In the absence of friendship rituals

The only formal dedications we normally make to each other in rituals, are dedications of marriage. We have contracts to shape our working relationships, but we don’t celebrate those, and they can prove fleeting. We do not have rituals of friendship. We may welcome someone into a group by initiating them, but that doesn’t happen in most contexts.

Dedication between people in a non-romantic context is a vital thing, I think. Friendship that is invested in for the long term has a very different impact on your life from transient, superficial acquaintance. We may pick people up at need, put them down when they no longer have what we want. We move on, change jobs, take up a different hobby, and the friendly thing we had going on with a person around that does not endure, because we were never that invested in them anyway.

When is it the right time to say to someone ‘I intend on being your friend for as long as we both shall live’? In the absence of any kind of social framework supporting such a declaration, it can seem pretty weird. It may even feel creepy or threatening to the person on the receiving end, simply because it’s not what normally happens.

If all our dedication goes into our romantic relationships, that can leave us really vulnerable. It is harder to spot toxic relationships when you don’t have any others for comparison. It is harder to function socially and emotionally when you don’t have multiple people who you can count on to be in your life. Friendship is an intensely rewarding thing, and people who are only looking for romance miss out on a lot, and can feel incredibly alone when not in a romantic relationship. At the same time, if we make the romantic relationship the main goal, we can put a lot of pressure on our partners. If we only dedicate to this relationship, we require our partners to be all things in all ways for us, and that’s demanding and difficult to live up to.

There’s so much good that can come out of investing in each other for the long term. We have so much power to support each other and enrich each other’s lives.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

3 responses to “In the absence of friendship rituals

  • Jen - Liminal Luminous

    ooh, this is such a good idea… I love it. It is hard to make friends as an adult, we have to make such an effort, but it is worth it. I would love a ritual to mark a couple of friendships I have

  • LadyColubrid

    I wonder what such a ritual would look like! I have a friendship with another druid that I’ve been cultivating over the last two years, and she is a beautiful supporter in our mutual quest to explore spirituality. Yesterday when I visited her I was thinking about this post, and I didn’t have a ritual. Instead I picked out two books from my shelf that I thought she would enjoy and lent them to her indefinitely– and I don’t tend to lend books to people without solid trust they will be in good care. Who knows if she understood the full significance, but she did appreciate that moment. I’ll keep looking for little ways to show appreciation in the same way that I do for my romantic partnership, and perhaps that will be good enough.

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