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I have for several years believed that I have the ability to fall in love with a certain friend of mine, given the opportunity. In fact, I've had something of a crush for some of those years, which seems to be in remission right now, but which could probably be encouraged to show its face again. My friend is attracted to me and enjoys my company, but does not believe that we would work long-term, and thinks that we should therefore not date, because we would risk our friendship (which, lest this sound utterly stupid, is an excellent thing, which we both value highly).

I have never been entirely convinced that we wouldn't be able to remain friends, even if we did break up--indeed, past experience leads me to believe that this would only improve our closeness. I just recently began to doubt that. As I doubted, it occurred to me that this hypothetical situation, in which we dated and then broke up while trying to remain friends, would entirely turn on our strength of character. I rarely use that concept to analyze my world, and so it has always been difficult for me to relate to any discussion of 'character'. But as I try to imagine the qualities I would need in order to consider the potential friendship we could redevelop, and actually get there, rather than being too weirded out and having trouble staying in touch, I can only classify them as strength of character. See, I know the relationship would change and touch me in ways I've probably never been changed or touched. To react to the hurt that would be caused by the ending of this by working to keep our connection, rather than drawing into ourselves, would require the ability to step outside the present and oneself.

So, this node is about helping people who might not really have a clear idea what 'character' is to imagine a particular instance which would illustrate it. I expect that battle or tragedy are other instances, but I have great difficulty imagining them well, never having really experienced them. The more I think about it, though, the more I imagine character to simply be the ability to continue functioning in the most adaptive manner whatever the situation. Sort of the opposite of being emotionally delicate.

I'd welcome others adding their own ideas about this--for some reason, 'character' in this sense seems difficult for me to grasp, and so I wonder if it might not be equally difficult for others.

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