I have been thinking about friendship a bit lately. I’m not going on a middle-aged-person-rant about Facebook friends, and what makes a real friend. That’s all been said before, and really doesn’t interest me at all.
I know that I have some friends because they live close by, and it’s really convenient to see them a lot. Would I still be as friendly with them if we didn’t live so close? Actually, for both of these groups of friends, I hope so. I like them enormously.
I have other friends who I’ve met through my work in schools. I tend to walk into a classroom, and if I like what they do and how they are with the children, then I like them. It doesn’t happen as often as you think. But if I like your teaching then I will back you to the hilt, and call you my friend. Is that odd? Possibly. But it works for me.
And then I have friends who I perform with (with whom I perform – I know. But it sounds pretty stuffy.). Some people who I play with (with whom… oh, forget it.) I don’t have a great connection with. It’ll be a good performance, but not one that really excited me. Would you be able to tell in the audience? I’m not sure… probably, if you were really looking, and knew my playing well. And then there are others that it’s just wonderful. There is risk-taking, and a huge amount of give-and-take, and all sorts of things that happen in the concert that hadn’t been discussed or even tried out in the rehearsal. It’s incredibly exciting as a player to have this happen. And if it happens for most of the night it’s totally exhilarating. (Do you remember what it was like when you met someone that you then had a really passionate love affair with? It’s like that…) And these people I count as my friends too. Good friends. Friends I’d trust with fairly intimate information. And yet I mightn’t hang out with them much, or even see them a lot.
Odd. And yet true for me. I’m not sure about other performers, but for me it’s true. Maybe that’s why there’s a lot of infidelity in the music profession. Or maybe we’re all just fickle and untrustworthy, who knows?!
Does this happen in other professions? Probably. I don’t know any trapeze performers I can ask, or duo rock climbers, or synchronised swimmers (probably best that way too…). But there’s something about bearing your soul with another person and them loving what they see (well, hear), and responding to it and making what you have given them even better that leads to a pretty strong bond. I like these people a lot that this happens with.
I also try and perform with them a lot….