Trace back the roots of the word comrade to the Latin and you will see it originating in the word camara and the Late Latin camera. These words both referred to room, and are also the etymological origins of our own word “chamber.” But how then does a room come to mean a close companion?
To find the answer to this seeming conundrum, we must look forward a bit in history and linguistic development to the Romance language known to modern linguists as Old French. The term camarade was used to mean roommate. A roommate is someone that you live with and form a very close relationship with. As the word traveled from the French language to that of the English, it became comrade and meant less roommate than a general word for companion.
Comradeship connotates a closeness. This closeness could take many forms: it could be a political closeness, it could be a social closeness, it could be a familial closeness. A comrade might not necessarily be a close friend but it is someone that you are closely acquainted with nonetheless.
What is the value in a comrade? Comrades can be allies, they can be trusted advisors, they can help when times are blue. They can provide a shoulder to lean on, they can provide someone for you to talk with at whom you are related on a very powerful level. This is definitely a worthwhile tool, and it is no wonder that we all develop comradeships, even if we don’t necessarily refer to our companions as comrades in as many words.
We find that we have comrades everywhere. We have comrades in our dorm rooms, in our apartments, in our places of work, in our schools, in our churches. You don’t have to look very far to find comradeship. Anywhere people team together, anytime you are part of something larger than just yourself, you are a comrade and have comrades to lean on.
Even the most introverted of us will realize that social relationships are a very necessary thing. As the saying goes, no man is an island. We are all of us social creatures, living in a world that is much larger than ourselves, much larger than we could ever imagine, when you get right down to the heart of it.
We are small fish living in a big world, and it is always nice to know that there are people there to help us out and give us guidance along the way as we navigate this terrestrial voyage that we like to call life.
If you feel yourself isolated, start to communicate more closely with your comrades. Work to build closer relationships with your companions, wherever they may be. Maybe you will find them at school. Maybe your main social interaction is through your job. Perhaps you are interested in finding comrades who share your same religious convictions. Maybe you volunteer for an organization, your fellow volunteers are also potential comrades and close companions.
The Internet can also be a lovely place to find new comrades. No better networking tool exists to foster companionship not only in your local area, but anywhere around the world. Blogs, virtual communities, message boards: these and more can be the breeding grounds of long lasting relationships.