Define Friend

I’ve recently noticed that my idea of what is a “friend” and what others view as a friend are two entirely different concepts.
For myself, I don’t count people as friends unless their lives concern me in some way. Friends are people I go out of my way to help, to console when needed and who I can count on to be there for me when I need the same.
I consider people that I share a passing interest with an acquaintance. These people are those that I can call up if I’m looking to party or go to an event with or what not whenever our interests align. They are people that I trust to have good company around for the occasion, but I don’t get involved in their life anymore than they do mine.
So where do you define “friend?” How is that determination made for you?

10 thoughts on “Define Friend

  1. Dave Jag says:

    [I have found, quite sadly, that you never really know who your friends are (real friends, not acquaintances). The most friends I ever thought I had coincided with when I was elected to a high administrative position in a non-profit organization in which we all volunteered. I honestly believed my relationships with these people would far outlast the organizaion itself. Not even close. After over a decade of service I resigned my position and it became evident that they weren’t so interested in me… just what I could do for them. It’s pretty obvious when they start throwing parties and you’re not even invited. Good friends indeed.
    I have lost BEST friends of over 40 years because of something I posted on Facebook… specifically, I “liked” an organization that took a political position they disagreed with. That’s it. Prior to that, I would have sworn on a stack of Bibles that these people were my only true friends and would take a bullet for me. After all, we had been through all of lifes ups and downs together: marriage, babies, and funerals.

    My advice is to just “be aware”. The level of national intolerance out there is getting dangerous. People are much more apt to identify with “groups” now (i.e. Occupy Wall St.” than with individuals and individual concepts. I’m not saying you don’t have any real friends, I’m just saying that you probably don’t know who they are yet. It seems that friends have become like jobs used to be. Most people had the same ones for their whole life. Like so much of our society, it seems that even our “friends” have become disposable and self-serving, so perhaps we need to redefine the word in those terms.

    Sorry… didn’t mean to be “Captain Bringdown” on a Friday. No wonder I have no friends! 🙂

  2. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [My girlfriend recently said to me, “You call to many people your best friend,” and then proceeded to ask me where I defined someone as a best friend and someone as a friend; and I guess in this circumstance I suppose then what I would consider an acquaintance.

    A best friend is typically someone who I believe I can turn to regardless of whether I’ve been “dealt an awesome hand” or “have to fold the hand” in life. For me, a best friend could fall in the lines where I know I could contact them with the simple statement of “I’m bored and need something to do,” and they are fine with that. Perhaps I’ve been a bit loose in my use of ‘Best Friend’ but it definitely has become a more specifically placed title as I’ve gotten older and people have come and gone in my life.

    Other friends are those whom I don’t really go to for the good/bad moments in life but we get together occasionally and hang out. Often these are people from my past that I know mainly through school (whether it be middle or high school or college)

    Then there are acquaintances, who are those people you know because of a particular event or circumstance. These people are mostly made up of people from work or any type of community events or teams that I may participate in. Largely people I don’t hang out with regularly and just call up saying “Hey let’s get a bite or catch a movie.”

  3. Maracuya says:

    [I’m similar to Margaret. I don’t have a good amount of friends, but a handful of really close ones I turn to for heart-to-hearts and hanging out often.

    A couple of my friends who had lived abroad/were from other countries–Japan and Germany in this case–said that when they were told that Americans were perceived as super (maybe too?) friendly because they called everyone their friend. Like, there’s someone at work I get lunch and chat with, thus they are my friend. Whereas the people in that country were much stricter in their definition, closer to Metacognition’s way of thinking and it just showed culturally. You don’t get to call someone by their first name until you’re pretty much besties, or when you’re called a ‘friend’ it actually is something unusual. I found it an interesting.

    That said, I’m not so strict on my definition, but I like when I’m someone’s friend who considers a close friendship special.

  4. Dennis Hong says:

    [As I referenced on the other blurb, to me, friendship falls on a spectrum. Therefore, trying to draw the distinction between “friend” and “acquaintance” would be like trying to draw the distinction between, say, red and orange on a rainbow. Yes, you know where it’s definitely red. Yes, you know where it’s definitely orange. But where’s the line separating them? There isn’t.

