I am honored to say that I have a great many people that I call my friends. I have even been known to say that I can make friends with anyone. However, upon further examination, I wonder if this statement is true. I reviewed several definitions of the word ‘friend’ and found one I particularly liked; friend-a person you know well and regard with affection and trust. As I studied the words of this definition, I began to wonder if I really have a lot of friends or if I merely have acquaintances. It became obvious to me that the word ‘friend’ is used to describe those people that we come into contact with versus those people that we truly know, have affection for, and trust. So, what is the test of a friendship?
1. How well do you know your friend? Have you both shared memories from childhood, fears, challenges, successes, and goals? Do you know each other’s dreams and secrets that can be shared with no other? Have you discussed life and what it means to each other to be successful, happy, content? (If there was a Newlywed-Type game for best friends, would you win?)
2. Does affection exist in your friendship? Are you able to hug, shake hands, laugh, cry, share jokes, and even tell each other when one of you has something in your teeth? Are you able to ‘be yourself’ without hesitancy? Would you describe your friendship as ‘authentic’, real, and true? Would you describe your friend as genuine, caring, a trusted sounding board? Are you able to ‘just know’ when one of you needs the other? Do you hear yourselves constantly asking, “how do you always know…..”
3. Can you trust your friend? Can you tell your friend your deepest secret and know that it will never be spoken again? Are you able to have a conversation without analyzing your words, your actions, or your behavior? Would your friend support you if others were treating you poorly? Would your friend be honest with you in order to save you from embarrassment? (Even if it meant telling you that you really did look fat in that dress?!)
As I looked over this list of test questions, I realized out of all my friends, I really only have three people that are truly deserving of the title ‘Friend’. The others are acquaintances, people I know, people I may hang out with, or those that I might refer to as a friend (small ‘f’) of mine. But to describe someone as ‘my Friend’ (capital ‘F’) should be reserved for those few folks in my circle that I truly know well, have a deep sense of affection for, and can trust in a way that allows me to open up my heart without fear of judgment, ridicule, or criticism. A true Friend passes the test when their only expectaion of you is to simply be you!