What is a friend? This definition seems good to me and describes a beloved few in my life:
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." - Anais Nin
I am what you could call selectively social. That is, in my private life, I have a few, intense, long-time friends rather than a vast collective of "networks". Some formative experiences caused me to be rather slow to trust and so, even people who consider me their friend often don't know a good part of who I am for a very long time, if ever.
Thankfully, I've been fortunate enough to accumulate friends over the years. There are the childhood friends who grew up with me back in the day. There is my High School friend. And there are the college friends. And then there are the Chiropractic college friends. And then there are my siblings who I am happy to now count as friends. In adulthood, as a doctor, making friends has been more challenging, but there are a couple doctors who are friends. It's a time thing, really. And I do have some friends now whose company and whose money I enjoy taking on a frequent basis.
Now, there are many people I consider "friends"--that broad category of people who are better-than-acquaintances level. And this is where things get dicey. For me, an acquaintance is like a business acquaintance, someone we've met but not someone we count as a friend or know that well. An acquaintance would not be, say, a friend we've lost contact with, however. That person would be a long-lost friend, who is just waiting to be reconnected. Unfortunately, I've allowed too many friendships like that wane. And with the advent of the internet, it has been possible to reconnect and rebuild.
In the blog world, I've made some acquaintances. Do these, mostly women, consider me a friend or an acquaintance? It's not a real "knowing" is it, communicating via email or reading someone's blog or even briefly chatting on the phone? In fact, I've been surprised a couple times when the voice didn't match the content. And, as it turns out, I've surprised others the same way. Such is the nature of the blog world.
A friend of mine suggested that I diminish the notion of friendship by calling so many people friends. I responded by saying that I felt truly fortunate and did indeed have many friends. For me, a friend fits this definition:
A true friend loves me despite my faults. She shows that love by keeping confidences and giving true advice and just listening. If I needed him or her, this person would come the instant I called. That instant, he or she would get on a plane, and come and be here with me, if it were at all possible. In absence of that, a friend would give me love, time, money, or whatever I needed to survive.Well, that does shorten the list of friends now that I think about it, but I still think that I have more people who are true friends, than I probably deserve.
How about you? What is your definition of a friend?