Mild pestering about the tiny details of your life, if done by someone close to you, can be quite comforting. Who better to remind you of your daily tasks when all you’re doing is having your head in the proverbial clouds, aiming to be in the presence of Zeus and his likes while more likely being turned away at the gate by St. Peter – in a muddle of all heavenly imagery, now the gatekeeper of Mount Olympus -, than a friend?

As with most bonds observed in nature, that between two people, which serves no inherent benefit other than the company and sometimes unrequested advice of the other, is purely instinctual. Perhaps it is safety in numbers, perhaps it is the longing to belong, to feel less isolated, the futile pursuit of being understood, or, if that’s impossible, merely tolerated, that leads us to look for such bonds wherever and whenever the slightest opportunity arises.

History offers plenty of great examples of friendships, as it does of betrayal and backstabbing. One can, however, not forego the first simply out of fear of the latter. Whenever friendships end, be it due to the simple passage of time and the different directions which evolving interests have taken or some sort of altercation, high-minded or otherwise, there is almost never a regret that the friendship has existed at all. For troubles borne by two are distinctly more tolerable than all that burden shouldered by a single man.

What the likes of Stalin must have felt, the emptiness, the loneliness, the pure absence of people to confide in without any fear, I can’t imagine. I am fortunate enough, however, not to have to imagine a support system made up of many different people, all responsible for the maintenance of a different part of my personality and all doing a splendid job, probably unbeknownst to them.

Whether in the pursuit of skepticism, mindless self-indulgence, or merely getting through my day relatively unscathed, I have friends with whom my questions resonate, friends who save me from myself and friends who keep me in check and who give me the proverbial kick in the ass if need be.

For that I am thankful.

I know that I like to muse that I “have no friends“. That is, however, as I have painfully found out, not the truth. My friends are real, they’re there and they do an excellent job. The lousy job is being done on my side. Grumpiness, oversensitivity, all thinly veiled in fake indifference, as well as unfounded anxiety, often keep me from enjoying the rich tapestry of friendships that has spun itself over the years with all of you, all over the globe.

If God is with the steadfast, I must congratulate you all on having the support of a very powerful (albeit most probably imaginary) friend, for if the very fact that you still keep the conversation going after so much less than commendable behaviour on my part as pertaining to the nursing of friendships and the kindling of our conversational fire, is not the definition of steadfastness, then I don’t know what is.

Thank you.

Decet amicitia colere.

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