What is a Friend?

I hear a lot of definitions about what a friend is and what a friend is not.  Relationships seem so fickle these days and I am forced to believe that if marriages are breaking up on a regular basis, then friendships are too!  Maybe we have not been given a clear idea of what a friend is and that is why we either choose a partner we cannot live with or we let go of a partner too soon!

That’s a whole different blog post!

I will offer my humble definition of a true friend (like there is another kind?) and I hope you will all chime in on what you think.  Cool?  Ok!

A friend is someone who brings out the best in you without trying to change you into them.  A friend is someone who gives until it hurts and then gives some more.  A friend is someone who has your back at a moments notice, but will correct you when they think you are wrong.  A friend is some one who is truly sorry when they have hurt you (oh yes, they will hurt you!) and willing to forgive when you have hurt them.  A friend is someone who has a lot in common with you and a lot to introduce you to!

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list.  I feel like I could go on forever.  The point is this: There are so many bad examples of friendship out there that our definition has changed.  We do not hold friends to the same standard we used to.  Everyone is our friend.  Movies and television shows used to show strong friendships which revealed moral lessons and taught us how to treat our friends.  Today our media depicts temporary friendships or “yes man” friends who agree with anything and follow knowingly into tragic consequences.  Worse yet, many of the friends we see on screen would do each other in at the blink of an eye for a promise of…(you fill it in).  Very sad indeed.  And now (even though I love Facebook!) everyone on our FBfb account is a friend!  Yes, we all know that they are not really all our friends, but you get the point.

I teach at a public high school and I am constantly hearing about students no longer being friends because one told the other one the truth, or would not assist them in a caper, or was honest when the friend wanted them to be dishonest.  Friends understand these things! In fact they would apologize for putting you in the predicament to choose!

Please, I implore you, teach your friends and your children about real friendship.

5 replies
  1. Liz
    Liz says:

    Make sure your students read this! I agree that perceptions and definitions of friendship these days are–interesting (code language for disturbing). I think sometimes people confuse acquaintances with friends. And maybe, sometimes, people think that all friends fit in all parts of our lives. I have a few all-purpose friends–no matter what, they are in my corner and I theirs. And these same friends will “tell me about myself” when I need to hear it. They are good for laughs and can take it of I get upset because they tell me something I don’t want to hear. Other friends I encounter and resonate with for other reasons. I know they aren’t the all purpose friend, but if I am talking about work frustration they are all ears–and have encouraging words–and the listening and encouragement is reciprocal. I think people should be honest about what they expect from their friends–and whether or not they are willing to be the type of friend they expect others to be. My two cents. Keep posting updates to FB!

  2. Elder Kevin T. Strawder
    Elder Kevin T. Strawder says:

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