This I Believe

Dirk - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on June 7, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that the strength of any relationship is formed not from the time spent together, but the time spent apart. I believe that the best of friends can become acquaintances in a matter of months. This test of a relationship is crucial, as we quickly understand the way people work. A true friend, whether befriended in high school or college, will have the desire to keep in touch no matter how many miles are separating one another. I believe that a strong friendship doesn’t have to be serviced by monthly car trips, but by the occasional email or phone call. I believe the reason long distance relationships do not work out is the correspondence to one another becomes a chore, and the two people drift apart. But from every failed relationship, whether it be from an ex boyfriend/girlfriend, or an ex best friend, one learns how to better handle future relationships, and at the same time, a little about oneself. We take different approaches negotiating are day-to-day lives around our new acquaintances, in hopes that they can replace failed relationships. Though all new relationships have the benefit of the initial infatuation with one another, if one doesn’t learn anything from the previous failed relationship, history will be doomed to repeat itself. I believe that if one knows intuitively that a relationship is coming to an end, whether it be a teacher and a student, where the student goes off to college across the country, or a college graduate saying goodbye to friends and professors as they depart for careers half way across the world, honest closure is necessary, and in the words of Oscar Wilde, “A coward kills with a kiss, a brave man with a sword”. We have to say goodbye, knowing that our lives have become too busy to correspond with one more pin pal. The “good luck, be safe” and the insincere “keep in touch” are needed to a have sense that the relationship was meaningful, and in someway that person was impacted or shaped by something in the relationship. But I do believe that not all relationships fail, and the distance created is sometimes temporary and in the words of the prophet “let there be spaces in our togetherness”. One of the great pleasures is when one visits that friend or significant other after an extended period apart, and it is this idea of rekindling a lost friendship that is so unique. This feeling of friendships expanding as ones circle of friends grow, yet at the same time contract into shared memories and anecdotes that help to define our life. I believe this is best described by a quote from Catullus’ poem 46: “O sweet crowds of friends, goodbye, which (friends) having departed far away from home together, different roads bring back in different ways”. It is this feeling of friends spreading out in all directions and coming back together which gives us meaning, and makes the investment one puts into a friendship worthwhile.