April 2018
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soul friendship


Quite a few of you (whom I've only met through LJ) are very important to me; I'd mourn if you left LJ (let's not even think about anything more drastic). But even though I feel a bond with you and consider you a close friend, I don't call you a soul friend -- though I hope to eventually get there. That really depends on your willingness.

Most people go through life never having had a soul friend. They often think they have (oh the times I've fought to restrain my eyes from rolling on hearing people say "I know what you mean, me and _______ are just like that!") but soul friendship requires more than most are willing to risk.

Soul friendship requires:
  • Love. Duh.
  • Permanence. This means that if I babysit your child and s/he runs out into the street while I'm distracted, gets hit by a car and dies, you're not allowed to just hate me and drop me from your life. You're allowed to hate me, but you have to work with me to get back to a loving relationship until we either get there or one of us dies. And vice versa -- no matter what you do to me, we have to continue an active relationship until death (and hopefully past it).
  • Trust and Honesty. This means two things: first, that we share our thoughts and feelings without 'prettying them up'; second, that we make the following commitment -- if I say something that hurts/offends you, you MUST tell me right away, and vice versa. Because it is on little offenses that rifts get their start.
  • Openness. This means that we seek to learn more about ourselves and seek to share that with each other, continually. Nothing is hidden; instead, we offer truths to each other freely. This is not a passive quality.
  • Willingness to Change. This means that you must be prepared to make some compromises and alter yourself in some ways to better fit the other. One of those ways is exploring the other's interests, even if they seem uninteresting to you at first. I'm lucky in that very little bores me: I have always found it fairly easy to develop a true interest in something my friend is passionate about. I'm usually not willing to bother for those who are not soul friends (or potentials), though, because I tend to obsess, and I try to limit my adoption of obsessions.
  • Sacrifice. By this I mean sacrificing your time, effort, and care for the other. Being willing to drop everything if the other has a need, even if that need is merely emotional, and even if that need means a whole lotta effort (like helping move).
  • Humility. This means dropping your pride and asking for what you want/need, and being willing to accept loving prodding in sensitive areas.

So far, I've never met anyone who was already at the point where they were ready to give all of that. And I haven't really had success with asking my friends to stretch themselves to that point (except for Ben, of course. He poured himself out for me, went from totally closed off to so open with me). I asked Kaylene: she agreed, but then discovered that she really wasn't ready. I asked Paula: the very idea scared her so much that she retreated even from the point of trust that we had gotten to. I asked Allison: and then I didn't follow through, partly because I'm lazy, partly because I wanted to test and see if she'd actually reach to me without me reaching first -- which was unfair because I'm the experienced one. I asked Kristy: and then I didn't follow through, for the same reasons as with Allison -- but also because I felt like she wasn't willing/able to sacrifice emotionally or be honest and open, since I faced her with blatant, honest need and she didn't react except to close down emotionally.

Now I'm scared to ask. Instead, I long to meet a new person who will already be ready; I won't have to try to convince her of the value of soul friendship, and she won't have to grow rapidly for my sake. In this matter, we'll fit together perfectly, and then we can help each other grow in other areas. It may be unrealistic, but it's what I want. And if only this girl lived nearby, too, for hugs and outings when needed. And maybe she does.... maybe that girl who has brushed by my life every now and then might be ready.

EDIT: I've gotten a lot of responses saying that it's harsh or unnatural to ask someone this, that it should naturally develop. I agree that the bond should develop naturally, but I'd be offering all that stuff I mentioned. I am capable of giving that; for me to actually give it is quite a gift, and I think the other person should be aware of the gift I'm giving them and willing to give it back. It's like a marriage; usually you get to know them and bond with them before you ask them to share the rest of your life. Proposing a deeper, more committed relationship is the next step, and is neither harsh nor unnatural, but an expression of love that believes it is stronger than death.

feelings: contemplative
sounds: Massive Attack: "What Your Soul Sings"
connecting: ,

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Comments
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individuality ══╣╠══
You suggest that if a person's child died and it was your fault that they should not only stick around but work at getting back to a loving caring relationship with you?
honesty
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
Yep. As if the guilty one was the other person's brother, other child, or parent. You wouldn't give up on a blood relationship, you don't give up on a soul relationship.
individuality ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
individuality ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
individuality ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
individuality ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
individuality ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
mabels ══╣╠══
I dont think you can just "ask" a person to reach that state with you...well, maybe in some cases you can, but I think "soul friendships" just develope. Then again, perhaps by asking and bringing the idea out on the table maybe your helping to open the door.

