Why you can always depend on a friend

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Inspired by the Word Press Daily Prompt ‘Something So Strong’, I thought it would be fun to delve a little deeper into what it means to actually be a ‘friend’ – a word that is all too often bandied around with very little thought to the true meaning behind it.

Take Facebook for example: I have something like 200 hundred ‘friends’ on there but perhaps only speak to a handful of them, some of them I’ve never even met before, yet still we class them as ‘friends’. There are a number of people that I confess to accepting ‘friend’ requests for just because I disliked them during school and wanted to see how ugly and fat they’ve gotten now they’re adults….

So after doing the maths, I probably only have affectionate feelings for approximately 5% of the people on my list of Facebook ‘friends’. The rest, I probably couldn’t care less about. But isn’t the same true when we turn off the computer, iPad, smartphone and get ourselves back out there in the ‘real world’?

I have many acquaintances in my day to day life, most of which I share a more than cordial relationship with, but there are only a handful of people out of a group of many dozens that I would actually consider a true friend. There’s nothing wrong with being friendly or nice to the folks that you meet or work with, but how many of them would you trust with your deepest and darkest secrets?

Not many, I’d wager.

What is it that sets friends apart from people you are just ‘friendly’ with? Is there some sort of friendship charter that folks need to live up to in order to be declared a ‘friend’ to someone, and if so, who the hell made up the charter in the first place and what makes them think they know everything?!

Humour aside, I think a lot of us know who our true friends are in this life. Real friends are the people who accept you for who you are, take your good days with your bad, celebrate in your successes and offer you a stiff drink and a firm hug when life invariably kicks you in the teeth.

Friends don’t judge or preach, they commiserate with you before offering their services to go break someone’s legs on your behalf (how dare someone upset you!). Friends don’t bail you out of jail – they’re sitting right next to you in the cell as you both laugh at how stupid you’ve been (and how hot that uniformed officer that arrested you is….)

Friends are the kind of people who see you at your worst yet still want to hang around with you. They’ve seen you crying with snot running down your face, held your hair back as you throw up after a heavy night out and still carried you home afterwards.

Sometimes, when we’re a little down on ourselves, it only takes a couple of words or a hug from one of our friends to make us feel as if things are a little bit better than they were before. Sometimes, it is just the fact that you know they’re there for you, ready and willing to fight your corner at a moment’s notice.

Friends tease each other, knowing there are certain lines that cannot be crossed under the flimsy excuse of ‘humour’. Friends know which buttons to press to get a reaction out of you, yet refuse to do so, knowing how much you’ll hurt if they do. Friends respect the boundaries of their relationships and work hard to bridge gaps in geography, class, lifestyles etc. to maintain those friendships.

Friends don’t think they’re better than you, though they’ll be the first person to tell you to get your head out of your ass when you get a bit too big for your britches. Friends don’t tell you what you only want to hear, but they’ll also tell you what you need to hear from time to time, albeit in a gentle and reassuring manner.

Friends – true friends – are rare in this life and we all need to work hard to maintain the relationships that are important to us. It can take a lifetime to build a strong friendship but only a second to destroy it. It is not the quantity of friends that matter but the quality – I’d rather have a handful of good friends than a truckload of folks who claimed to be my friend yet don’t know the meaning of the word.

So, if there’s someone out there who you consider a friend, pick up a phone, drop ‘em an email or go meet them for coffee and tell them how great you think they are and how lucky you feel to have them in your life.

Who knows, maybe they need to hear that just as much as you do.

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11 Comments

Filed under Starting out

11 responses to “Why you can always depend on a friend

  1. Oh my word! This is such an exceptional depiction of friendship.

    I’ve been blessed in my life with three exceptional friends.

    One I met in high school and she now lives several states away from me. I’d trust her with my life – she always has my back. We can go for long periods of time and not see one another; and suddenly! we’re together again, taking up the reins of friendship easily, completely, humorously, lovingly. She is the sister of my heart.

    My other friend lives in town, and I’ve known her for quite some time. We’ve shared many happy experiences together, and also some that hurt us, and we will be friends for life because we’ve shared confidences with one another that can only be entrusted to a friend.

    My third friend lives across the pond. She gives me the encouraging word when I need it, allows me to express my successes and insecurities when need be, offers to physically impair anyone who wounds me in the slightest (lol), and always has my back. Her encouragement and assistance has enabled me to try things I would never have attempted in the past. Geography is no barrier when it comes to the loving communication of two similar hearts.

    Good friends, ‘sisters of the heart,’ are rare in this life. If you can count one, you’re lucky. If you can count three, you’re blessed!

    I’m blessed.

    Wonderful, wonderful post!

    • Hi Kate,
      Thanks so much for your wonderful comments, I’m so glad to hear that my post touched you so. It is indeed a fortunate person who finds not only one, but three ‘true’ friends in this life.

      I read a quote the other day that went something along the lines of, ‘Friends are the sisters that God forgot to give you.’ I like the sentiment behind this statement and I often feel closer to my friends than I do my own flesh and blood sibling at times.

      I felt inspired by the WP prompt and had to put my own little spin on it, knowing that I needed to make it clear how much my ‘real’ friends mean to me.

  2. Such an incredible and heart-felt post! And so true. I’m off to tell my best friend how much I appreciate him now 😀

    • I am so glad this post touched you and even happier that it has inspired you to reach out to your best friend to let him know how much he means to you. We are all too often guilty of not expressing how we really feel to those who mean so much to us. Sometimes, to just know that you’re liked and that someone loves the fact that you’re in their life can make all the difference to your day.

  3. I have a really great friend, actually, he’s been my friend for 20 years now. He once said to me, “Every relationship is different”. And it’s so true. He’s probably the only person I could say that we’ve been friends for so long and, even though we live a continent away, when we see each other again, the conversation is free and easy. No pretension. No weirdness or gap. It’s great.
    Thanks Heather.
    =)

    • That’s the beauty of friendship, some of the people I’m closest to live the furthest away from me. Friendships can transcend so many types of boundaries and i think that’s great. What is also great is that while you cannot choose your family, you can always choose your friends! 🙂

  4. It seems most of the people I would consider friends are the ones I have known and been friends with since high school. Everyone I seem to meet as an adult falls into the friendly acquaintance category. I will likely know my good friends from high school forever. So far, my adult ‘friends’ come and go based on my circumstances.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Jennifer. It is great that true friendships can last a lifetime and that no matter where life leads a person that they can always maintain that connection to the people who mean the most to them.

  5. Great post! And I agree, I’d rather have a small group of friends than an army of people who really don’t care. 🙂

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog post 🙂

      I agree that it is better to have a few good friends rather than lots of people who claim to care about you but actually don’t.

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