Friendship is something that cannot be defined in one singular or particular way. This is because friendships are not built out of convenience or need but rather, over time and familiarity. Although the basic definition of a friendship falls under the category of somebody whom we feel a level of affection and trust for (according to Google definitions) or perhaps a favored companion (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary), the truth of the matter is that friendship is not just about the comfort we feel with these people. Friendship is a relationship that helps us grow by learning from the joy, sadness, anger, disappointment, and forgiveness that is necessary to make friendships flourish and grow into lifelong bonds.
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In a way, the best friend any person can have is God. The reason I say this is because God symbolizes the true meaning of friendship in my mind. He is steadfast in his belief and support for us, he listens to our problems and troubles without judgment, and he is always forgiving and forgetful of our sins. He always gives us a second chance to prove our selves and change that which is negative in us without demanding change from us. He allows us to grow in the knowledge and confidence that he is forever by our side and will be the only friend we have to turn to at any time of the day or night, in any situation. When everyone on this material plain has abandoned us, God is the one true friend who, just like in the poem “Footprints in the Sand”, continues to walk beside us and guide us when we think that we have been forsaken by everyone else.
It is easy to call anybody a friend, it does not require much effort to be one anyway. But, to be a true friend, in the very essence of the word is something that most people fail to be because of one reason or another. Be it personal envy, greed, gossip, or simply wanting to one up a person, is enough to destroy a friendship between people who have built their relationship on a shaky foundation such as need or necessity. A true friend needs only to be a good listener and a supporting arm when needed. By being a good listener, you become a good friend because you come to realize your own short comings as mirrored by those around you. In return, you get to help other people solve their dilemma’s and realize that they have helped you become a good or better person in the process.
I am a person who does not easily make friends. But those whom I do gain, I do my best to keep. Of all the friends I have made though, one of them stands out in particular. I think that the reason our friendship works so well and has become a very deep and solid friendship is because we have helped each other mature and deal with serious situations that not most people have to deal with. Ironically, you might say our friendship is a Godsend because it came at the lowest point in my life and came in the most unbelievable form. The internet. Due to the distance between us and the cost involved in a real, flesh and blood meeting, we have sufficed for the past 10 years with phone calls and internet chatting. I think the friendship works best because this way, we have no chance nor reason to judge each other in a way that could be damaging to our friendship. Instead, we have a friendship solely based upon trust, understanding, care, and support. Friendship can truly be found in the most unexpected places. What you do with it and how you nurture it will define the meaning of that friendship to both of you.
Of course we have to realize that friendship’s come to have different meanings and applications depending upon the gender of friendship. Women tend to have a majority of women as friends because of the similarities of life paths and experiences, the same goes for the men. However, when the two genders mix in the friendship pool, what we have is an equation for what hopefully will be the best form of friendship imaginable, a marriage and bonding of souls. But, do not mistake that to mean that being “lovers” is the same as being “friends”. In my opinion, lover’s are friends on a shallow basis. There is nothing that exists to create a friendship that may ultimately stand the test of time. Lucky are those who find “lovers” that can evolve into the deepest and truest meaning of friendship. Having a male friend helps women to understand how men think and how to deal with them. A woman with a male friend comes to understand gender differences and stereotypes that go along with it. The same goes for men. In the end, such a friendship is more of a learning experience than anything else for both genders.
On the other hand, there is nothing in the rulebook that says all our friends have to be bipedal human beings. Like I said before, friendship can be found in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected forms. This includes the most taken for granted companion of man, his pets. A dog or a cat takes the place of the non judgmental best friend that we all seek. Even though pets cannot advise us, simply having them there to listen and cuddle up to when we are troubled has been medically proven to have calming and positive effects on a person. You might say that they are the physical embodiment of the way God is a friend to everyone.
Friendship requires a very delicate balance of loyalty, honesty, and trust worthiness. As friend, we need to know when to break the bonds of the 3 characteristics of a friend if it means the difference between helping a friend survive or allowing them to implode beyond help. Nobody can say what the right mix is, a true friend will know when the right time to risk the friendship for the betterment of the other friend would be. And that will test the friendship and see how well it will survive, or not. It becomes difficult to deal with other people when we refuse to see ourselves in them. by allowing ourselves to view others as mirrors into our inner selves, we end up facing our own demons instead of running away from them.
Indeed, a true friend is someone who knows all our faults and shortcomings but likes us anyway. After all, friendship is all about learning from each other and helping each other become better versions of our individual selves and each other. Author Anne Perry once wrote in her novel No Graves As Yet that:
But isn’t the art of friendship very much the selecting of what is important and allowing some of the mistakes to drift away until we lose sight of them? We don’t forget so much as let the outlines blur, accept that a thing has happened, and be sorry.”
That, in my opinion, is the real meaning of Friendship and how it helps us attain ultimate perfection.
“What is Friendship? How To Make Friends, True Friends”. suite101.com. 2007. Web.