What is true friendship, and who
are your genuine friends? You may
have many acquaintances, but are they true friends? A friend is defined as, “a
person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection,
typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” As the days of our lives
pass by with the joys and sorrows we experience, it is the presence of friends
that enhance our experience of joy, and provide compassion during time of
sorrow. Each day of my life the bonds and spirits of friendships are always
present. It is reflective in my understanding of the golden rule; treat others,
as you would like to be treated.
A true friend inspires goodness, empathy and
mutual respect, which is the foundation for the establishment of friendship. It
is a bond that transcends time and distance, and invigorates memories of happiness,
fun, excitement, challenge, sadness and perseverance all in one sphere of trust.
True friendship is not judgmental but supportive in good times and bad. It is
having the courage to care enough to share a concern about the other. It is
honest and never deceptive nor manipulative. It is a unity of life between two
human beings where the experiences of one are the experiences of the other. It
is a mechanism of unparalleled support and love that never dies, and is always
appreciated. It is a relationship different from both marriage and the parental
bond with children, because it is commonly formed during early and
transitioning stages of life. Life long friends share a journey in our personal
growth different than our parents. It is a journey to grow with another at the
same time, stage and place in life, which is the glue that solidifies
friendship. In similarity to parents, friends have watched us grow into what we
are, and have witnessed where we have come from. Friends share in our mistakes and successes, make fun of us
and praise us, yet love us for who we are.
Although technology has enhanced the speed and our capability to communicate with one another, it has also created a world of pseudo friends. Social networking sites, i.e. facebook, etc. have provided an outlet to share our lives with those around us, but how many of our Internet acquaintances are really true friends? Would they ever put your agenda and needs before their own? Would they literally be there for you because you needed them? Do they really care about you, or is it just an opportunity to project themselves on to others? Reflecting on the people I have come to know over many years, there are still those who shine above the rest in regard to friendship. A true friend you may meet at the age of six will be a true friend when you turn sixty.
To explain why those we love enter our lives when they do should not be explained but just celebrated. Let the wonderment and mystery of life long friendships be the catalyst in a belief that we are never alone. They anchor us when the sea of life is unsteady, and yet encourage us to continue the journey. A friend is one who jumps aboard when others have abandoned ship. True friendship is also selfless. It is a genuine gratitude to be part of another’s life and share in all that can be shared. They do not focus on your faults, but always see your strengths. As Helen Keller stated, “With the death of every friend I love, a part of me has been buried, but their contribution to my being of happiness, strength, and understanding remains to sustain me in an altered world.” Reflecting on the recent gathering of family and friends at my daughter Nicole’s wedding, it reinforced how joyous life can be, and how wonderful it is to share a piece of your own life with those friends you love most. It is a collective energy and unity that never dies and goes beyond the confines of this physical world. Genuine friendships create a treasure chest of love, respect and richness in life that is priceless and forever memorable. As the beauty of a flower is expressed through its’ petals, so is the beauty of who we are expressed through our friends.