    Same with friendships. You don’t just suddenly click over from acquaintance to friend. There’s a gradual progression from people who are basically strangers to, well, your soulmate, for lack of a better term.

  5. Happy Pants says:

    [Simply put, friends are people you can count on, and if I can’t count on you, you’re not really a friend.

    I grew up in the same place my whole life, so from the age of 2 to 14, I had the same core group of friends, which was awesome. Then I made a few more great friends in high school, including my BFF/hetero-life-partner/sister-from-another-mister. They will be friends of mine for life, and a couple of them will be bridesmaids in my hypothetical-but-I-hope-it-actually-happens-some-day wedding. These are friends I can come to when I get into trouble or need somewhere to vent, need to hide a body, need an honest opinion, or just need to get drunk and forget about things.

    In college, I had another core group of friends; same deal. But I also met a lot of people I considered friends then but don’t really now, simply because we’re not really in each other’s lives anymore. If they wanted to hang out or if I get invited to a party, I’ll try to make it, but I don’t feel an obligation to go.

    Because I moved around a lot after college, it wasn’t easy for me to make new friends—real friends, that is. A couple of them here and there, but for the most part, I didn’t get close enough to anyone for long enough to consider them “true” friends. In conversation, I’ll probably refer to them as friends because it’s easier than saying “this girl I met in Paris through a friend who’s dating this guy I met through this other friend”. And living in NYC, you meet a LOT of people, and everyone is everyone else’s friend, but no one really wants to actually fulfill the role of a friend.

    I do have to say, though, once you are my friend, it’s hard for me to “break up” with you, unless you do something to offend me horribly, or hurt me.

  6. MargieCharles says:

    [I had this conversation with some coworker friends a few months into my new job. I brought up in conversation how I had few friends in real life (I’m much more of a “quantity over quality” type person), and some of my coworkers jokingly said something like, “Oh, gee, thanks. What does that make us?”

    Then I had to do some serious backpedaling and say that I usually count someone as a friend friend once we’ve hung out outside of work or the classroom. It’s not my fault they never invite me to go do stuff!

    I think for me it’s also different because I’m a huge homebody. I love my solitude and I love being by myself, so if I actually take the time to make plans with people and leave the house then I know they must be important to me.

    But I have friends aplenty on the interwebz.

  7. Solstice says:

    [To me, a friend is someone I enjoy spending time with. A person whose company I enjoy. I don’t always get to hang out with people I consider friends, but I consider them friends nonetheless. Sometimes they live far away, etc. Then there are some people who are close friends, who I make the effort to hang out with more often. But close friends can also live far away. It can get quite confusing!

  8. ebees says:

    [I don’t really have high standards for who I consider a friend. If we enjoy each other’s company and make an effort to hang out with one another, I would call them my friend. I do think it would be better if people took their friendships a bit more seriously though. When you have a real friend connection and spend a lot of time with someone, its hard when you realize that while they will always be there to gossip with you and go out on Fridays, they will not truly be there for you when they don’t feel like it. You shouldn’t feel like a needy bitch when you ask your friends to go out of their way for you when you need it–there should be a mutual support system in place where you know that you will be there for them and they will be there for you, regardless if whether or not it is currently convenient. I only have a couple of friends that I really feel like I can count on.

  9. BreckEffect says:

    [I guess I feel like I have a lot of friends. I have a lot of people that I enjoy and that add something to my life, and vice versa (at least, I assume the feeling is reciprocal!). There are not that many people, however, that I would drop everything to go help, or that I would call on in my darkest hour, or to whom I would pour my heart out, or with whom I feel like I share a really special, close bond. Those people are few and far between, and I cherish them.

    I agree with some of the above commenters in that a lot of friendships happen because of convenience, shared environments, etc. It doesn’t make them less real, or less important, but…maybe my philosophy is a bit different than other people’s, but not every friendship is meant to go the distance. Sometimes, someone’s role in your life, or yours in theirs, is limited in nature or duration and that’s ok. It doesn’t negate the time you shared or what you learned from each other.

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