Each of us has our own unique ways of defining friendship, a relationship which is established on the foundations of love and understanding. Biblically, a friend is defined as a person who offers love to another. It further describes friendship as an amalgamation of three different components- association, loyalty, and affection. As we evolve as individuals and progress in time, the value and strength of friendship as a relationship between two persons takes up shape solely on the basis of these distinct attributes.
During the days of childhood, the term ‘friend’ would be restricted to referring to the playmate, the companion at school from whom one could seek help with the homework, share lunch with during recess breaks and be punished with for the mutual charges of having been too talkative in the classroom.
However, as we grow up and mature as individuals, the responsibilities expected of a true friend surpasses its own limitations and influences one’s life in ways more than just being a partner in crime. The role of a true friend not only lies in being the bearer of secrets of an individual but also in encouraging one to rise beyond one’s own shortcomings in the need of the hour and be a constant support when one achieves success.
A true friend is not just the person with whom we could hang out whenever we would want to or talk to throughout the day. A true friend is a person who will stand up for us when we need support and will stand against us when we are at fault for us to learn to judge the situation. In the modern world, the influence of social networking has been so significant that anyone who chooses not to be a part of this social cycle, appears to be invariably out of touch with most other friends.
However, it is very necessary for us to realize at a stage like this, that social networking may serve as the platform for connecting with long lost friends but often may be mistaken as friendship for a mere acquaintance. I would be wrong if I said that all of the friends we make through social media are not genuine or caring enough, but most of them may just be a well-wisher but not ideally be a true friend, now that we know it’s real meaning.
Having described the various perspectives of friendship, it is equally important to acknowledge the love and strength we derive from every true friend we make. The individual who is ready to give it all to stand up for us and be with us when we need it the most also deserves a friend who would be as informed and observant of similar situations that one experiences. Being a good listener and making some compromises for a true friend should not even be near to making one feel embarrassed or awkward about.
The comfort of being at one’s truest self and to have the liberty of being one own self is probably the most demanding aspect of true friendship. Communication definitely strengthens the trust and understanding between friends but it is not the only determining factor to define the strength or beauty of this relationship. A friend could perfectly be a person with whom we do not have many photographs captured but have wonderful memories with.
Many people believe that it is impossible to find a true friend at the place of work or with people with whom we share a professional relationship. I believe that is a very shallow approach towards understanding the term friendship if it is to be solely defined by the position or authority our friend holds at work or the difference in the package that both be offered.
To be able to value the true meaning of a healthy friendship, one must be able to relate or interact with an individual keeping the professional front aside. The friendship between two matured individuals is accounted for by priorities irrespective of the formal professional associations they may hold. The difference in opinion or choices will never be reason enough for the failure of a true friendship between two individuals.
The ability to decide between right and wrong is also influenced by a large extent to the company we keep. Social concerns such as addiction, criminal activities or acts of inhumanity or immorality are often attributed to the conduct of an individual due to peer pressure. However, before such completely judgemental remarks are made, it must be understood clearly that the friend that a person makes is solely based on one’s own understanding, belief and admiration of a person and it is, therefore, equally important for the individual to choose friends intelligently.
Today in a world of competition and priorities, the depth of this relationship may have been overpowered by feelings of arrogance, jealousy, anger, pride, and selfishness. However, a true bond of friendship never gives way to the above feelings and is a rather a protective shield that enables the personal growth of an individual. A true friendship is not affected by any discrimination based on one’s religion, caste, creed, and color. Going back to the origin of the word friendship, which is unknown to many of us, it is characterized by unconditional love and trust that is established between two people.