The desire for intimacy and relationship is one of our most distinguishable characteristics as Humans. The happiest people alive are those who have cultivated strong relationships with friends who can build them up. It is not enough to have companions; we need true friends with whom we can share our dreams, our joy, our failures, and our insecurities. It is important to build a network of people around you who would reflect your values, goals, and ambitions. Our friends are more powerful influences on us than we might imagine.
But the question is how to find good friends? Good friends demonstrate the greatest capacity to trust others in their relationships. While most of us typically notice such factors as personality, looks, and status, the facts indicate the being a good friend is the key to getting good friends. You undoubtedly need the relationship, the moral support, the intellectual stimulation and the personal growth that comes from good friends with whom you share common values. But the paradox of rela friendship is that you get those benefits only when you give them away first.
We need to be told what we can be and not what we are right now. Friends challenge each other to grow, friends who sometimes give constructive criticism are considered to be the most closest ones. Criticism is simply the art of finding areas of weakness as well as areas of strength – criticism offered constructively is valuable commodity, as important as encouragement. Our relationships require more than just positive feedback. We often need improvement, and who will help us do that? If not our friends?
Friends hold each other accountable. If we don’t have a group of people who are keeping us accountable for reaching our goals and making our commitments, it is quite lucky that we wouldn’t develop our personal life. We can never become on our own what we can on with the help of others. If you choose to be alone and say “I,” then you are only compromising your ability to reach your potential. Is there anyone in your life who is aware of your personal goals and will challenge you to get on the ball?
However, there are times when these good friends allow bitterness and resentment to build inside you, simply because of lack of communication, and misunderstanding. Your ability to trust and to inspire confidence will be greatly crippled. You will find it difficult to establish intimacy and deep relationships. This is the time you will discover the destructive power of misunderstanding and miscommunication. We communicate not just through what we say and do but through how we say and do it. Some studies indicate that majority of our communication is nonverbal.
The slight movement of a hand, the posture of your body, the tenseness of your muscles, the subtle movement of your eyebrows, the slight variation of intonation in your voice and other countless things do play a great role in our communication with others. So we can hurt people we never intended to hurt in ways we never anticipated, therefore relationships can be a messy business and there must be some method of cleaning up thus the importance of understanding and forgiveness.
To sum up I would like to conclude with an idea of a friend who chose to be anonymous, he says: “I would rather have a million friends than a million dollars, for if I ever did get hard up, I know I would at least count on a dollar from each!!”
On 5/24/20, the US Embassy in Moscow celebrated Joseph Brodsky's 80th birthday with a collage of American poets reading his birthday poem "May 24, 1980" in the poet's self-translation. Chris Merrill, one of Brodsky's students, is among the readers.
Véronique TADJO (IWP ’06) discusses the renewed interest in publishing rights control among Francophone writers in Africa.
To mark Ireland’s corona-cancelled Leaving Cert graduation festivities, the poet Tom McCARTHY (IWP ’78) reads Paul Durcan’s elegy to side lines, “Sport.”
The lovely poem-a-day for May 14, 2020, “Journey,” is by the nomadic Lidija DIMKOVSKA (IWP ’05), translated from the Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Patricia Marsh Štefanovska.
Over at Harvard Review, poet Mary jo Bang glosses her translations from the German of Matthias Gőritz (IWP ’03).