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Friend is another word for love

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Do you ever wonder where friends come from? It seems obvious. Neighborhoods, schools, churches, workplaces, all fertile ground for growing friendships, but why then aren’t our Christmas card lists the size of a twentieth century Manhattan phone book? Do we not have enough friends? Do we have too many? How did those we call friends earn that coveted title?


As children, friends were everywhere! Everyone was a friend. If you weren’t an adult, you were a friend. Twenty years after high school, most people would find it difficult to name many who shared their graduation stage and few, if any, will be invited to this year’s holiday open house. Did we become unfriendly? Have our likes and dislikes changed so dramatically that people we once shared more time of the day with than our own families are now but vague memories”


The Facebook definition of friend notwithstanding, there are as many definitions of “friend” as there are dictionaries. But all of them include the words “trust” and “affection.” It has nothing to do with growing up on the same street or weathering the same algebra tests together. It’s not a matter of having similar interests or enjoying the same hobbies. It’s even not enough just to like or be liked by someone. There must also be trust to build a friendship relationship.


Trust is also needed to maintain friendships. Maintaining the intimacy of a friendship can be one of the hardest things one may take on. Rarely do friends see each other every day or if they do, it may be in a capacity other than as a friend. Friends can also be neighbors, coworkers, siblings, or cousins. Although they will always fill those other roles, they may not always be called upon to be a friend. When a friend is called upon to be a friend, one trusts that the friend to be there, ready and available.


Affection is also important in establishing and maintaining friendship, as important as establishing and maintaining physically intimate relationships. The various dictionaries consulted don’t quibble about what constitutes affection. They all include the traits of fondness, attachment, devotion, and caring. Devotion and caring are what turn acquaintanceships into friendships, turning liking someone into loving them, loving as in the Greeks’ philia love.


That Diem and Michael are friends defies most people’s idea of friendship. They don’t have a similar cultural or ethnic background; they don’t have a string of common likes. Although not of different generations they are sufficiently apart in age that they could be pushing generational boundaries and had they grown up on the same street would not have played together. They did not go to school together, go to the same church, shop in the same stores, work in the same building, or relax in the same park. They, in fact, live on opposite sides of the country and rarely even see other. Yet ask either and both will say the other is a dear and true friend, one they are fond of, attached and devoted to, and cared for. And that’s not unusual. A quick check with a handful of others reveals every one has a friend whose connection cannot be explained. Some circumstance brought them together and they never fell apart.


The amazing thing about friendships is not that they form, even against most odds. It is that they are sustained. It takes work to grow and protect friendships from falling apart. As we already noted, friends are not always physically together. We suggest three steps to maintaining and even growing friendships. Be honest.

Be available.

Be caring.

Being able to honestly make time for, respond to, and interact with our friends is truly appreciated. The ability is to be there when you are needed before you know you are needed is a powerful component of true friendship. Providing the emotional support that one needs from another without an expectation of reciprocation demonstrates how deeply you care for each other. Honesty and availability are key in maintaining trust in friendships. Caring reflects the affection friends feel for each other.


Do you ever wonder where your friends came from, and why they stay with you? Build and maintain your friendships with honesty, availability, and caring. It doesn’t matter if they live across the street or across the country. It matters you that you are devoted and caring.


Be honest. Be available. Be caring. That’s what friends are for.



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