More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Recipe for Good Friendship

I read a great article called Recipe for Good Friendship by Dyske Suematsu. This article incorporates two things that I love, food and analysis of people. The article uses food as a comparison tool for friendships.

I acutally had a conversation along the same lines with my work mate, who has also become my good friend of late, John. We were discussing similar issues about why people choose certain friends and what the purposes of those friends were. The simple conclusion is that friends fill specific purposes in our lives, you have your drinking buddies, your sports friends, friends that you can rely on for help etc.

Suematsu makes a great observation that "our relationships to each other are quite similar to our relationships to food. There are friends or families whom we see every day, just as there are food items we eat almost every day, like bread. For us to be able to consume them every day, they must have certain qualities that make them suitable for daily consumption. This quality is independent of value. Just because something or someone can be consumed every day, does not mean that it is better, deeper, or more meaningful than any other food items or people."

I definitely agree with his statements. Friends that you may or may not see often can be better friends that ones that you associate with all the time. Circumstances such as where you live or your lifestyle may mean that you associate with some people more often than others. A general rule for how people judge the strength of their relationships is how much others can help us. Suematsu states that "help is only one of many criteria by which one could value friendships, but it happens to be the most common standard by which people value personal relationships." I think this comes from our own selfish natures because when it comes down to it, its survival of the fittest and you must look out for yourself first, so why not choose friends that can help you.

However, in most peoples lives, it doesn't quite come down to life or death so we tend to judge our friends on other criterias as well. Once again Suematsu says that "I have some friends who are entertaining, intriguing, thought-provoking, and/or inspirational, but I can get sick of them if I am exposed to them too much. If you eat caviar every day, you will be sick of it, no matter how good it is. Just as certain types of food are appropriate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are certain types of people that are only appropriate for certain situations. Trying to force them out of these natural boundaries will only cause conflicts." I think I am starting to learn this valuable rule. When you're young, you tend to choose friends who have attributes that you may desire but also have negative aspects which you may try to change. Trying to change this attributes will normally result in conflict. As I've gotten older, I've come to realise you can benefit from the positives of friends but negatives that you perceive in them should be left alone as they may not see it as a negative.

Suematsu's final analogy on food is that "those who are nationalistic tend to be also nationalistic in the types of cuisine they eat. The gourmets who love eating a variety of food tend to be very social, whereas those who eat only within a very limited set of recipes tend to be reclusive." I think I would definitely class myself as a gourmet and I do tend to socialise with quite a variety of people. My friend, John, who is the total opposite is much more reclusive and selective with his friendships. Initially I tried to tell him that he needs to change and try and mould him more like myself. But as I said earlier, this usually ends in conflict that did occur between us so is not a good idea. We have had talks about this and as he pointed out, he provides certain aspects of friendship that I enjoy and that I should seek other aspects from other people. Now that I understand him more, I do see that he does provide a different type of frienship to most of my other friends. We tend to have more philosophical discussions that I would never have with most of my high school and uni friends. I guess that is the beauty of work, you meet a variety of people who tend to be different in age to yourself. In school where most people are the same age, we tend to go through the same experiences and hence have limited differences in how we see life.

To sum up, I think Suematsu says it best that "as you get older and wiser, your relationship to food or to people becomes more natural, i.e., as opposed to artificial, or symbolic. Enjoy the company of others for what it is. Don't use it as something else. Don't try to make it do what it is not meant to do. Don't force yourself to enjoy it. The more you know yourself, the less it matters who you associate yourself with, and the more enjoyable people will become."


Blogger afrobev said...

I must admit I found this very interesting. Made me think a lot about friends and food. Im hungry now!

3/07/2006 5:33 AM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Friends should be treasured like a good chocolate cake. As you can tell, I love desserts the most.

3/07/2006 9:30 AM  
Blogger afrobev said...

Thanks Than for linking to my blog. I am honoured. However I must tell you that I am in fact not English, but I am Welsh. England is the country next to Wales where I am from. I must admit it is quite confusing as there is only some water and a huge bridge that seperates the two countries. Perhaps you could change it to a British View on things as England and Wales are both Great Britain, what do you reckon? Cheers Than. Keep writing the good stuff.

3/09/2006 10:21 AM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

No problem Afrobev, I will make that change. And since we are discussing mistakes, my name is spelt Thanh, with an extra h at the end hehehe.

3/09/2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger afrobev said...

Thanks for doing that Thanh you're a star. Sorry about the name thing. Feel stupid now!

3/09/2006 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another recipe which you forgot to mention.

Do NOT hog other people's tellys at their own house and throw your snotty unhygenic rags around the joint.

1/29/2008 9:14 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Anonymous, then here is one for you. Stop fondling your friends and picking your nose until it bleeds.

Boom Boom.

1/30/2008 6:41 PM  

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