I've never met a stranger. Chatting and small talk come quite easily to me. I'm comfortable in most social situations. Because of this, I meet a lot of people. I probably meet more people during the course of a day than most meet in a week.

Are these people "friends?" Uhhhh, absolutely not! They are folks that I met. When do they become friends? Is it automatic upon meeting the second time? If we've shared a meal or a taxi? Does that make you my "friend?" Because you know some other people that i know (and they aren't friends either)? Because I run into you regularly? Because I "friended" you on Facebook? Because I've known you for years? Because we share a common enemy?

I take FOJ very seriously. You are either FOJ or you're not-there's no middle ground. Rarely do I have new friends, though I do have new acquaintances. Friendship is formed over time. There's a respect that comes with true friendship. There's the desire to want what's best for the other person. There's affection. There may even be some rifts, but when you hit a rift with a true friend, mutual integrity is still intact. There's an old saying that friends walk in when everyone else walks out.

Recently, I saw the devastating fallout of a woman discovering that someone she considered a friend really was not. The other person never considered her a friend, but merely an associate. So when she got clowned, there were severely hurt feelings.

BE VERY CAREFUL who you give the "friend" badge to. Don't throw out the term so loosely. Be mindful of who you let into your inner circle. True friends bring value to your life--if the person isn't bringing anything valuable to you, they probably are not a friend.

Your comments--priceless!
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3 Responses
  1. Madelyn Says:

    The internet has created so many new opportunities for meeting people. It's a great thing to be able to sit in one spot and reach out to people all over the world. However, it really does put the definition of "friend" to the test.

    On social networking sites like Facebook, you have "friends." I even heard Kenneth Blackwell, now hoping to become the head of the Republican National Committee, tell some of his opponents that he was more deserving of the post because he had more "friends" on Facebook.

    When you think about it, who are these friends, really? How many are true friends he can count on regardless of what's happening in his life? It is so dangerous to our psyches to consider people as friends before they really show themselves to be. But here's a guiding principle I have learned the hard way.

    Whether you meet someone on line or in person, you have to be yourself. You can't pretend to be someone else. If you proceed from there, acquaintances will come and go, but you will know that they have seen the best of who you are.

    And, at the end of the day, you know that you have remained true to yourself.

    Jewel, thank you so much for your most eloquent post.

  2. ~sunshine~ Says:

    You hit the nail on the head when you said, "True friends bring value to your life." I'm the exact opposite of you when it comes to meeting people. I am not comfortable in most social situations, and I spend a lot of time by myself. Over the years, I've learned several lessons about "friendship" and what it really means.

    It means that two people know each other. They take the time to learn about each other. They have conversations, laughter, sometimes arguments, but the mutual respect for the other's opinions and feelings always remains constant and in tact.

    That's what a true friend is...and I am SO blessed to be able to say that you are my friend. I love you Jewel :)

  3. teaescapade Says:

    What a great post. This is a topic of conversation that I periodically find my exploring. You are right, the "F" word is often thrown around quite casually, but when it really matters those friends are not there to depend on. Hence, the need for a true definition. Is a friend someone you have known for years, but don't talk to regularly? Is a friend someone you see regularly, but only on their terms when it is convenient for them? Is a friend someone who contacts you more often when they need something than they do to just check on you?

    I have deduced in this life that I probably only have 3 true friends and maybe 3 others that hover on the brink of being good friends. They are truly blessings and I cherish every moment we share. Exactly what I call the rest is undecided.

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