Post # 419        QUOTIDIAN FRIENDSHIPS (Redux)

The word, “friendship,” to us, denotes a relationship of mutual affection, between people, more intense than the status of friendly associates. It is inclusive of the mutual benefits of. assurance as to ego support, regular assurance of self-identity as well as physical support, the ability to exchange and understand, confidential or intimate thoughts, sincere empathy and a ready willingness to render assistance.

The assertion that man is a social animal, has been empirically demonstrated, over the millennia of his existence, and should require no supporting argument. While it is true that cooperative association with others is no longer required for survival purposes, as in the case of Early Man (defense, food, safety, joint enterprise), the existence of the relationship of friendship, is a proven, vital factor, in the healthy, social and emotional life of contemporary humankind.

There are traditionally, recognized categories of friends, “old friends” (ex., from a foreign country, from childhood, from college, from the “old neighborhood,” “both dating since childhood”), new friends,”(ex., new neighbors, newly joined organization or house of worship, new neighborhood, new co-workers or colleagues and newly introduced people. “Good friends,” or “Close friends” are subcategories of “friend” in which the relationship is virtually familial, in intimacy; these are usually, but not always, identified in the old friend category. It would generally appear, in any event, that a life which does not include friends is a lonely, insular and unfulfilling one.

We would propose an additional category of “friend,” (the main subject of this note), which is, in essence, a composite the benefits of old and new friends, which we have chosen to recognize as “quotidian.”  Such relationships are too often, undervalued, and wrongfully denied the deserved category “of good friend,” for reasons which we will treat in the next, succeeding, paragraph. These include, regular fellow commuters, babysitters, young mothers, with baby carriages who daily accompany other such young mothers, to the park, your regular dog walker (if applicable), the regular members of your carpool, your regular barber or beautician, your mailman and supermarket clerk (if the latter two have been performing regular services for you, consistently, for no less than one year.

It is inarguable, that the role which a “good friend” plays in one’s personal life, is the definitive factor in the awarding of such exemplary status. While we treasure our traditionally designated, “friends”, and acknowledge the vital role they play in the fulfillment of our life, yet, how often do we see them? The “quotidian friend” is seen and interacted with, conceivably, every day. The function the latter play in our lives, may be properly designated, by some, as small in nature; but it is a regularly expected or desired one. We believe that the salient features of this daily relationship are its emotional and psychological benefits. They serve as an assurance to us, of our assumed reality and our unchanged identity and consistently furnish, to us, an assurance of continued normalcy. Their daily regularity, consistent exchange of greetings, their well- wishing, their sincere inquiry as to family health, all play an important (and often overlooked and much undervalued) role in our lives. The regular performance of their expected routines, offer assurances of stability and normalcy, wherever, and whenever, needed.

Some years ago, we would travel, on a regular five- day basis, by from the suburbs, to Manhattan, by Long Island Road. As it happens, we would, habitually, sit in the same railroad car.  We observed, on a daily basis, the regular conduct of a card game, between a man we recognized as a neighbor, with the same, identical commuter. We understand that these two commuters, have, similarly, done the same for decades. There was always, little said between them, other than what was required by their game. It is our understanding that they knew each other’s first name, but little else. We noticed the relaxed and satisfied looks on their faces, as they cheerfully, commuted together, with cards in their hands. Although, little was ever spoken between the two, based upon their mutual trust and dedication to their, long-term, mutual relationship, we consider them qualified for the status of,  “good, quotidian friends”.



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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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