What Is Friendship?

Updated: 5 days ago

"Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer." - Ed Cunningham

Firstly, apologies for my long absence here - I haven't written a blog post for a long time ... for many reasons. I needed a creative break, to also embark on a personal, intimate journey. So while I might not have published recently, I still kept writing in my journals, reflecting on many topics of many natures. Writing has become a sacred part of me - something that I used to do when I was little, then somehow forgot about in a society of constant productivity (indulging in writing may not be seen and cultivated as one), and now luckily returned to in finding myself. There is one topic that has led me here - I felt a sense of anger around my past friendships, and thought it would be a productive way to transform this energy into a creative piece about friendships.


I had a fall out with a friend after I had to realize that we didn't share the same values and attitudes towards people. This person was quite condescending towards others, putting themselves above other people based on their salary, race, and ego. It was something I either didn't notice before or that didn't come out as strongly as before. In any case, it was quite disturbing and shocking, and I didn't know what to do. On top of that, this person lacked compassion in emotional topics. Even though I didn't and shouldn't have any expectations of how they should behave, their lack of actions, nevertheless, created a feeling of not being seen, understood, and supported by them. There were other incidents in which they chose other things, such as pleasure and men over our friendship, that overall too many factors spoke against this friendship, not to mention, that I wasn't happy at all. I had to make the experience that it was difficult to be friends with someone who doesn't do inner work and, therefore, projects onto others or reacts in an unconscious way not knowing its impacts on others.

We had an honest, open, and serious conversation before we ended our friendship. If we talk about values, these things would need time to change, if at all (knowing that I don't want and can change others), and also I doubted, maybe being pessimistic after all the past hurt, that even if things changed for the better, time still won't be a guarantee for a deep friendship. Am I friends with everyone spiritual? Am I friends with everyone of my own cultural background? Am I friends with everyone who carries my name? No. And even though I would call myself open, non-judgmental, and loving, I have learned - as long as I am not enlightened - that I have my boundaries and capacities, esp. in my close relationships.


In today's society of casual dating, Facebook friends, and empty loneliness being filled with external sensations and pleasures, we somehow crave for connection, and often, of any kind. When it comes to finding our significant other, for example, we tend to have a wish list or filter of red flags, as not everyone is a match and should have access to you (energetically and sexually). But when it comes to friends, we as the society seem to have different, or no, standards at all. We seem to define a friendship by its length ("Oh, I have known them for so many years!") or the happy moments we have shared together ("Let's meet up for brunch next week!"). While this may work for some, like casual dating, it may not for others, esp. for sensitive empaths like me.

Having travelled and lived in different countries, I learned that some friendships fade across locations, as if they can only thrive in that particular location. There's only a few I can call my closest friends, who not only stayed in touch with me across continents, but also were there for me during the darkest hours. These people are those rare gems, whom you would invite to your wedding or know they will pray for you when you are in hospital. As a teenager, you somehow paid more focus on the quantity of "friends" around you, but the wiser you get, you start to appreciate more the quality of your circle.


Not only because of some saying that you are the average of the people around you or that people around you will have an energetic impact on you, but also because life is more fun, nourishing, and richer with close friends. I heard society's opinion that some friends may be good for partying, others for deep conversations, and I agree that no one person can meet all your needs and interests. But what I have learned is that if you go for a drink with a close friend, it is much more enjoyable, exciting, and rewarding than going out with a casual friend, who may know how to party, but lacks deep connection.

Yes, I might be someone who generally enjoys and prefers deep connections than others. But I've also come to learn that time is limited, energy precious, and life fragile. I have started to value my time, attention, and energy, and I decided to stay true to what feels good for me. I won't do anyone a favor if I lower my standards and hang out with people I physically and emotionally don't enjoy. As we also know, we can only maintain and invest in so many relationships, so letting go of one that hasn't proven to be a good one, is a necessary act to liberate yourself and make space for something new and better.