Of all my friends the only people I have a relationship like this with are my parents, my sister, and James. I know they are family, but no everyone is friends with thier family members.

There is only one other person in my life who could become a soul friend, but I think that might be hard since we live a few states seperated.
shimmering
belenen ══╣shimmering╠══
I'd be offering all that stuff I mentioned. I am capable of giving that; for me to actually give it is quite a gift, and I think the other person should be aware of the gift I'm giving them and willing to give it back.

Soul friendships don't ever just develop -- you can feel the bond without trying anything, but to make a commitment as deep as soul friendship, it has to be conscious.
mabels ══╣╠══
jedibubbles ══╣╠══
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF...THE COCK! No, really, we just went into the year of the rooster...sheesh, where's your brain? ^_^

Yes, well, we all know that I am horrible about bridging the gap between school and home. I have this wierd, self-defensive, out-of-sight-out-of-mind-don't-bring-them-up-cuz-it-hurts mentality. Even Kat and I have a different relationship here than there.
shimmering
belenen ══╣shimmering╠══
I love ya anyway, and I haven't given up on you. I'll wait as long as it takes.

(and maybe I'll get my lazy ass into gear)
shaybe ══╣╠══
wow
wow thats the best description of friendship ever.
vivacious
belenen ══╣vivacious╠══
Re: wow
*muah!*
inode_finder ══╣╠══
I had a "soul friend" years ago.
I miss her...

your right, a lot of people do not have a "soul friend"...
only a close "friend"....

Be safe...
gentle
belenen ══╣gentle╠══
It hurts when you're willing to give that deeply and they aren't.
aligned by ?!
acid_burns ══╣aligned by ?!╠══
You can't just force someone into being a soul friend, because that's what asking kinda is. "Can I ask you to be my soul friend? Let's work on it and we'll be soul mates." That's the feeling I got. If it's there you don't have to ask. It just hits you in the face and you know straight away, You are my soul friend. We are perfectly aligned. I knew it the minute I met you.
gentle
belenen ══╣gentle╠══
Well, that's kinda like the love-at-first-sight thing -- sometimes it's love at first sight, you know straight away, and you both happen to be at the same level of development -- other times, you slowly fall in love, slowly get to know each other and mold to each other...

And no, you can't force someone into being a soul friend, but I don't think asking is forcing. First of all, I wouldn't ask someone that I didn't already FEEL that bond with, that soul-connection, to become soul-friends with me. But for the commitment of soul friendship, you both need to be aware and make a conscious decision, and that doesn't come without one of you asking.
xxxmcmccxxx ══╣╠══
i dont know,the hardest thing is losing a child. speaking from experience.
if that was the case im sure id forgive the person but it would take years to be back to where we were before
gentle
belenen ══╣gentle╠══
Many years, I'm sure... and I'm sorry to hear of your loss.
Phoenix Tattoo
phoenix__reborn ══╣Phoenix Tattoo╠══
That's really harsh to just ask people to be a soul friend. You shouldn't have to ask someone, it should just happen. To ask is unnatural, and from your recount, it seems like asking really isn't working for you either, on your and the other person's account.

I have a soul friend, we have been together since 1st grade, but we didn't realize we were meant to be together until just a couple of years ago, when we amended a past of confusion and manipulation by outside sources. We will never be perfectly happy with each other, but we will always be there for each other. And, hopefully, we won't have to deal with either of us killing the other's child, because although I like your sentiment, I don't think a friendship can truly hold together after something like that.
shimmering
belenen ══╣shimmering╠══
Harsh? You do realize I'd be offering all that stuff I mentioned. I am capable of giving that; for me to actually give it is quite a gift, and I think the other person should be aware of the gift I'm giving them and willing to give it back.

