Relationships can be tough. If we compare all the ones in our lives to various types of plants we raise in our gardens--marriages, kids, parents, bosses--we'd find that some are more high-maintenance than others. A marriage is like a bonsai, which needs careful pruning and frequent attention in order to stay looking good. A kid is a lot like a rosebush. In the right conditions and soil, you can can produce some beautiful blossoms, but if you don't handle them carefully, their thorns will make you hurt. Either way, such relationships are a lot of work, and even with regular love and care, they can still sometimes get the best of us.
But friendships are different. While we have to pay attention to them like any other relationship, they shouldn't be arduous in any way. Using the gardening metaphor, a friendship should be no more difficult to keep than a pot of pansies or violets on a sunny windowsill. They should smell sweet and be a source a comfort and pleasure.
A good friendship should allow its individual members to thrive in positive light, but should be hardy enough to weather any storms that come its way. But those storms should be infrequent. A good friendship should allow its members to co-exist as individuals who shouldn't have to live in constant fear of the clouds. Unlike a marriage, where two different people must find a way to survive together for the good of family, children, and assets, a friendship should not be subject to such things. If you can't enjoy each other for the mere sake of enjoyment, then the friendship should cease to exist.
No one, in any relationship for that matter, should wonder if their words or actions might be met with vitriolic rebuke, but this is especially so with friendships. A friend is supposed to be a refuge from those things. Except for cases of tough love if one of us becomes a crack addict, an anorexic, or a Scientologist, we shouldn't have to regularly lay in wait for a shit cyclone to come rolling through our day from someone we call friend.
And the older I get, the more I realize that I have no problem expecting these things. And while I will always maintain friendships where there are differing viewpoints on certain topics, I expect those who friends disagree with me to do so politely, and if they can't do so, then they should have the decency to say nothing at all. And of course I'll do the same, because I want to continue being a source of smiles, comfort, and amusement for my friends, and if I ever become a bore, I welcome anyone to depart. Maybe I'm not for you. That's okay. If we can't provide light for one another in this dark ass world, then we should freely look elsewhere for people who can.
If I ever made any of you feel terrible or like less of a person because of my particular passions, I apologize. I'd rather live the life of a wounded ant than to step on anyone I care about just to feel a little bit bigger.