I have found over the years that our existence on this planet is all about connections. We connect to coworkers, family and our soul mate. We connect at the gym, the ballpark, and even the grocery store line; often times attempt to parlay the briefest encounter into much more than it’s suppose to be, all searching for a long and meaningful connection. As I too seek out relationships outside of myself and from those I already have, I am struck by how freely and frequently the newly discovered uses the word friend. Can you be a friend in T minus sixty seconds?
You wont have to wait for this punchline, absolutely…maybe. The word friend has many meanings if you look it up in Webster’s Dictionary; from a person you are attached to by affection or esteem, one that is NOT hostile, to a favored companion and a person who you like and enjoy being with. I had to emphasize not hostile because often times I hear people assert friends are the ones that love and hurt you the most, and I always called bullshit on that one. If you can hurt me you can’t care about me as a friend because why would a real friend want to see the other hurt?
Moving to the real, I said maybe because I have had a connection with my still best friend that was completely out of left field and was instant. We just vibed and while I knew him after a week less than I knew my favorite waitress at my regular sushi restaurant, I knew in those first few days he was my friend. On the flip side I have associates I have known and interacted with for months and years I still couldn’t slap a friend label on through no fault of their own. I enjoy their company but in spurts. We laugh and they have never hurt me, were never hostile, and were always encouraging but I just got stuck when I thought of referring to them as a friend. I have even gotten irritated when I’ve just met someone, hung out a few times and they asserted we were friends without even knowing my last name. The word friend gets through around too much it can sometimes lose its meaning; but then again who really is defining a friend for you?
I use to be the one craving new “friends” every day. I would meet someone and enjoy the two or three house that we had, slapping a friend label on them in my mind and rushing to make it an actual thing. I’ve move beyond that, as many of those attempts ended in stress or just faded away. For me a friend isn’t an action that is planned and executed, it’s developed by the universe and at the pace it’s suppose to be. For me a friend is family and that connection is deep to the soul. I do feel it can be known in an instant but must be nurtured over time. For me a friend doesn’t have to be at the same level as other friends in my life. I have movie friends I’ve tried to develop more of an all around, do everything friendship with that I had to realize wasn’t the purpose of our meeting in this life. I have wine and conversation friends that would never be able to sit through my double feature movie and shopping day, and I wouldn’t want to ruin the time we spend attempting to morph them into something else.
All this is to say your definition of friends is your our. You interaction with them is a gift and time will tell what kind of gift they bring to you and vice versa. Yeah, I’m being a bit picky and silly with my annoyance with how friend is just bandied around without a true regard for the depth a friend that is nurtured can have on your life. In the end it’s always our choice and journey. I would say understand the “friend” you have and their meaning before it becomes, well, a bit off.