It’s not a Gratitude List

– it was going to be, but when I sat down to type out the things I’m grateful for in this moment, the first thing which sprang to mind was the phrase: “The love of a good friend” and my internal censor screamed: “You can’t write that!

And then I thought: “Well, why the hell not?”

We have caged the word “love” in a romantic box which denies it free range. I am capable of loving my friends, and my friends are capable of loving me, and that love is not romantic or sexual or unrequited – it’s simply good old platonic love, pure and simple.

Isn’t it a shame that we can easily rave that we love a house, a book or a car, but not feel easy saying we are grateful for the love of a friend? Well, I think it’s a shame; and from now on, I’m not going to censor myself from saying it – though I do understand I may have to have some explanatory conversations along the way!

Of course, the ancient Greeks had a word for it – philia (φιλíα) – often translated as brotherly love, or comradeship. Obviously I prefer the second translation to the first! It doesn’t make much sense to talk about brotherly love when two female friends get together and bare their hearts, laugh, cry and hug.

It also doesn’t make us gay or bi; it just makes us close friends, supporting each other through good times and all the other times.

It seems fitting to end this post with a definitive statement:

This evening, I am grateful for the love of a good friend. 

I hope you have some φιλíα in your life, too.

thanks heart

13 Comments

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13 responses to “It’s not a Gratitude List

  1. Hurray for good friends. They are hard to come by but when you find one…love is certainly a fitting word.

    The Greeks really had this language thing mastered, didn’t they? So many of their words have woefully inadequate counterparts these days (at least in modern English)!

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    • Too true! 🙂

      Yes, a good friend can be even better than understanding family or an understanding partner, because the bonds which bind us to those can be tricky and loaded with history. I guess the same can be said of friends, too, but somehow my relationships with good friends seem simpler. Not perfect, mind, just simpler! 🙂

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  2. Hurray for friends who love us, and hurray for Love. I like it in all its iterations. I am most drawn to the word, “agape” love. Philia could denote sisterhood, you know, lol. My closest friends have always felt like sisters, and I am closer to them than I am to my own sister.

    At this point in my life, I am most drawn to Agape love.( agápē, modern Greek) It means unconditional love, selfless love, spiritual love, love for the whole world, love for strangers, love as seeing the good in someone despite their faults,(and without needing to keep them in your life) as a way of dealing with difficult people without building resentment.

    And hurray for gratitude lists. They saved my bacon many a time.

    Hope you’re having a good day. I’m on vacation and enjoying my change of scenery.

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    • You know, I almost used agape instead of philia, but reflected on my understanding of the two words and decided philia suited the situation best, even though agape with its connotations of unconditional love was very attractive 🙂

      It’s Saturday morning as I type this, and my day has only begun. I hope it’s just a nice, simple day, with no unexpected twists! A bit like a 60s sitcom: easygoing, sweet, almost boring in its predictability. That’s the sort of day I aspire to, these days!

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  3. I agree with you, I tell my best friend I love her. She deserves it and if people don’t get that, meh.. that’s their issue

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  4. Good friends are wonderful. As to that whole ‘gay’ thing, I ignore it. I often say to the girls at work (when I have said something quirky) “but you still love me hey”? And they just laugh.

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  5. Cal

    I tell my close girlfriends that I love them all the time. We say it in a playful way, when one of us has said something silly or geeky or funny, but I also say it at the end of a catch up or when I’m getting off the phone. I noticed a few years ago that we weren’t saying it much as we did in high school, so started reintroducing it, and now one of us always signs off with that. It’s nice being told you’re loved by someone who’s not a boy/girlfriend or your mum!

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