Friend – it’s one of the most overused, and perhaps even abused words in the English language. We often hear people call someone a friend, address him or her as one, and yet they may only have known each other for a very short period of time.
How often have you attended either a wedding or some other happy event, and witnessed dozens, or even more, of so – called friends in attendance at the affair? The reality is that in the wide variety of circumstances, each of us usually possess only a handful of true friends. There are probably three categories or classifications of friendship:
- A friend is someone who is loyal to you, through thick and thin;
- A close friend is someone who not only possesses the characteristics of a friend, but who is also a consistent ally, and perhaps even more essentially, a confidante.
- A friendly person or acquaintance – the loosest of all the relationships. Here the relationship lacks the intensity, loyalty and consistently of a friend. Of course the friendly person may, over time, become a friend but more often than not they are people we work with or simply come into contact with.
What Does it Take to Be a Friend?
In order for someone to become a friend, he or she cannot be the fair-weather variety. A real friend is there for you not only in good times, but also in lesser periods. Friends must be loyal, helpful, dependable, trustworthy, willing to maintain a confidence, and really care about you. It is often a rather steep height one must climb to reach the level of friend, but certainly not as high as to be considered a close one.
What is the difference between being a friend and a close one? Perhaps the most essential component for reaching this lofty relationship level is attaining the confidence needed to become a true and trusted, consistent confidante. In almost every individual’s case, there are very few that one is lucky enough to be considered part of this category. When we classify someone this way, it means we feel comfortable that we can tell him nearly anything, and feel confident that the individual will honor our confidence. This category of individuals are those that one develops a comfort level even closer than most familial relationships.
It is important for each of us recognize the difference between these relationship categories. How else can we intelligently determine our true level of confidence and trust we should maintain? We must also recognize that these levels often evolve, and must be evaluated on a regular, ongoing basis.