Friendships And Their Lifetimes
What brings us together?
Hi Zan, Hi Pa
November 10th, 2023
We’re grateful for the amazing early response to Hi Zan, Hi Pa, and we’d love to share our conversations with more readers. Subscribers are always welcome to share our newsletters by email or on social media. And for those of you who want a little more of Rinpoche, Otto, and the other characters in the Breakfast with Buddha series, Rinpoche’s Remarkable Ten-Week Weight Loss Clinic had just been published as an audio book. This is not exactly a weight loss program, but Buddhist monk Rinpoche’s take on eating and love. We have the codes for six free downloads and will offer them to the first six subscribers who bring another Hi Zan, Hi Pa yearly subscriber on board. Please tell your friends to subscribe at the yearly rate of $50 and be sure they mention you in their note. Once we receive that information we’ll send you the code. First six only, sorry; we don’t have more than that. We hope you enjoy the new audio book. Our thanks! Zan and Pa.
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We offered our Founding Members a chance to pick a discussion topic. Peggy Moss of Toronto, Canada suggested we talk about friendship, so here goes.
HI, PA: I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary of living in Fort Collins, Colorado, and have been doing a lot of reflecting on what it’s been like to join a community here and build new friendships from scratch. On that note, how would you say that friendships have shaped your life?
HI, ZAN: I’ve long had a theory (I’m a man of many theories!) that friendships have lifetimes. By that I mean some friendships last for decades and maybe even continue into other dimensions, and others last a few months or a few years and then fade into the past. And that’s okay.
Even many of the brief friendships I’ve enjoyed have made a mark on me, taught me something, helped me through trying times. And the two or three friendships I’ve had with people who turned out to be toxic in one way or another have been helpful in the long run, though painful at the time.
You’ve made real efforts to build a community of friends in Fort Collins, and I salute you for that.
Some of the ways you’ve done that weren’t available to people years ago, right?
ZAN: Yes, technology has definitely changed how people make friends! Although I’d say that the actual friendship-building hasn’t changed that much. What helped me the most when moving here was checking out Meetup, a site where people post various community events and group get-togethers. That’s how I found out about the Fort Collins Italian Club, where I’ve met my closest friends in town.
I also used Bumble (a dating app) during my friendship process. The app has a section for friendships, where people make profiles and post about the kinds of things they’re interested in and what they’re looking for. It works just like the dating section of the app—you get shown profiles and have to “swipe” left or right to indicate your interest or disinterest. If the person you swiped right (interested) on also swiped right on your profile, you get to send each other messages. That whole process felt extremely awkward for me, but it’s how I found a few friends when I first moved to town. One of those friends even started a club made up of some of the women she’d met on the app!
How would you say you made most of your friends at different stages in life?
PA: We never had Meetup or Bumble, or anything close to that. I made most of my friendships through living, studying, or working with people, or sharing an interest or passion. Mom and I made great and long-lasting friends during our work in the Soviet Union–going through something difficult with others can create a special bond. I’ve made friends by living in the same dorm, on the same road, or in the same apartment building as others. I met one of my closest friends by doing a long carpentry project on his house in Vermont. Golf has been a source of great friendships over the years, too. There’s something about humiliating yourself in front of another person that can breed closeness, and golf is filled with humiliations small and large. I have only a few friends from my high school and college years–maybe I’ve changed a lot since then and have, in my adult years, sought out different kinds of people–and I’m envious of those who are still close with friends they knew in fourth or ninth grade.
What do you think it is, exactly, that lies at the heart of friendship? What draws us to another person and keeps both of us there over a stretch of time?
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