As I have noted on this blog before, I have been very blessed with a wide variety of friends and a devoted family that really satisfy all the various needs of human companionship that I may have.* Given this social network, it seems a bit strange even to me that I am bothered by the lack of a significant other. After all, any spare social time that I have could always be spent developing closer relationships with my current friends. My nature being what it is, of course I had to analyze myself further.
I think ultimately, the limitation of friendship is that no matter how close a friend is, that person will not plan their life around you (maybe there are exceptions to this, but I am not aware of them). If career or spouse dictates that the friend do something else, then the friendship will quickly become long distance.** Only a significant other will really truly commit to “go where you go.” Any individual friend may be able to leave at any time.
To confess, I used to think the same way about our church community. I was close to a certain set of individuals in the church, and I thought that once those individuals left the church, I would leave also. I mentioned this once to a wise older friend of mine, and he pointed out that even if those individuals left, the community would still remain, and while of course each of the individuals is valuable on their own terms, the community was what was truly valuable.
Perhaps I should adopt this perspective for my set of friends-while any one of them may leave me at any time, it’s truly the community that is valuable, and so I need not be insecure that I do not have a single person who has made the lifetime commitment to myself.
That argument reassures me.
*Of course, as a Christian, I recognize that even if I were to lose all these friends and family, a la Job, my needs would be met by God the Father. But since that kinda goes without saying for Christians, this post will focus on human companionship.
**Family is more permanent, but for me equally long distance at this point.