Thank You for Being a Friend

How do you define the word friend?

Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, we use the word “friend” a little more loosely. Random person you met at that one college party and never talk to again…friend. Then there’s that person you never talked to in high school that you only want to be nosy and know what they’re doing…friend.

Really?

Really?!?

That’s not a friend. Don’t fool yourself. Just because you have 500 friends on Facebook doesn’t mean you have 500 friends in real life. Not in the traditional sense. Not in the real sense. Webster’s defines friend as a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. Check out the synonyms though:

Friend refers to a person with whom one is in contact. An acquaintance is someone recognized by sight or someone know, though not intimately. An associate is a person who is often in one’s company, usually because of some work, enterprise or pursuit in common. A friend is a person with whom one is on intimate terms and for whom one feels a warm affection.

Now take a close look at the relationships you have. Most of them aren’t friends…but rather acquaintances or associates. I don’t know if we use friend more loosely because of Facebook or simply because it’s easier to say. Maybe because it’s really awkward to introduce someone as your acquaintance.

I want to genuinely hang out with my friends. I want to stay in contact with them by any means necessary-social media, email, telephone, handwritten letter, telegraph…whatever. I know things about them- their interests, dislikes, what their family is like, where they’re from, and when their birthday is (without needing to check Facebook first). I’m willing to be their for them, in the good times and the bad.  By using this definition, and not Facebook’s definition, I have a few friends and many acquaintances.  And that’s okay Some feel the need to claim that they have 500 friends. Not me. And some people really do consider all 500 of those people a friend. And it’s very likely that becoming friends can occur by confirming a friendship on Facebook. That click may be the beginning of something that leads to a real-world friendship. But just clicking the button and never thinking of that person again in no way or form makes you friends with a person.

A friendship is a treasured gift, one that can’t happen simply by clicking a button.

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