Asking has worked, permanently in the case of Ben and for a few months in the case of Kaylene. The reason it didn't work with the others is because the ability to give like that is rare.
aubkabob ══╣╠══
it's amazing how much time we almost waste, sometimes, in getting past the new friendship phase to get to the good stuff. it would be such a freaking relief to finally meet someone and just... click.
shimmering
belenen ══╣shimmering╠══
Yes, exactly.
shespoke ══╣╠══
Soul friendship sounds like such a wonderful concept. I think it's similar to what, in my mind I would consider a best friend. I don't just throw that term around just like I don't throw around the term soul mates. It's a connection and a bond, but at the core you have to be willing to give the qualities mentioned before anything can happen going towards that. Chris, is truly my soul mate. That boy would do anything for me, and I know no matter what we could work through anything. We're determined like that. We're completely honest with each other too. I would do anything for him and he for me. I use to have that type of friendship with another girl I mention from time to time on my diary. Her name is Mary Beth. We are going through the test of performance stage. I hope that we make it. Sometimes I don't think we're both trying, but then I find out that I'm really wrong. Oh well. Now I've rambled a lot on this post. Just wanted to let you know, that I'm pretty sure what you mean about longing for a friendship like that, as I have done so myself.
honesty
belenen ══╣honesty╠══
Yes, like a best friend except you can have more than one.... And your relationship with Chris sounds like a lovely, healthy one (very rare in this day and age, donchaknow) -- I'm happy for you!
misemifein2 ══╣╠══
Not much to say, just that I understand what you mean. I can see that there will be people like that. I've never been good at making friends at all, and that is the kind of friend I long for. It gets a bit complicated, and a little unsure, I'm a little uncertain, just on my thoughts. Bit too private to want to explain on a journal. I love being your friend anyway, whatever kind. All friends valued thing.
comfort
belenen ══╣comfort╠══
I love having you as my friend. ;-) Whatever kind. I've probably said it before, but I really want to spend a week or two in the same location with you, so that we can get to know each other. Maybe not now, but it could happen eventually, like in a year or something.

and that is the kind of friend I long for. It gets a bit complicated, and a little unsure, I'm a little uncertain, just on my thoughts. Bit too private to want to explain on a journal.
Did you mean on my journal 'cause it's unlocked, or on any journal? 'Cause I'd love for you to post about your thoughts/feelings on this.
misemifein2 ══╣╠══
eternitywaiting ══╣╠══
I know exactly what you're talking about. Goes along with the Soul Group thing I'm pretty sure I've mentioned to you....

And I suppose it does sound harsh to most people, but really...if you never ASK, never make it a vocally solid FACT that you're both after the same goals in the relationship, you'll never know where the other person stands. It's only fair to know that you're working towards the same goal in your friendship. :-)
garrulous
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I just can't understand how it could sound harsh to anyone, since it's not like I'm demanding all that and offering nothing in return, and it's not like I'm saying that to have any kind of relationship with me you have to do all that. What's harsh about it? Challenging or impossible for some, but harsh? I'm not being mean! Good grief! (sorry for the rant, your support made me all up in arms again)

It's only fair to know that you're working towards the same goal in your friendship.
Right, and to have a truly deep relationship you have to have worked that out, really.
reflection
sunshinepill ══╣reflection╠══
This is how I view true friendship. I've just never had anyone who was able to give the same way. And it's really hard for me not to give all of myself... even if the other person can't.
gentle
belenen ══╣gentle╠══
I hear ya babe, I'm the same way. I have quite a few soul-friendships that could be if the other one wanted to give that... but.
And their reluctance doesn't cancel my feelings/actions -- not even if they want it to.
ohsaycanyousay ══╣╠══
Your description of a "soul friendship" is beautiful. I think that sometimes I try too hard to find those qualities in every friend. I have one soul friend, my hubby, and one best friend. There are others in my life who I consider friends, but I see and talk to them infrequently. I need more close friends, but it's difficult to find them. It's hard to find people who understand when one is truly busy, and cannot meet or speak on the phone everyday. I need friends who aren't too needy.
gentle
belenen ══╣gentle╠══
it is difficult to be close when someone doesn't spend much time with you though... time is one of the building blocks of a relationship.
ohsaycanyousay ══╣╠══
darkpool ══╣╠══
I just wish I had a close friend right now. Your description sounds a lot like what we called in my youth group an accountability partner, only soul friend is a better word for it because it sounds much closer and less business like. I used to have a friend like that but distance and time have caused us to drift apart.
garrulous
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I used to have a friend like that but distance and time have caused us to drift apart.

Distance is a killer. It's so hard to connect with someone over space, especially if they aren't very good at keeping in touch. I have three friends who are very close to my heart but our realtionship is distant because we are. it SUCKS!

(what about thesaj? aren't you guys close friends?)
darkpool ══╣╠══
thesaj ══╣╠══
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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.