The F Word

To true friends who have always sided with us…even when we were in the wrong


The word “friend” is bandied about these days. It is used loosely to describe anyone with whom we talk casually on a frequent basis. Do we even know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance anymore? Do we realise that friendships are built over time? They are built through experiences, good and bad. They are grown by being each other’s support even when separated by miles and miles of land, air and water. A friend isn’t just someone we see everyday. A friend isn’t defined by their physical presence. There may be people we talk to, maybe we even confide in them. They may be good at keeping secrets but that just means that they can keep a secret, not that they’re a friend. I don’t care what people say; each and every relationship is about give and take and it just doesn’t work if it isn’t balanced. No one-sided relationship of any kind does.

I had an interesting conversation with my mother today. She made me realise that some personal relationships we build are seen by us as more than they really are. I have been so eager to have a support system around me, to have people I can depend on, rely on, to have as indispensable cogs in my life and to play a similar part in theirs that I have forgotten all those people I knew who were friends, who stood by me through thick and thin. Those were people I could really count on. They were people who did not let distance get in the way. They were friends who could make me feel better by just knowing what to say to me over the phone, no matter what I had done or what had happened.

Friends don’t leave your side when you are in the wrong. They are people who would go out of their way and inconvenience themselves for you without you having to ask. They will stick up for you even when you are not around. Friends will crack jokes that make you laugh and laugh with you, not at you. They will understand when you tell them that you were hurt by something they said and it will not be “a big deal”. Friends will understand you and your intentions. They will tell you when they think you’re doing something you shouldn’t, but will stand by you through it, no matter what your decision or action.

It is unfortunate when they move away and you can’t see them as often as you would like to. Take heart in the fact that they aren’t gone forever. Your friendship remains intact and when you need them, they will be right there to offer you words of comfort, of kindness, of support, of love. It is not entirely impossible: Sometimes albeit rarely you can strike gold and make a friend who instantly belongs to the precious few you should hold on to. But when you discover that someone you thought was a friend is simply an acquaintance exaggerated, well, is that really a friend you’ve now lost?

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