It doesn't mean to be ungrateful or less understanding. Believe me, I had the utmost understanding for "friends" who failed to meet me in the middle, as I could see how their own inner topics, like the need for validation by men or their dominant ego, were driving their actions, words, and feelings. I am grateful for the seasonal friendships and encounters. It's only now that I am making a conscious effort to also speak for myself - enough trying to understand those, who couldn't give me what I myself gave, needed, and deserved. Enough feeling bad for standing up for myself, my needs, and values. Enough pretending that casual friendships are normal or serving when they are not. I am grateful for the lessons, for the time and experiences shared together, for the support and inspirations we exchanged, and at the same time, I am now committing to people who support me in my energy, wellbeing, and potential.

As October is a season of fall, a season of letting go just as the trees let go of dead leaves, I am now intending to let go of all the "friends" who

  • chose (random) men over our friendship

  • put themselves above others because of their race, money, and ego

  • weren't there for me during the darkest hours

  • only wanted my "happy" self while being negative themselves

  • didn't reach out even when I had

  • didn't respond or even say "thank you" after getting a gift

  • chose pleasure over connection

  • were driven by their ego rather than their heart

  • didn't do inner work to project on others and be driven by their unconsciousness

  • lacked compassion, understanding, and awareness

  • didn't respect my time

  • didn't honor my boundaries taking my kindness for granted

  • took more than they gave

  • didn't live what they say

  • intently hurt, disrespected, or discriminated me

  • were too selfish to think about our friendship

  • used me and my skills of compassion, active listening, support

  • dragged me down with their lower vibration of energy

  • didn't support me in my dreams feeling triggered and unfulfilled themselves

  • chose their comfort zone over loyalty

  • accused me for what they themselves did

  • betrayed me or stabbed me in the back

  • wouldn't meet me in the middle

  • never cared to really get to know me

  • ... and more!

Seeing this list, it is almost unbelievable to me what I have endured and accepted for so many years, because either this behavior in friendships is considered normal or I didn't dare to ask for something else. For a friendship that honors my whole being and supports my best self. Where respect, love, and connection are mutual. Where give-and-take is understood and lived. Where hearts connect over locations and screens. I guess because of all these bad experiences, I am cherishing my closest friends even more, for they show me how a friendship can look like and what is possible for us humans! Not the shallow, superficial, random acts of behaviors, but really deep, nourishing connection and love that we, ultimately, all long for and crave. We only need to discern and put in the work and ask for it.

This being said, I am, of course, by no means perfect and also take responsibility for my part in relationships. I also know that the topic around self-worth, that we are all dealing with to some extent, can influence the way I feel, perceive, and experience relationships. What others may not know, I have been working on myself for many years now, which can make a relationship quickly one-sided and challenging. So all I am asking is that both parties meet in the middle on a common ground, because this will serve as a basis for any potential misunderstandings or conflicts that can arise when humans are involved. If both parties are not committed to and are not leaning into this relationship, it will sooner or later dissolve and fade, just like any non-committed romantic relationship.


I truly believe we as humanity can move to the next level, not only on a universal scale, but also in our relationships. If half of the world is asleep and unconscious, so is everything that we do and experience, because it is us that is the vessel for everything. It will depend on us how deep and nourishing our relationships can go. Yes, maybe some are fine with half-hearted relationships as others enjoy casual dating, and I am no one to judge and teach how everyone should live their lives, I only know this way of living is not my own cup of tea and I sense that those casual dates and friends all want one thing - to feel good. Now do we want to get high quickly to feel good, but then fall with the urge to find the next high? Or live a healthy, sustainable, long-term life filled with relationships, work, leisure that truly enrich us?


We decide - whether we want to live like we and others always have, or whether we want to tap into the potential of life that is waiting for us. Know that any decision we take will have consequences, some deep down that we may only notice afterwards, so don't complain and know of our power to create your life. I now know of mine and use mine to create nourishing relationships around me, that will help me lead my best life, with people I deeply care about and who make my heart smile.


Much love x

Linh