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COMMUNITY VOICE

I 'love' you even if I can't 'like' you

Friday, March 22, 2013 - 12:01 am

Let’s talk about the words “like” and “love.”

Love used to be reserved for your spouse and other relatives. It was an expression of extreme affection, passion and “I’ll throw myself on the railroad tracks for you.” However, in the past years, love has morphed into a verb we use carelessly. We now love chocolate and Justin Bieber. Love as an active verb has been watered down.

Like, on the other hand, has been raised to a place of honor. We like people on Facebook. What in the world is that all about? As far as I know, you go to someone’s Facebook page and click on “like.” I think that means you want to know what they had for supper and what they look like now compared as to when you first liked them in high school. People’s self-esteem now depends on how many people like them on Facebook.

My experience with Facebook was very short-lived. I was talked into joining by a son who helped me do it. I was instantly inundated by people who wanted to “friend” me. I figure that wasn’t because I am so charismatic but simply because of a combination of being old and having had a circle of friends in three different states throughout my life. I know about 4,300 people, and they all wanted to friend me. So, I was learning that the word “friend” had also morphed and changed. I was so overwhelmed by offers that I immediately resigned, causing trauma to my youngest son who wailed, “My own mother has de-friended me!”

So, in the midst of my dilemma of what “like” and “love” and “friendship” truly are, stepped my 7-year-old granddaughter, Grace, who lives in Utah. We were talking on the phone, and I asked her how her day had gone.

“It was awful, Grandma! My best friend choked me with my jacket!” she told me.

“She probably won’t be your best friend anymore, will she?” I asked.

“Oh, she’ll be my best friend FOREVER, Grandma!”

“Even though she strangled you?”

“I gave her a Best Friends Forever (BFF) bracelet. She’ll ALWAYS be my best friend.”

Thus I learned from Grace what the real meaning of friendship is — even when that friend chokes you. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if simple BFF bracelets could solve all relationship problems? Nations could exchange BFF jewelry. Brides and grooms could exchange BFF rings. The possibilities are limitless.

Grace and I exchanged bracelets on my last visit, so I’m safe. Although I don’t think he’ll wear it, I might send my youngest son a BFF bracelet, just to let him know I still love him even though I can’t “like” him.

Nancy Carlson Dodd is a resident of Fort Wayne.