There are folks you’ve known for many years, had their kids over to play with your kids, spent time with them at work, and you may even have been on the receiving end of a favor or two. Does that make them a friend — or an acquaintance? You may be asking yourself, why does that matter? The fact is, if you don’t know the true meaning of friendship, can you be a real friend?
Friendship Is Like Marriage
Good friends place a high value on their relationships and actively invest in their friendships. According to Ambrose Bierce, the American writer, an acquaintance is “A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.” As you review the list below, ask yourself, “How many true friends do I have?”
- You bring out the best in your friend and make him feel good about himself.
- You’re delighted for your friend’s happiness and never envious of her success.
- You put your friend’s needs ahead of your own and know that your kindness will be reciprocated one day. But you never keep score. Your joy comes from giving.
- You’re willing to do anything for your friend — even when it’s inconvenient.
- If your friend needs something, you jump right in, but you know when to back off and never force your will on him.
- You make your friend feel at ease — no judging. Your friend can be herself with no need to put on a show.
- You’re happy just to be in your friend’s company. You don’t need to be entertained to have a good time.
- You’re comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with your friend. You’re also good at being a sounding board — being all ears if required.
- You don’t sugarcoat bad news. You tell it like it is — even if it hurts.
- Your friend’s behavior is so reliable and consistent, you can predict his words and actions. That strengthens trust between you.
- You know your friend like the back of your hand. In fact, you know each other so well, it feels like you can communicate without talking.
- Even though you and your friend don’t always see eye-to-eye, you respect your friend’s opinions. You can fiercely debate issues and still walk away as friends.
- You have total faith in your friend. You watch her back — in good times and bad — and never have to second-guess her motives.
- Time and distance have little if any bearing on your relationship. You can be separated from each other and then pick up right back where you left off.
- You are very protective of your relationship. You’d never take your friendship for granted or do anything to jeopardize it.
- Last, but not least, you share common interests and values. Principles form the heart of every successful relationship and can ultimately determine its success.
Real Friendships Are Priceless
Some folks gloat over the number of friends they have and treat popularity as a gauge of self-worth. Others measure the depth of their friendships, knowing that relationships are the real treasure in life. The bottom line is, don’t count your friends — count on them. While the number of friends may feed your ego, it will never satisfy your heart.
The question remains, can you develop meaningful relationships with a zillion friends? Only you know the answer for sure. Friendships require significant investment and sacrifice. But there’s nothing more rewarding than a true friendship. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Treat your friendships like a valuable treasure. Possessions wear out; relationships are forever.
Is Your Friend Really an Acquaintance?
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I’m happy to make your acquaintance. Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.