Do you have “real” friends?

What constitutes a real friend? What I mean is, does anyone know what the word friend means anymore? Wikipedia says this:


“Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association are often thought of as spanning across the same continuum. The study of friendship is included in the fields of sociology, social psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and zoology. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, among which are social exchange theory, equity theory, relationaldialectics, and attachment styles.

Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:

  • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart
  • Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support
  • Enjoyment of each other’s company
  • Trust in one another
  • Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.
  • The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement.
  • It is very important to have honesty, trust, sympathy, respect and helpfulness in friendship.”

You can find various forms of friendship across most species. But I truly believe that in todays society, “friendship” is something that is lacking. Now, I am not talking about the Mommie and Me group meeting friends that you see once a week, or the Spin class girls that are great fun to talk to, but a true friend. One that hits the bullet points above without breaking a sweat.
1. The tendency to desire what is best for the other.. 
In other words, a friend does not feel jealous or competitive but is really happy for the achievements that others have done. They want what’s best for you, even if you may not see it at the moment. They will take the time to try and get you to understand their point of view without pressure.
2.Sympathy and empathy
A lot of people are misunderstand these traits. Illness and death are super hard to talk about and consoling someone experiencing these things is next to impossible. But we need to try! Bringing your friend food and then leaving, may not be what they need. They may need a person willing to just sit and LISTEN. We don’t need to say anything, just listen. Or maybe they won’t want to talk at all…. they may just want you there for comfort. Friends should know each other well enough to gauge this in the other.
3.Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth
Being brutally honest is one thing, but having the courage to hold your friend accountable is a good thing.
4.Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support..
I hit on this in number two. Women especially need to have someone that they trust will understand with compassion.
5.Trust in one another…& Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.
HUGE, HUGE,HUGE!!!!!! I believe that many people take others trust too lightly. Things that are told in passing or in confidence should never be offered as conversation to others.
6.The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement…
To be able to speak to someone (other than your spouse) without fear of judgement…what an amazing concept!

As I write this, I look at my life at this moment and realize that I do not have many that I would consider a true friend. I have MANY wonderful acquaintances, but not true friends. My Grandparents would get together with friend a couple nights a week. They would play, dominoes or cards, laughing and joking well into the night. They’d go on vacations with their friends. They’d have BBQ’s with their friends. They’d drop everything to rush to a friend who needed them. They made it a priority to have friendships. What happened??? Have we become so self absorbed that we feel we don’t need this anymore? I watched my children, now fully grown, struggle all through school AND beyond with friendships. When they were little, they’d look up at me and ask “Why can’t I find a friend who likes ME?”  Talk about a heart breaker! I’d sit there hugging and crying with them, assuring them that it would change. But will it? Does anyone know how to be a friend anymore? Is anyone willing to take the time and EFFORT it will take to build a relationship like that? I hope so…

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