I’ve tangled my battle of ideas about the ways in which friendship is perceived nowadays by watching two movie series, totally opposed to each other when it comes to the miracle of durable friendships, and which affect “the good” and “the beautiful”. The two movie series are “Friends” and “Friends with Benefits”. It has been clear from the very beginning that the latter resembles the former from the point of view of the general idea, the former being the most famous and the best series ever broadcasted in the US.
Since I am a big admirer of “Friends”, and I subscribe to the types of relationships that the characters (Ross, Phoebe, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Rachel) develop as friends, I’ve immediately noticed the difference concerning the social status when it comes to the other five protagonists of “Friends with Benefits”- Ben, Sara, Fitz, Aaron, and Riley.
I wouldn’t have written this article unless some of my friends from Bucharest and I hadn’t discussed about the concept of friendship nowadays. Things are simple, or perhaps not. From my perspective, the social manifestations regarding the topic of friendship differ from a negative point of view. If at the beginning friendship used to be something natural, involving good faith, and proximity with the others for whom one cares, currently it transforms everything into a dispute for “benefits” in the circle of a presupposed friendship.
Friendship exists as a type of behaviour which facilitates the synchronization with the natural requirements (the social ethics dictates it, it’s fashionable, useful, and it helps one passing the time in a pleasant manner and so on). It would be good if friendship had as a foundation at least the things I mentioned above. On one hand, in “Friends” there are several principles which the director and the characters follow: the individual’s natural predisposition towards the need for friendship, the care of one for the other, love and real falling in love, the irony and sarcasm that are peculiar to committed friendships (they are that form of enchantment triggered by the other’s flaws, and I particularly enjoy them), the familial environment created, the lack of self-interest, or in case this appears, it should be a pursuit for the friend’s appreciation etc.
On the other hand, in”Friends with Benefits”, the things and principles change. The personal interest prevails, despite the group bonding, and despite the adhesion to the ideas that each promotes. The “benefit” appears as a leading actor in the friendship bonding between the five protagonists. Basically, the principles from the first movie series are reversed in the second. “Friends with Benefits” follows the idea of “you do what I please, so that later on I do as you like”. In “Friends” the principle is the following: “I feel that I should do what you please, something which is especially for you”.
On the former blog I’ve written an article entitled “Unde sunt marile prietenii?”(“Where Are the Great Friendships?”), by approaching the friendships between M. Eminescu and I. Creangă, Titu Maiorescu and P.P. Carp, M. Kogălniceanu, V. Alecsandri and C. Negruzzi, A. Pleşu and G. Liiceanu, Gala Galaction and T. Arghezi, Goethe and Schiller, and others. I may repost this article on the current blog as well. The idea is that we are in the quest for great friendships but we cannot assume several essential principles: trust, the enjoyment of the other’s company, common shared values, different ideas (pay attention not to mistake “ideas” for “principles”), potential shared visions, loyalty, dedication, irony and sarcasm (as they are explained above), carefulness and cooperation. There are other principles as well but the ones enumerated here are fundamental.
When the need to be loved interferes in a potential friendship, as well as the need to be useful only in some circumstances, or the need to look good among others, or to copy a pattern and afterwards to fight one’s way in the spotlight of fame in order to use blackmailing later, or to get closer to someone also appear, then one cannot talk about “Friends” but “Friends with Benefits”.
I will never cease telling that great friendships helped other destinies.