…Mr. Frodo, but I can carry you” is how the rest of these amazingly compelling words from Samwise Gamgee play out. I’m not really a crier, but it sort of makes me want to every time I contemplate the friendship of Frodo and Sam.
And now I dwell upon the different definitions of friendship between here and Middle Earth. Friendship defined by Tolkien is characterized in his books by one leaving his comfortable hobbit home at the drop of a hat, possibly to be massacred by orks, and continue onward towards a wonderful-sounding place called Mount Doom, thank you very much Mr. Frodo.
Friendship by 21st century standards goes more along the lines of volunteering to be the designated driver of the group when everyone else is too wasted to function.
I don’t have 50 “best” friends, and I’m kind of glad I don’t. For one, I don’t have the time or care to put all my energy into half-baked “friendships” that don’t go beyond the “I’m good, how are you? We should catch up sometime!” Indeed, the game of “catch up” that never actually happens. For another thing, 50 seems like too unreasonable an amount to put my trust in.
Over the past few months in my observations, I’ve noticed that a good amount of friendships are based on a give-and-take equation. Essentially, a little bit of my energy + what I think I’m able to get out of this relationship = friendship. I won’t call you friend just because I want a ride off-campus from you (which is a luxury in college). Likewise, don’t dare call me such when you find out that I know a thing or two about writing a literary analysis that would make your professors weep, which you need help with. Don’t tell me that I’m in your thoughts when I’m not, and I will return the favor by not speaking in flatteries. Honesty – it’s the best policy.
And don’t pretend that you’re availability is as unlimited as you’d like to say it is. In other words, I think the famous friendship quip “I’ll always be there for you” is far too overused. More often than not, I think it should be rephrased as “I’ll be there for you [when it’s convenient].” I have no interest in faux friendships. If I wanted something artificial, I’d eat a bowl of Fruit Loops. Say what you mean, mean what you say.
Would you drop your 6-month monthaversary plans to comfort a grieving friend? Press the pause button during midterms week just to catch up with an old friend who misses you? Contact your friend simply because and not because you needed anything from them? Text “I’m with a friend, I’ll talk to you later” to your boyfriend when you are indeed with a friend at that moment? Stay up all night with them despite how tired you already are? And do this the night before your birthday? Not that I’ve done that or anything…
If you answered yes to any of these things, I have hope in you. Hope that when worse comes to worse, you won’t slide into the shadows to seek out more appealing circumstances. I have hope that you’ll have the strength of a thousand to carry Frodo up the rest of the mountain.