Stepping Out of the Useless Jaws of Comparison by Contemplating Friendship

There are many types of friends. Some people that you cross paths with take a long time to open up to you. Other people open up instantly and light your life up with a fire that goes out just as quickly. There are still others that you hardly talk to and yet, there is a closeness there that seems to make no sense,but it is as real as the floor beneath you. There are so many types of friends and connections that can happen.

I know I have been neglecting this blog, even though I tried to vow not to do that. Moving to a city means that there are a thousand different connections between myself and the world around me that I get to explore for the first time. I never lived in a place where I could easily take the bus to a different coffee shop every day, and keep that routine up for..well..I don’t even know yet. Probably ever.

That being said, I am ridiculously grateful for my friends. Everyone should be. The longer I live, the more I see patterns of friendship emerge. There are the friends that you have tension with where arguments are free to happen and fall away, there are friends that just seem to never have any tension or arguments with you, there are friends that step out of your life and into their own for a period of time; sometimes never coming back, other times coming back as if they never left.

Some friendships transcend time and space incredibly conveniently. They seem to embody the ideal of the puppy that never grows up. They are full of rich closeness and trust, and yet they never age or become jaded. They simply always exist in that wonderful state of joy whenever the two people are talking. Time spent apart does nothing to them, neither does distance. They have their own strange self-sustaining magic.

I notice that sometimes my brain, like the brain of everyone else, becomes caught up in comparisons. This or that person is smarter than me, prettier than me, luckier than me, whatever it may be. Or, this stir fry I am making is turning out horribly because the beets didn’t make it to that same texture they were at last time I used them, this wine is not as delicious as that other kind I had last week, this place is better than that place because of the weather, etc. Comparisons, comparisons, comparisons.

Thinking about and witnessing so many of my friendships lately is leading me to believe that it is really worth my time to try and catch these comparisons and step out of their grasp intentionally. Sure, the beets didn’t turn out the same way as last time, but the brown rice really took in a lot of flavor and the dish tastes delicious. Of course this place has different weather than that place, both types of weather are pretty interesting and unique. Maybe that person does have more intelligence about one thing than I do, but that’s cool, I can learn from them. These comparisons never serve to help anything.

That’s just it, perhaps. The act of comparing for the sake of making this moment seem inferior to another moment is just not a good idea. I mean, it’s the moment. It wins no matter what.

It is a trap that would be useful to step out of. There are some little traps that do not matter as much, but this seems like a big one. If I could count the number of times that my brain tricked me into stepping out of the moment today simply because of comparisons, well, it would be a rather large number.

Friendships are a great topic because everyone has them, and you can see how they illustrate the idea that things can be different without being any better or any worse than their counterparts. One friendship can look incredibly different than another, and that does not make it superior or inferior. For some reason, it is incredibly easy to see it with that particular topic in mind. Then, when we try to down-talk tonight’s dinner because of a comparison, we can remember how it feels to see the beautiful variety of our friendships, and remember how valuable it can be to step out of the jaws of comparison.