Friendship is probably one of the highest expressions of what it means to be human.
To overcome differences that demand this or that and to find the third possibility for journeying together is a really amazing thing to be able to do.
Not everyone is able to do this, we know. It demands learning the skill or art of “making place for the other” in our lives, as Karen Armstrong describes it.
Seth Godin caught my attention with his condiment blog, in which he names his five favourite food condiments:
‘With nothing but these five condiments, I could happily eat beans, kale and rice for the rest of my days.’*
I’ll let you go to Godin’s blog to see what the five condiments are.
He got me thinking, though, about how people who become friends or offer friendship become the condiments that add flavour to our lives.
Condiments give rather than take.
Figuring out how we can be friends, or at least be friendly, is one of the biggest adventures we can engage in. Firstly, I offer some words from Margaret Meek that have become folklore, and then some words from Kio Stark that open up the possibilities for this in an everyday way – it’s a little bit nervy if you’re an introvert like me but it’s all a matter of scale:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only things that ever has.”
‘Talking to people I’ve never met before is my adventure. It’s my joy, my rebellion, my liberation. It’s how I live. When you talk with strangers, you make beautiful and surprising interruptions in the expected narrative of your daily life. You shift perspective. You form momentary, meaningful connections, You find questions whose answers you thought you knew. You reject the ideas that make us suspicious of each other.’**