Family vs. Friends

“He who hath many friends hath none.”
Aristotle

One’s life could be compared to a celestial body floating in space.
It lies at the center of concentric rings where relatives, friends and acquaintances orbit at various speeds and various distances.
But all do not move in the same orbits.
Friends often seem to gravitate closer to the epicenter than family members.

It might have something to do with the fact that friends are chosen, not imposed.

Families are basically rigid patriarchal entities ruled from the top down.
This system does not leave much room for dissent and tend to generate conflicts.
Friends on the other hand are not regulated by any kind of hierarchy.
There are independent companions not constrained by blood ties.

Due to years of unresolved issues, many people shun family and would rather turn to friends for emotional or (Heavens forbids) financial help.
Blood ties it seems are often tenuous and easily frayed.

DogFamilies tend to be judgmental; friends are not. They accept you as you are, warts and all. They don’t argue with you and are willing to lend a sympathetic ear to your problems. And they are more forgiving than parents or siblings.
Friends often become your chosen family, overshadowing your given family.

But friends before they become confidants are also subject to scrutiny.
They must pass some unwritten tests before moving from acquaintances to friends.

Everybody wants friends but kindred spirits are not readily available, and they are not for sale.
If they are, beware. They are only fair-weather playmates that will drop you at the slightest hint of trouble.

When it comes to friends, Marlene Dietrich said it best:

“It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” 

Choose your friends carefully, and like a good gardener tend to these friendships regularly by words, by deeds or by Canine Caviar.

Alain

Thanks to Pascal Gravier:

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