Friends, Acquaintances, Life….

calvinhobbes_friendsIt’s amazing to me.  A week ago I was tumbling down into the depths of an abyss, and yet a couple of days later, I found myself climbing a mountainside reaching for its heights!  Life is grand!  Especially, when you have such caring & loving true friends!!

What does the word ‘friend’ mean to you?

According to Dictionary.com, the definition is, “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.”

I am a very, very rich and lucky man!  I’ve always known that I have some very close people in my life that care very much about me and my well-being.  But, I never, never realized how so very much loved I am.  I always knew that a few of these people loved & cared for me, but the extent to which it went is still mind-boggling to me.  This may sound crazy, but I don’t see where I deserve that much attention.  I know that I’m good to my friends and will go out of my way for them and even beyond where most would go, but to have this returned in such great enormity defies comprehension to me.

I generally put myself out there and my life is an open book.  This is how I’ve always been.  I don’t believe in secrets and as most of my friends have heard me say at one time or another – “I yam what I yam” as Popeye would say.

So that you may understand more clearly, a little background may be in order.  I had found myself in a situation with a person who called themself a friend.  I truly believe that they were as much of one as they could be.  Unfortunately there came a comfort level of being friends for quite a while & I found myself being taken advantage of.  Yes, there were other feelings involved, but that’s really neither here nor there.  Because I believed in this person as a friend, I would elide over the many transgressions that occurred over this long period of time.  Unfortunately, this was to my detriment and I was deeply hurt.  And this is by someone that I considered a very close and dear friend who would be there for the rest of our days on this planet.  So for me, this has been a difficult pill to swallow.

I won’t deny that writing this is somewhat uplifting to me and kind of cathartic at the same time.

While on the way down its slippery slope it was difficult to see clearly, even though I thought I was being completely rational and realistic.  But with the help of ‘Friends,’ I was able to see the light more clearly in all its clarity.  It really just doesn’t get any better than that – does it!?!  What more can a person ask for?  As a friend wrote, “without lows, you can’t judge the highs.”

Our friends are so much more a measure of our wealth than dollars in the bank or any other materialistic goods.  You can’t put a monetary value on friendship!!  You can’t quantitate it.  Yet, at the same time, it’s not the quantity of the friendships that matters, but the quality of those that are really ‘true friends.’

What does the word ‘friend’ conjure up in your mind? To me the faces of the people that I love come to mind first.

Recently, in the Orlando Sentinel, there was an article A Friendly Reminder.

According to the article, “a 2006 study from the American Sociological Review reported that 23 percent of us don’t have a single close confidant, and nearly 20 percent have only one.  Clearly a confidant crisis, with nearly half of us in serious short supply. Over the past two decades, in fact, the number of Americans without even one confidant has tripled, and the average number of confidants has dropped from three to two.”

This boggled my mind.  I have a few friends that I am in contact with daily.  They know what is going on in my life as I do theirs.  Amongst them, there is one that we talk at length daily.  Before a dear friend passed away a couple of years ago, we always had out 10:30am talk and this went on for years.

So it amazes me and at the same time I have to come to the conclusion of how lonely of a society have we become.  Is this a result of progress?  Have we really lost so much of our interpersonal skills? Unfortunately, but technology, as I guess with everything else when you really look at it, appears to be a bane and bonus at the same time.

Where the problem then lies is with us!  Many of us have lost the art of conversation.  Many of us have tended to hide behind the keyboard rather than face-to-face communication.  It’s easier to text someone a simple phrase or two, rather than pick up the phone.  Why?  Wouldn’t you rather hear their voice and inflection? A text or email cannot show that inflection in their voice.  It can’t tell you if that person is happy or sad.  You can’t read those qualities.  It’s not like reading a book with descriptive text.  But it’s easier and for some it allows them to isolate themselves from being further involved in the other person.

Friendship vs. Acquaintance

Are you my Friend?  Do I know you? There are differently levels of friendship as well as there are different levels of love.

With the advent of social media and it’s ever growing popularity, it seems that these two terms have lost their particular meanings.  It seems that everyone is my friend or wants to be my friend on Facebook.  On Twitter, they are called followers, but are still referred to as friends.  Many people are carrying this over into everyday life calling everyone that they know a friend.  But are you really my friend?

The word ‘friend’ was generally known to be a noun, but is now used as a verb and is recognized as such in many dictionaries, as in ‘to friend’ and even ‘unfriend’ someone, especially on Facebook.  Now, granted, it has been used as a verb in that we would sometimes say ‘to befriend’ someone.  Also, while doing a little research, it’s been noted that the word ‘unfriend’ is not totally new in that it was used in the late 13th through 19th century as meaning an enemy.

The definition of ‘acquaintance’ is ‘a person known to one, but usually not a close friend.’

Some people are simply acquaintances. Some are “fair weather” friends. Some are friends when it’s convenient. There are some who are extremely friendly only when they need something from you.

Friendships don’t just happen. They require attention, nurturing, love and energy to create them and keep them alive.

True friends will not judge you and will easily forgive and have compassion & love for you. They will support you and help you shine.

What is a friend to you?

What do your friends mean to you?

I wish you the wealth of friends that I am so very lucky to have.  For without friends, what are we really? Can we exist without friends – Sure!  But what kind of life would that be – other than just an existence.  Granted, my friends do not define who and what I am, but they surely do tell a story of my life and how I’ve lived it.  I am such a very rich man and love my friends dearly!!

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