First off – I know I talk about friendship a lot. It’s just so important to me. Today I wanted to share about one of my favorite books, “The Four Loves” by CS Lewis. The book unpacks four different types of love – affection love, romantic love, friendship love and divine love.
I find myself thinking about the friendship chapter all the time, especially in my current season, which could be called the “Making Friends Chapter” of my life. As I sat down to write about the journey of making friends, I found myself revisiting quotes and idea from The Four Loves that I wanted to share today.
Overall, my making friends efforts are going pretty well, slowly but surely. I really enjoy spending time with the people I’ve met through my church, my job, Jake’s job, or Instagram, and feel very hopeful when I think about what our community might become in time.
When I first moved, I had moments of extreme loneliness. It wasn’t every single day or even every week, but every now and then it would hit me hard. In those moments, I had to fight bitterness and the idea that this emotional suffering wouldn’t exist if we had stayed in Virginia.
But the thing is, I had plenty of lonely days in Lynchburg, despite being surrounded by a community who knew me and loved me. I struggled with the same things I struggle with now – like discipline in my healthy choices and commitment to a morning quiet time or how to not eat dinner alone on a Friday night when everyone else in the world seems to have magnificent plans. So I have to recognize that friendship is not the end-all, be-all. Having deep friendships will not end the search for something better and it won’t ultimately fix or fill me.
CS Lewis kind of touches on that when he says,
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
Friendship is not the type of love that keeps humanity going. “Without Eros none of us would have been begotten and without Affection none of us would have been reared; but we can live and breed without Friendship.”
And yet, if we leave friendship out, we are lacking. Sure, it won’t fix or solve us, but it enhances our lives. And it’s something meant for everyone to enjoy.
One of my absolute favorite quotes from the book is when Lewis explains how friendship works outside of just two people, by using his own personal examples.
Lamb says somewhere that if, of three friends (A, B, and C), A should die, then B loses not only A but “A’s part in C,” while C loses not only A but “A’s part in B.”
In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all Ms facets.
Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald.
Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend.
Sometimes I worry that everyone in Colorado already has enough friends, and there’s no place for me. Social media can certainly make it seem that way, right? This chapter reminds me that in friendship, “to divide is not to take away.” Amongst shared interests, there is always room for more.
But where do you start making friends? That’s been another struggle of mine which Lewis touches on. You start with the people you have things in common with, watching it evolve from there.
Looking back on how I made friends in the past, it started with something we had in common – like our major in college, or the dorm we lived in, or the job position we shared. And from there, true meaningful friendships developed with a few members of that group, not everyone, but those who connected with me on other levels.
The Companionship was between people who were doing something together hunting, studying, painting or what you will. The Friends will still be doing something together, but something more inward, less widely shared and less easily defined; still hunters, but of some immaterial quarry; still collaborating, but in some work the world does not, or not yet, take account of; still travelling companions, but on a different kind of journey. Hence we picture lovers face to face but Friends side by side; their eyes look ahead.
I’m currently meeting people who share my interests – like going to church, but then I’m watching as friendship evolves when we connect in a deeper way, like being newlyweds in a new state, or blogging, or whatever else.
As I continue to seek out friendships, I’m less concerned with the quantity of people I meet, but instead the quality of our connection. And the only way I can know if I connect with someone is if I know who I am first, and what I’m interested in.
When I moved to North Carolina after graduating from college, I was so desperately lonely that I couldn’t seem to make any friends. I felt so lost without community that when I would meet with people, I didn’t know who I was, I had nothing about me that could shine through. I was just so desperate for friendship that I lost any ability to connect over other things.
This time around, I’ve been trying to stay true to myself. Some of the best advice I ever heard was when I lived in Charlotte talking to a friend from Virginia, lamenting how hard this season was and how lost I felt. She told me, “Do something every day that makes you feel like Lexie.” It was life changing. And now, in this season, whether or not I have people around to join me, I’m trying to take part in my own Lexie things. Like reading memoirs, blogging, working events, walking beautiful neighborhoods, drinking mocha lattes.
Lewis explains it like this,
That is why those pathetic people who simply “want friends” can never make any. The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be “I see nothing and I don’t care about the truth; I only want a Friend,” no Friendship can arise — though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice.
Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.
So I’m working on being fully myself in order to share the same truths with others. It’s taking some time, and that’s okay. And in all things, I am trying to see God’s involvement, because at the end of the day, despite all my efforts and intentions, I’m still pretty out of control. I’ll close with this quote,
In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting — any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.
I hope you enjoyed these quotes and thoughts – and if you decide to go get this book, I’d love to gush with you about our favorite parts and questions and share this experience
With love and friendship,