Have I Got a Friend in Me?

Alice O’Brien

Why do we want company? Why is it, that when we are distressed, excited or concerned, sometimes the only thing we crave is a friendly face, a caring hand, a lover’s touch?

This occurred to me as I sat at 5:47PM in a basement room in my college library. How wild, I know. It actually felt about 12pm, and the lack of natural light was worsening my already weary state. Far too hungover, violently consumed by the fear and furiously in denial of looming exams that symbiotically appeared more daunting and less promising with every single thought, I pondered; Do we crave another to escape ourselves?

I like me. I think I’m a fairly rad chick, as 2018 chicks go in general. I like spending time on my own and I don’t find silence scary. However, when push comes to pull, I know I feel more content with friends, more loved with others and more special in company. I don’t think this makes me insecure, or at least I don’t believe that it means I am uncomfortable in myself or in my character. I just like people and I like when people like me. Kapisch.

As a twenty-something female in particular, I feel society consistently perpetuates the mantra that we should aim to be fully content with ourselves and only ourselves full stop. Heaven forbid we look anywhere else for serenity or solace, be it in a friend or someone special. But why should we feel at one with just being one? For us to seek another is a sign of insecurity, a red flag for one veiled in self-doubt. Personally, that appears an alien concept. I don’t think it is wrong to like having people around, to feel happy when you make someone special smile, to actually just love feeling loved. I think that’s just natural. Humans have never been lone wolves, we are social creatures.

It could be the needy warped hungover animal within poking its head threw, but I don’t think Randy Newman was referring to his internal self when he sang you’ve got a friend in me.

As a culture, we have moved galaxies beyond the rom com orientated age where the man and sundressed lady would kiss in lieu of credits against a rainy starry night. However, it seems the universe where individuals prefer companionship, in whatever form tickles their fancy, as opposed to being alone has been swallowed whole by a big black hole. Now, we live in an age where the singleton is victorious. When did teams stop winning, and individuals take over the throne?

Those who don’t want another are seen to be at the peak of the nonchalant ladder, they’re the popular kids at the cool table, the kings and queens of this new age social hierarchy.

Do I admire those who find solace in themselves more than I admire duos? If I am really honest, I do not know. But logically, I also don’t know why I would. Why would I attribute social status to a person who places no worth in making someone laugh, but rather in observing the world in isolation? I can put myself in any situation and if I imagine my best friend there, the room is becomes instantly brighter, my smile grows electrically bigger and my eyes see the room in a more sparkly, hopeful light. I wish I could crawl inside the psyche of the person who doesn’t feel that, and compare our brains until I know what makes them tick. You see, this long winded spiel isn’t a pitiful grapple to become at peace with my adoration of company, it is an honest query wondering why I feel this way and others simply do not.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think relationships and friendships are the be all and end all. They definitely are not paramount to some, and are most certainly not my cup of tea when turned sour, but they are truly so lovely when they are in fact lovely. They bear fruit that you just can’t produce on your own. They can make you feel warm at times when everything else might make you feel cold. They make you feel fluffy. They aren’t fundamental to the extent that Maslow should immediately throw them on the top of his infamous pyramid but for me at least, they are crucial to living a full, vibrant, heartbreakingly beautiful life. There is a reason superheroes have sidekicks, there is an explanation as to why ready to eat avocados come in packs of two, there is logic behind the fact that Simon and Garfunkel were at their best when they were in fact each other’s best; humans compliment humans, a hand compliments a hand, a friend compliments another.