Tag Archives: best friend

Friends: All The Gold You Can Carry.

By: Chris Warren.

After completing a fairly large favor for a buddy (it involved my convenient status as a truck owner), he thanked me and said, “You are truly my best friend. You have supported me more…and done more than expected.” I’ve known this guy for thirty years. We have never kept score of who has done the most for whom. If one of us needed something, the other would come through with no preconditions. Some relationships cannot be fully quantified; it’s the unspoken and un-numerated vibe between two people that makes friends so special.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to notice the contradiction of more and more isolation in a time when we are more and more connected. These relationships, such as they are, take place almost entirely via the internet or cellphones, which is a big part of the problem. What can be seen in all the forlorn Tweets and Facebook posts are the results of trading quality for quantity. The bar has been lowered to the point where the definition of “friendship” includes dozens of people we are acquainted with to some degree but rarely see in person and in some cases have never met. There is such a thing as having too many friends.  It’s like a pirate plundering gold: Nice for what it is, but if you have more than you can carry, more doesn’t matter.friend friendship

There are less than six people in this world I consider my sincere, true friends. One of the things that makes us different is that we almost never communicate over the internet. We do talk on the phone or text a lot, but that is in addition to regularly meeting up face-to-face, not in place of it. I get a feeling of warmth and acceptance knowing a friend is excited to see me that cannot translated into an on line exchange.

One of the main barriers lonely people face is they usually don’t want to put any effort into friendships. They often claim they don’t have the time to invest in friendships due to family or work commitments. Being a good friend is more than just clicking “like” once in a while. A generation ago people also had families and jobs yet still found time for neighbors and friends and socializing. It’s not like personal obligations didn’t exist pre-Microsoft. The excuse is weak. Trucking my buddy’s stuff around in the cold, miserable rain was not my idea of an awesome weekend. Actually, it really sucked. I carved out the time and did it anyway because he matters to me. Great friendships are never effortless. Things are only as important as you want them to be.

I’ve lived my whole life under the principle that having a few tight friends I can always count on is better than many loose associates who maybe possibly will be there when you need them. Why there is so much isolation in a world where everyone and everything is electronically linked doesn’t matter to people who for whatever the reason cannot make any interpersonal connections, or worse, think the internet and whatever Dr. Phil is selling this week is a replacement for interpersonal connections.

It may not be possible to quantify friendship, but it is certainly possible to measure the effects of (or lack of) it. It’s been well researched and established that people with real, meaningful friends live longer and better. Self help books and television shows are a multi-billion dollar industry. Prescription drugs to treat mental health issues are so popular, there are commercials for them. The mental health & self-help cartel would go out of business if everyone would just get out and meet other people and their natural goodness run its course. I don’t need science to convince me of the value of friends. For thirty years I’ve been able to see and feel it for myself in every smile and hug.

This Blog Article Should Be A Blank Page.

By: Chris Warren

Writers by nature aren’t reserved about expressing themselves; this usually extends to our everyday, non-writer lives as well. Some articles come easier than others, but I always seem to find a topic that I can work with and turn into what I hope is thoughtful, positive, and relevant commentary. It’s rare for language to get the best of me, but when it happens outside the realm of writing there may be a higher purpose behind it.

The other day I attended a memorial service for a guy who died unexpectedly at an early age from a medical condition usually seen in patients decades older. I was only loosely acquainted with the deceased; he was a close friend of my best friend. My best buddy was broken over the loss and my presence at this service meant a lot to him. I’m very loyal to and protective of this particular friend. I would have attended a funeral for his third cousin’s babysitter’s cat if that’s what he wanted from me.

"I Will Do My Best" by Norman Rockwell, 1953.
“I Will Do My Best” by Norman Rockwell, 1953.

The event was going as expected until the Boy Scouts showed up. The departed was a leader for his son’s troop and the Scouts were there in freshly pressed, complete uniforms. By their appearance it was obvious that they had great respect for their leader. Every neckerchief was carefully rolled, every pin and patch was exactly placed. The smallest detail was cared for. They could have been a Norman Rockwell painting. Many of the parents attended also.

Watching the expressions on those crying kids’ faces and not being able to do a damn thing to help them was one of the hardest things I’ve had to push through in a very long time, maybe ever. The deceased’s young son was surprisingly composed, but I knew that he knew his life was never going to be the same. I wished I had the power to un-do all of their hurt.

I’ve spent my entire adult life studying words: Writing them, editing, changing, experimenting with them, learning how to manipulate them and make them do whatever I want. I’m the kind of guy who uses a dictionary and thesaurus daily and will spend thirty minutes fussing over the structure of one single sentence. I really wanted to put all the right words together. This time my command of the English language completely failed me.

After the service I could not bring myself to say anything more than small talk to my best friend of nearly three decades. Like a lost writer facing down a blank sheet of paper I kept digging in my mind for something insightful and brilliant that would lift him out of his sadness. The search came up empty, except for the realization that there are times when words cannot heal but being there and silently caring gives comfort to a pain that has no permanent cure. A writer’s job is always to have the right words. I had to concede that for this moment the right words were none at all. After the small talk I hugged him and excused myself to leave because my mission was complete. He did not need words. He just needed me.