Friends will be much apart. They will respect more each other’s privacy than their communion.

What did Henry David Thoreau mean by:

Friends will be much apart. They will respect more each other’s privacy than their communion.


This quote suggests that true friends will not infringe upon each other’s personal space, but rather, will respect it. The ‘much apart’ refers to the emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical distance that friends maintain to respect each other’s individuality, personal boundaries, and privacy. The ‘communion’ here refers to the shared experiences, interactions, and mutual understanding that build the foundation of a friendship.

Thoreau is implying that a deep and genuine friendship is not about constant interaction or incessant sharing of every aspect of life. Instead, it is about understanding and respecting each other’s need for privacy and personal space. This respect for privacy is, in fact, more important than the communion or shared experiences between friends.

In today’s world, this quote is highly relevant. With the advent of social media and technology, the lines between personal and public space have blurred. People often share every minute detail of their lives with their friends, leading to an invasion of personal space and privacy. Thoreau’s quote reminds us of the importance of maintaining a healthy distance in friendships.

In terms of personal development, respecting others’ privacy helps in building trust and strengthening relationships. It teaches us to be considerate of others’ feelings and needs. Moreover, understanding and maintaining this balance between communion and privacy in friendships also allows for personal growth and independence. It allows individuals to have their own experiences, make their own mistakes, and learn from them, which is crucial for personal development.

So, Thoreau’s idea of friendship is not about clinging or being overly dependent on each other but about growing together while respecting each other’s individual journeys and personal spaces.

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