What is a Friend?

What is a friend? According to Aristotle, it is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. Hmm … is it like a peanut? I dig into my imagination and I picture a box of Maynards Bassets Liquorice Allsorts.

Friends come in all sorts of shapes and colours. Unlike with family, I can pick and choose who I want to be my friend. Friends are supposed to be people who make you laugh, support you when you are going through tough times and encourage you when you have given up. Shakespeare agrees with me with this quote:

“A friend knows you as you are, understands who you have been, accepts what you become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”

No one forces their friendship on us. We go into this relationship with our eyes wide open. We look for someone who we find it easy to talk to, someone who enjoys the same things in life and at times someone who we can depend on. There are no strings attached and we are free to walk out whenever we want, no love lost. So, why does it leave a sour taste when things go awry?

As with every relationship, “give and take” is a must. If there is no real connection the friendship becomes forced. Who has not had a “fake friend” during their lifetime? Real friends can go years without communication. You will not be ostracized, as you would with a blood relative. When the friendship is genuine, that person leaves an imprint on your life which neither time nor distance can erase.

There is a bunch of Crazy Ladies whom I call friends. I have not seen most of them for over 25 years. We are no longer schoolgirls and have ditched the green uniform a long way back. We live different lives in different countries, yet Facebook has made it possible for us to reconnect.  Though we have changed as individuals, as a group we have easily settled into this renewed friendship and filled in the gaps along the way.  

Social media prevents the ember of friendship from dying but can also leave bittersweet memories. Everyone brings a different trait into this relationship: good listener, loyal, trustworthy, supportive and funny. We invest more if we feel comfortable. As adults we are no longer carefree. We are more polite and demand respect. We keep one another updated without going into details.

“Always love your friends from your heart and not from your needs” – Buddha

We do not have to hang out to consolidate any relationship. Everyone has busy lives which makes it difficult to spend time together. A strong friendship can keep two people together if there is honesty and trust. At a click, we can ‘like’ those friends or ‘delete’ them from our lives permanently. Sadly, friendship can still last without any depth or closeness … more robotic than being alive.

In my opinion, if there is a lack of mutual respect, non-judgement, understanding and support, then the other person is not worthy of my friendship. I can easily walk away, guilt-free. Oh yeah, I am that ‘biatch’. I am past the silly game of bitching and negativity. If you want to be my friend, then assume your role, otherwise, beat it mate!

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul – Proverbs 27:9

I nurture friendship with those I call “true” friends. When my friend Annie asks how I am, she waits to hear my answer. Though she knows my weakness, she shows me my strength. There is more value in a friend who understands why you are crying than those who wait to join you only when you are laughing. Genuine friendship is like a rare pearl, cherish it when you are lucky enough to find it.

“The only way to have a friend is to be one” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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