Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What is a friend?

photo by Gwennypics 
A wise man once told me that if you can count the number of good, true friends on one hand, you are truly blessed (thanks, Daddy).  I think that I am lucky enough to have a few more than that.  I've made lots of friends over the years.  Some have come and gone, but some have stayed with me.  One from childhood (Hi, E.S.!), a few from college and many since then.  People that I know that I can count on if I need help.
So, what is a friend?  How do you define friendship?  Is it someone you don't have to talk to but you know is there for you?  Is it someone you see every day?  Do they take care of your children or do you take care of theirs, or both?  Could it be someone that you've never even met face to face, only become friends over the internet?
How do you maintain that friendship?  Is it though phone calls, emails, Facebook or texting?  Do you see them on a daily or weekly basis?  Maybe only once a month for dinner out or once a year for a weekend getaway?  Or is it even less often than that?
I know that we can't get through life without building relationships with others.  Our children are quick to make friends and we should be, too.  We should be open to meeting people of all kinds because we never know what kind of influence they'll have on our lives.  I know that I'm guilty of staying within my comfort zone when it comes to meeting people and making friends.  I haven't ventured out to areas outside my church or my daughter's school or the gym where I work out.  So what am I missing?  Is it possible that my horizons could be broadened by befriending someone who is struggling with addiction?  Or someone who is from another country or culture than mine?  Absolutely.
What holds me back?  I don't know...  fear of the unknown, perhaps.  Shyness.  Hmmm...  something to work on.
I can't imagine what life would be like without the friends I've made.  They make me laugh, hold me when I cry, tell me if I'm screwing up (nothing like brutal honesty from a friend, right?), help me with advice or even just hang out with me.  I'm so very thankful for the friends that I have made.
I remember another bit of wisdom.  I'm sure I'll get the wording wrong but hopefully you'll get my meaning.  Friends love you because they want to, family loves you because they have to.  That may not be entirely true - I'm sure there are some who don't love certain family members - but the point is, the friends you have don't have to be your friends.  They are there because they want to be and because you want them to be there, too.
Treasure your friends.  Tell them once in a while - hey, I'm glad you're here.  Think about the things you value in your friends and are you exhibiting those same traits to them?  Are you as good a friend to others as they are to you?
Go hug a friend today.  Just because.


Tara said...

I also love the saying: The road to a friend's house is never long'.

Kool Aid said...

I don't think I've heard that one. I love it! Thanks for sharing.

Jessica (Hey Lola) said...

I just hugged James. I probably did it wrong because he got a little creeped out. Oh well...it's the thought that counts, right?

Scott said...

"What holds me back? I don't know... fear of the unknown, perhaps. Shyness. Hmmm... something to work on."

You do know what holds you back. It's the same thing that holds folks like us who are a bit reserved back. Fear is probably the biggest.

It requires so much to consider one a "true" friend. I mean, I have friends that I would tell some things too, but never other things. Shoot, I've got some friends that know about my blog and some I'm just not comfortable telling yet.

Should we be able to define..nail down..what a friend is?

Kool Aid said...

@Jessica- that's just flat-out funny. I guess random hugs, with no hidden agenda, might freak out some. But it is the thought that counts.

@scott - I think there are definitely layers of friends (Ogres are like onions...). Some may be closer than others, some you share certain things with but not others. I don't think there is a way to nail down the general definition of friend because you can't nail down people.

Everyone is different, so your friendships will be different. What you consider a "close and dear friend" may be totally different than someone else's definition, but that's because the things you value in people will be based on who you are, not who they are.

And you're right about knowing what holds me back. The question then becomes can I move past it.

Scott said...

They say...to move past it only takes a step.

I've always wondered who "they" are.

This was a marvelous post btw. L-O-V-E-D it.