our “peer group,” a group, as most of us readily concede, is as welcoming and supportive as a flock of chickens. (Ever heard of a pecking order?)

Family doesn’t count — not siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, parents, grandparents. Nor neighbors. Nor people we see every day with whom we share a welcoming smile. These can’t be friends, real friends, because they’re not all the same age, which, according to movie world, is a major requirement for friendship.

How limiting and absurd.

Friends come in all ages, from all backgrounds, and frequently so don’t fit our entertainment-derived definition of friendship that we don’t recognize them as such.

But if they care for us, and we care for them; and they’re there for us, and we’re there for them, well, they’re friends.

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. Posts complementing this one are

Movies Aren’t Real, but Real Life Is

Why Your Life on This Planet Means Something

Facebook Friends

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About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
This entry was posted in america, Culture, Daily Life, Encouragement, Family, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, Relationships, self-improvement, success and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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