Damage bonds people together. Chances are, the more screwed up you are, the more screwed up your friends are. And if you’re both screwy, chances are your relationship is tightly sealed.
But why is that? Why is it the more damage people endure, the tighter the bonds they make? Why does it feel like our most solid relationships are founded with people who are as fragile as we are?
On a rational level of thinking, we could note that humans form bonds over common experiences and personality traits. Those who are off their hinges are naturally going to gravitate toward those similar to them -- those who accept them for who they are.
Why would we look for sane, normal people who are only going to judge us? We want people like us, people with their own problems and needs -- the people who make our damage seem a little less permanent.
According to a UCLA study on friendship among women, hanging out with friends actually reduces stress that builds from our daily lives. Women, in particular, respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause them to make and maintain the friendships they have with other women.
When women, specifically, suffer from stress, the hormone oxytocin is released, which overrides the antiquated fight-or-flight response and encourages women to either tend to their children or gather with other women.
That’s basically how it is, isn’t it? When we’re stressing out, we look for people to confide in, people to accept us and help us through. Usually the best people for that are screwed up themselves.
There’s nothing better than finding people who are as screwed up as you are to help you make sense of how far off your hinges you really are… and how far you’ll go.
It’s also nice to know that even if you’re too screwed up to live in this world, at least you know you have better friendships than all those normal people.
They give each other points of reference
When you’re around people who accept you as you are, flaws and all, you come to depend on them for your point of reference. They’re your grounding point, your home base, your meter of how far to go.
When the whole world is telling you you’re wrong, they’ll tell you you’re right. But when they do tell you you’re wrong, you know to listen. Their unstable life is possibly the only stable point you have in yours.
They’ve had enough good and bad experiences to bond them forever
Remember all those crazy nights you had with your friends that you’ll remember for the rest of your life? Well, imagine your whole life that way.
Every day is a new adventure and a stronger bond. You don’t just have a few good stories; your friendship is the story.
They’ll never judge each other
They say the least judgmental people are the ones who are judged the most. When you’re different, the last thing you’re going to do is judge people for their idiosyncrasies.
The beautiful thing about a friendship with two nut jobs is neither of them will ever judge the other. When you’re constantly being judged for who you are, the last thing you’ll do is judge your best friends.
They understand the value of friendship
While you may not have the strongest grasp on reality, you do have a strong hold on who is important within that reality.
Those with unstable lives aren’t likely to let go of the one stable friendship they have -- whether it be for a man or a job -- they know the friendship they have now will long surpass any other relationship they get into.
No matter how screwed up you are, you’re firmly grounded in the importance of keeping your friendships screwed in.
They’re loyal because they want to be
They know what a friendship is because they’re the ones who need them the most. Most people are just loyal because they know a good friend should always be loyal.
But two crazy, out-of-control, latchkey kids have to be loyal, because they are one in the same -- each a reflection of his or herself. An insult, a remark or a dig on one of them, is a dig on both of them.
They have empathy
Friendship, above all, is based on empathy. While we usually associate friendships with brunches, sleepovers and unlimited emoji use, there's a certain level of empathy one must have to be able to sustain a deep one.
In order to share your life with someone, even in a relationship as amicable as a friendship, you must be able to understand and forgive him or her on a daily basis.
We all make mistakes. Without friends who have been there and can understand where we're coming from, we'd all be not just crazy, but alone.