Friendship in the Matrix

“Ain’t no need to rush. Breakfast can wait.” Prince, Breakfast Can Wait

You can go through life and make new friends every year – every month practically – but there is no substitute for the few who truly improve you.  These aren’t the people who are simply nice to you; they’re the ones who help you uncover the things that are holding you back.  In subtle ways, they bring ideas to your attention that change your life.  These friends don’t just sit beside you unknowingly; they shake your world up, reveal your obstacles and weaknesses, and remain a part of your life because they care.

-Angel Chernoff

I’ve been ruminating on the meaning of friendship a lot this week. At least my expectations of it. I think the quote above conveys a good portion of what I think of when I think of a “core friends” or “the fam” as is often referred amongst people close to me. These are people that lift me up, that challenge me, that sometimes see me better than I see myself. These are the people that can call me on my shit and I’ll take it in the spirit it’s given and hopefully learn from it. I hope they expect and respect the same from me.

There’s this other aspect of friendship, though, that sometimes gets overlooked. Friends share their lives with each other. Not just the awesome stuff but the awful too. Not just the collection of interests and quips that make up our digital personas but the angst of our every day as well as the little victories. We know the people that matter in each other’s lives. We learn what is important and what isn’t and how those things change over time. We get to understand hopes and dreams as well as fears and weaknesses.

 As someone who plays most things close to the vest, I get how hard and scary that kind of sharing is and how easy it is to believe we’re connected because we wave at each other on The Internet. But without that part, that access to each other’s true lives and selves, how do we ever get to the desert of the real

Be my Morpheus and I’ll be yours.


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  1. Cecily Walker

    My simplistic answer? You get there with time, with patience, with presence, and with vulnerability. Those elements are key to building trust (for me). I know that doesn’t work for everyone. I admire people who know in an instant that someone will be a significant player in the story of their life from the first moment they meet. I’ve got too many walls and barriers for that.

    Because so many of the people I know, love, and trust with my life are geographically distant, the physical presence matters less than the act of paying attention and showing that you’re paying attention. Love, honor, and mutual benefit shine through when it’s really meant and deeply felt, I think.


    1. Jason Toney

      You’re right, C, and I don’t mean to suggest that physical presence is key (although I don’t want to suggest that doesn’t matter either). I think, for me, it’s about that trust and openness. And access to what an individual I care about truly cares about. That can definitely happen digitally.


  2. Dominique Toney

    Wow. I’ve been ruminating over this very thought for awhile now. Glad you’re back to writing JT!


    1. Jason Toney

      Thanks sis.


  3. Michelle Jones

    Wow. You know this hits me right in the feels right now. Good job Jason.


    1. Jason Toney

      Thanks Michelle.


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