Defining Friendship

How do you define the word friend? 

Oh, I want to look this up in the dictionary, so bad, just to see what it defines as a friend.   Probably says something like “a companion” or someone unrelated to you whom you enjoy spending time with or have something in common with.  But the question is, “How do YOU define the word friend?”  Meaning me.  Screw it.  I’m looking it up.  It says, “1)  One who is personally well known by oneself and for whom one has warm regard or affection; intimate.  2)  One with whom one is on speaking terms; an associate or acquaintance…”

To me, those would almost be opposite meanings not the same.  Business associates or co-workers are not necessarily people I’d consider friends and I wouldn’t necessarily want to associate with them outside of work.  I’m on “speaking terms” with many people, but I wouldn’t consider them friends. 

The dictionary goes on to say, “one has regard or affection for a friend, and the word is frequently used for of very deep or close associations.  One’s feelings for an acquaintance are less warm than for a friend and have more of courtesy than of affection.”

Funny, now that I think about it, how former friends often turn into acquaintances, sometimes rather quickly.

My father always told me at any point in your life you’ll be able to count your true friends on the fingers of one hand.  And, he added, you probably won’t need all the fingers.  I know I never have.

Surprisingly, even the people you once thought of as true friends might fade out of your life for no apparent reason.  They might make the switch from friend to acquaintance.

I asked my dad once many years ago how many friends he had and he said he didn’t know because he’d never tested them.

Aha.  Maybe that’s the key.  How many of your friends have you tested and how many have passed the test?

I have a limited few very close friends, one in particular I have a history with that goes back thirty plus years.  She has stood the test of time, if that was even a test.

Another 25+ year friendship I’ve watched fade away the past couple of years.  I don’t know why.  Maybe the parameters of the friendship are changing and no one told me.

There are people I don’t see or hear from very often, but I’d still consider them friends.  I enjoy their company, however infrequent it may be.  Some of those, too, I have a long history with as well, in fact for most of my adult life.

I think my parameters for friendship are these:

1) You have to “get” me.  What I’m about, my sense of humor, what’s important to me.  I’d prefer you to find me wonderful and fascinating, but it isn’t required.

2)  You have to reciprocate.  If you can’t return a phone call or commit to plans, forget it.  I’m not going to do all the work.  I won’t beg you to be my friend or to continue to be my friend. 

3)  You might be related to me and I might consider you one of my best friends.

4)  You don’t have to live near me.  I don’t have to see you on a regular basis.  Maybe I see you only rarely.  That doesn’t mean we aren’t or can’t be friends.

5)  I have to enjoy your company.  Emotional vampires, whiners, complainers and negative people should look elsewhere for companionship.

What are three things you can do to be a better friend to the people in your life?

1)      Be more thoughtful.

2)      Be more supportive.

3)      Be more available.

This is from WordPress’s Blog-A-Week topics pool.

Come visit me at www.barbmeyers.com

One Comment:

  1. Informative article – I enjoyed it very much! Dallas Weiderhold

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