Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Few Thoughts on Friendship

A long time ago I read a great article about friendship. I don't remember where I read the article or really many of the details of the article, but what stuck with me about the article over the years was the description of our need for "refrigerator friends." It described refrigerator friends as being friends that you know well enough to let dig around in your fridge. Really see what is behind the door. See the moldy leftovers, see the juice spills that haven't been cleaned up. Help themselves to something to eat. Of course this is just an analogy to life. The need in our society for real, deep, meaningful relationships not just superficial, casual relationships. These relationships aren't easy to develop in our modern society, and I think we are missing out on the emotional and social support. I know I crave relationships like this.

I have spent almost half of my life in another state from my parents and family, so I like to think that I know the importance of refrigerator friends. For me those friends become more than just friends, they really are like family. Only you get to choose them, and, honestly, isn't that better? I have found that once a refrigerator friend, always a refrigerator friend. You can disagree or even fight, but you always know that person is still there for you. I've also learned that it takes a long time to develop that closeness. For me it is part time, part energy, part experiences together, part a indescribable connection, and mostly the common need and want for the relationship. I find many potential friends not open or able to get to the next level of friendship. I'm just as guilty of not always being open to allowing a friendship to advance to the next level. Mostly because of fear of rejection or maybe from an experience where I lose trust and pull back. Although I am probably more guilty of trying to rush to the refrigerator stage. I know it takes time. Something that is often difficult to find with little ones.
I hope my refrigerator friends and refrigerator friends-in-progress who are reading this know who they are.
The internet is an amazing thing. After writing this I thought I would quickly Google "Refrigerator Friends" and was amazed at what I found so easily! The article I read years ago popped up pretty fast (although you have to pay to access it!), plus the book Refrigerator Rights that the article was based on, AND a Refrigerator Rights Blog by the author. I'm going to find a copy of the book and add it to my ever-growing reading pile.

8 comments:

ames said...

so true! One of my main sources of depression is the fact that my refrigerator friends all moved away and I'm horrible at making new ones. I love those casual relationships where you can be exposed and if anything, just laugh about it together!

Dawn said...

This is so true. I would love to read that article. One of my good friends just left my house, and indeed, she did see the inside of my fridge. I was a little embarrassed but I know she will stick around even with my messy fridge. These kind of friendships are worth taking care of.

Penny said...

I am lucky to have a few of that type of friend :-) But as you point out - they take time to develop! One of them I've known since I was 2.

I'd like to make more. One of the disadvantages of online friends is the lack of opportunity to meet up and really, really become that sort of friend. I sense that a few of my online friends could be a refrigerator friend but we may never have the opportunity to find out. Or maybe I'm wrong.. maybe it is possible.

shokufeh said...

I'll have to read that article.
I was thinking about one of my friends recently and how I look forward to her visit to town, when she can pop over for a cup of tea and I don't have to worry about scrambling to pick up. I need more friends like that. Her brother, who was best friends with my brother, made a habit of digging around in our family's fridge, because it was so different from his.

Everyday Yogini said...

What a great post, Kristen! I miss my refrigerator friends and I hope that I am lucky enough to find a few more along the way as we make our way through the rest of Erick's career.

Valarie said...

Amen to that! This was a great post.

Kelly said...

Great post! I'd love to find that book to read. My mom always used to tell us that we could tell our true friends because they'd be the ones that could help themselves int he kitchen when over at our house.

Shannon said...

Love this post Kristen and I couldn't agree more...I know these types friends are a BIG need for me and I just don't feel complete without them. That being said, I think I'd feel pretty ok with helping myself to some organic treats from your family's fridge - and you are welcome to ice cream or brownies from ours any time!! :)