Friendship is Not a Product

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The dictionary defines a friend as "a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection." There are many types of friends - we have colleagues that we work with; then there are acquaintances - people we know; classmates that we went to school with. But to be a true friend means being there not when it is convenient to you but being there for your friend. To be a true friend means that you are willing to give yourself not only through the good times, but also during the bad times. You could consider these types of people your best friends.

There is a Turkish Proverb that describes
friendship well: "A wise man remembers his friends at all times; a fool, only when he has need of them." For a person who remembers friends only when he needs them is a person who may not be a true friend to you. Friendship is a two way street, but some people seem to forget this.

In is book, How To Live In The Present Moment, Matt Morris gives a good description of how he sees a true friend: "A true friend will be there for you no matter what you're going through, no matter how strong the winds of adversity are, and no matter whom you are becoming - especially if it's a positive change for yourself."

I can remember my grandfather saying to me, "you can have lots of friends, but you are blessed by the true friends; the ones you can count on one hand." When you stop and examine your friends you will realize that true friends are usually one or two. Yes, we all have lots of friends, but the ones that we can depend on, no matter what is going on in our life are on one hand!

Encourage More
To be a friend means you offer
words of encouragement, you emphasize the strengths in others, and you accept the other person's weaknesses; in other words, you accept them for who they are.

A friend encourages us when we doubt ourselves. They can sometimes see what we cannot. When we are faced with challenges or issues in our life we can always talk with them; we don't have the fear of being criticized or judged by them. We can truly be our self and say what we are thinking without fear of what we have said being said to someone else.

Many people you meet throughout your work or though social activities may at first appear to be those that would be a good friend. You enjoy their company and seem to have many things in common. However, the real test comes when you really need them. Those that can respond to you without hesitation, or come to you despite the fact that they are really busy with their own lives are the ones that will stand out.

Not Just Someone You Know
Too many people feel that a friend is simply someone you go out with for fun and enjoyment, a party, a tea, a movie, or a sports event. This is not a true friend unless they have demonstrated the characteristics that have been described before. Others, who call themselves friends without really showing it are more like good acquaintances - do not confuse the two.

Recent events, that concern a friend, bring these points to the forefront. This is a person who beat the odds with severe drug abuse and remained clean for over fourteen years. But, after being married for nine years, he lost his wife who suffered a major heart attack. For him it was a time of heartbreak and sadness. He fell to pieces; he was unable to cope with the loss and unfortunately, returned to drug use. What he justified had all the hallmarks of those famous excuses that are everywhere when people are unable to cope. Now, do you just abandon him and let him fall to the bitter levels of drug use, or do you try and help him?

A Really Big Need
There was no question that I would not forsake or abandon him now; he had made it before and there was no reason he couldn't do it again. I do not profess to be a counselor, but I still constantly reinforce what he needs to do and do what I can by way of encouragement to once again help him become clean. This is a sad situation but a true friend helps even when times are tough and that is when a person in need really requires all those
attitudes and characteristics of a friend and not just a person who is there in the good times.

Not Always Easy
Friends are people you can count on to lend a hand,
help by simply sitting and providing a empathetic or sympathetic ear, who demonstrate through both action and words that they are around for the long haul.

Life will always provide challenges and it is of no concern, except to friends, that these
challenges may require a level of support. This support isn't about giving to receive anything; it is about caring, kindness and concern that is based in the genuineness of the person called a friend.

There are many
friendship poems that describe friends. One of our favorites was written by Dorothy C. Retsloff and it describes what being a friend means:
"Who will help you in the hour of sickness;
Who will lend you a dollar without deducting the interest;
Who will help you up hill when you are sliding down;
Who will defend you in the hour when others speak evil of you;
Who will believe in your innocence until you admit your guilt;
Who will say behind your back what he says to your face;
Who will shake hands with you wherever he meets you, even though you wear patches; and
Who will do all these things just because he likes you!"

In the end, we feel that to be a friend means giving freely and not expecting anything in return; being there in the good times and the bad times. What is your definition of a friend? Do you live up to your own definition with your friends? Be the friend that you want to see in a friend!

Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities."
William Arthur Ward

"The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away."
Barbara Kingsolver

"A true friend is somebody who can make us do what we can."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A friend is always loyal, and a
brother is born to help in time of need." Proverbs 17:17

"The glory of friendship is not in the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is in the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."
Proverb

"A friend is like father who scolds you, like mother who caress you, like sister who teases you, like brother who fights you, in short combine all worldly relations you will have a friend and that's what makes a friend above all relations. "
Dr. Amanullah

"I believe in angels, the kind that heaven sends. Iím surrounded by angels, and I call them my best friends."
Pamela Daranjo


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