To not be something is as important as being something. Who we are not defines us as much as who we are. Interactions between teenagers, although adults could be considered overgrown teenagers, expose this phenomenon most clearly. Generally groups are formed by the isolation of often one person, that other girl or boy. The one who is despised for x, y and z reasons becomes one of the main elements that dictate the sentiment of belonging. Disliking the outcast and all that s/he represents bonds those in the ‘accepted’ group. Indeed, the rejection of ideas, actions and things is a formative process, the negation of something being the formation of our identities.
This brings me to the subject of adult friendships. My father often says, ‘show me your friends, I will tell you who you are’. Likes attract likes, and although diversity is often celebrated in our society, close friends are a reflection of us. To be friends with you validates all that which I represent. In the extreme case, a friend who embodies our highest ideals, is a representation of our aspirations, that person we hope to be. This fusing of identities is comforting. It is a confirmation of sorts. What we believe in and most importantly, who we believe to be is re-confirmed by your befriending me.
As I write this, I think of each and every one of my friends. Friends that I have divorced, friends that are far away and with whom I still make an effort to skype and email, old friends, new friends, and those that have somehow disappeared for no specific reason other than time passing and other random life happenings over time. Diverse as each of my friends are, in the context of the concept of the confirmation of one’s identity through active friendships, I am able to see one commonality: we are all anomalies of sorts, each having strangely escaped any form of categorization. No, I am not saying that I am special, or that my friends are special. Albeit this, as I conjure each one of my close friends in my head, I see the very strange element that ties us. We refuse to believe in one thing and one thing alone. It is not a rebellious spirit of avoidance to be defined. We have each slipped through the cracks of normalcy. Often third (or fourth, fifth) culture children, multi-cultural and polyglot, I am bound, with gratitude, to each of my friends by the very fact that we cannot define our identities in a concise and logical way. Like this, I too am defined as an anomaly of sorts, through my frienships.