TREASURES in LIFE: True Friendships

Two Friends

These two friends are my daughter and her friend
in the countryside one summer in Ireland.
Photo by me.

“A FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES”
(Proverbs 17:7 Ampl.Bible)

In some countries it is harder than in others to make the ‘cut’ – that is – to get into the mainstream of the life and the living but once you are in, ‘you are in’, for good! Finland, Sweden and Israel are like this. It requires much patience to get there. The Finns, the Swedes and the Israelis are cautious at first, then after a while they let their guard down and you will be firm friends for life. No matter how fiercely your opinions on matters differ and how much you would argue, at the end of the day; it only clears the air and strengthens the bond of friendship. I am not saying that this the rule 100 per cent in each and every case, but certainly in my own personal experience, it has been the norm.

The Irish give the ‘hail fellow, well met’ – impression of ease and quick skills of getting to know other people. That does not lead to lasting friendship, most of the time. It is just politeness, social skills or whatever one will call it. I am most outgoing but it was in Ireland that I found it the hardest of all to really get to know people where they would be genuine and real. No stereotype Irish, but the person, the people as they are.

A friend said this in one of her comments in my page on another entry on friendships:

“Funny how to put the differences in friendships in a cultural view, because I’ve had to deal with this issue myself. Americans are more like the way you describe Irish…easy get by with on basic social levels, friendly in that “hi, how ya doin, see ya” way.

But maybe because it’s so easy to become “friends” with them, you don’t realize that you aren’t really really friends, true friends, until you try to get closer and come up against a wall. I sound disparaging, but that’s the way I am. My Israeli friends often tell me that they see Americans as hypocrites, or pretend friends. And I find the Israeli friendships to often be suffocating. It’s worth knowing when you go to a strange culture.”

My response to her:

“Yes indeed, it is wise to know some basic things about the strange, as in different, culture one is moving to. It makes the adjusting so much easier. The Scandinavians, particularly, the Finns are considered ‘cold, aloof and distant’ by the others who don’t understand that the culture is such that people take their time ‘letting’ you through the barriers bit by bit.

Then once you are IN; YOU ARE IN for life. This kind of process takes a lot adjusting to do but it’s worth it in the end. I’m not a typical Finn in this aspect either but more Latin in my manner, style & personality in that I am not reserved in meeting new people, yet still Finnish in this that when I am your friend – I truly am your friend through thick & thin!”

Tis for now. Riihele xx

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