What is a friend?

I consider myself to be blessed with some of the best girlfriends in the entire world. You know who you are. We’ve grown up together and have been through the good, bad and ugly. We entered adulting clueless and years later we still have each other to lean on and be clueless with. For that I’m grateful.

In the days of social networking, it’s easy to throw around the term “friend” loosely. Especially with everything we post, and perhaps even overshare sometimes, our “friends” have a window into our everyday lives. Our friendships now take on different meaning and we’re constantly being observed, to the fault of technology and our increasingly vain culture. We now have Facebook friends, a relatively new category of friends, in addition to our regular friends, good friends and best friends categories.

Last week my best friend sent me a text asking “How did I get so lucky to have such amazing friends?” I replied, “You’re not lucky, the only way to have a friend is to be one. And you my dear are a great one.”

So what is a friend? How do you define true friendship? No matter the category, here’s a few lessons I’ve learned from mine over the years.

  •  A friend will always call you back. If they don’t, something’s wrong.
  • A feud between your friends isn’t likely to last forever, so don’t pick sides.
  • When your friend is venting, don’t chime in. Let them do the talking.
  • If you haven’t had a fight yet, you haven’t known each other long enough.
  • A friend will never, ever call you out or embarrass you in front of others.
  • A friend will enjoy your company no matter what you’re wearing or how unwashed your hair is, even in public.
  • A friend will let your two days of PMS awful mood slide – it’s not them, it’s you.
  • Friends never tell your secrets, and never repeat things you told them in confidence. If you don’t know whether or not it was told in confidence, always assume yes.
  • A friend won’t try to compete with you, rather encourage you in your endeavors.
  • A friend will fight with you over the check.
  • A friend always thinks of you as their equal.
  • A friend will always say thank you.
  • A friend will see you struggling in an exercise class and help you do the routine.
  • A friend will always be appreciative and get you back for what you do, even two-fold.
  • A friend will always help you out in a bind, sometimes without you having to ask.
  • A friend knows when you’ve had too much alcohol, and not enough alcohol as well.
  • Friends understand that each other’s company is more important than gifts.
  • A friend will never go out with your ex, and will encourage you not to go back out with yours as well.
  • Even the best of friends will sometimes forget your birthday – get over it.
  • A friend will always let you know what outfit they’ve chosen to go out in, so you can coordinate your level of dressing up.
  • A friend will always ask you if you’re OK with a picture before posting to social media.
  • A friend never asks you for a discount in business.
  • A friend always helps with dishes after a meal.
  • Friends will never tell you gossip they hear about you, and deny the truth of that gossip directly to the source and defend you.
  • A friend will include you, no matter what.

I could go on and on with my list, but I wanted to highlight some wisdom that my many friendships have taught me. Over the years I’ve gotten to know many great people. Some I remain close with and I have drifted apart from, but they’re still special to me. No two friendships are the same or perfect for that matter. There will always be give and take, compromise and understanding. If you’re lucky to have great friends, hold on to them and never let go.

“Good friends are one of life’s blessings. Don’t give them up without a fight” – Harriet the Spy

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