Sunday, May 8, 2005

To fight with your friend

Sharing without reserve is perhaps the sign of a true friendship. When you feel real emotions for someone, his opinions and ideas, and you stop holding these feelings back for the sake of courtesy or because you do not feel you know that someone well enough. When you don't just laugh and cry with that person, but you share the whole spectrum of feelings, in earnest. Perhaps then you really know.

I got into a fight today. Not a physical one, and not a serious one. But an important one. My friend and I were fighting over something quite trivial, something that can probably be put down to a difference in taste. But what I think actually happened was that after a few years of getting to know me, and listening to my incessant insistence that my taste in this particular matter had more merit to it, my friend finally let go a little and pointed out the arrogance of such behavior. He said he was frankly tired of it. Which is really quite understandable. But it was not clear to me until we had fought over it. And I had had a little time to realize that he was right.

This is how this little tussle made me realize that I have a friend in this man. A real one. And here is how I know that I return the favor, that I truly am a friend of his: I felt I could not let it sit that way. It wasn't like an angry exchange of words you have with a stranger, which you can just shrug off. No. I needed to put it right. Set it straight. I needed us to be okay again. So after he had gone, I went after him. And he graciously gave me his time. Let down his defenses. Listened. And allowed me to repair the damage. Well, it was more like a little dent, really. A fender-bender is probably the appropriate term. But he let me make a fuss and thus feel better about the affair.

Which I guess is what friends will do for each other.