“You can’t pick your family, but you can choose your friends.”

I have had such a hard time writing this one.  Welcome to the Writer’s Devotional, Day 35 where you’re supposed to define or at least talk about the nature of friendship.  I know it’s been a while since I did one of these, but it’s also long since been established that I sometimes have the attention span of a goldfish, so lets move on.

If you Google ‘what is the nature of friendship’, you will get half a dozen links to psychological and philosophy definitions and papers by university and grad students.  Because like so many things in this world, friendship is hard to define and nearly impossible to quantify.  Friendships also are very personal, so every one has a different meaning.  But I like to think there are a few universal truths when it comes to friendships and what defines a friend

  • someone you trust
  • someone you share common interests with
  • you care about their well being

I think most, if not all friendships fall within a person’s definition of these three things, because everyone’s definition of trust and what not is different.  And then of course there are varying degrees of friends and friendships.  I have friends that I have known for almost ten years, and therefore share a lot of history with them, so of course our relationship will be much closer and more intimate than those friends who I have only known for a few years.

And what of those friends who have betrayed or hurt you in some fashion, and you’re trying to patch things up?  No matter how long you’ve known them, you’re most likely not going to be as close to them as you once were because you may feel that you can never trust them as you have in the past.

I have friends that I have known for decades and years.  I have friends that I trust more than others for various reasons, and therefore I have friends that I am closer to than others, and care about more.  But the one thing that all my friends have in common is that I have learned from them.  I have learned patience, resilience, trust, caution, and a multitude of other things from them, and I like to think them from me.

In the end, I think that is the true nature of friendship.  They help us learn and grow as people, personally and within social settings.  I mean, lets face it.  Without friends we would most likely be shut up in our homes day and night, only venturing out to forage for food.