A basic definition of friend is a person you know with a mutual affection between you. Seems so simple, and at the same time, it can become quite complex. Complex? How is that? Well, not everybody is my friend. Especially someone that I do not share ANYTHING with! Or someone I only know about through another person, so I don’t have the experience of engaging in conversation and life events with them.
Then, in a big pool of people I know, not everyone will become my friend. You see, another part of the definition of friend is one who is attached to another by affection or esteem. A friend must become someone who shares a level of kindness and respect towards me. A person who belittles me; a person who is ashamed of me; a person who ignores me; a person who uses me for their own personal gain; a person who abuses me…this person is not a friend. We are not engaged in a relationship of mutual affection or esteem for one another.
Now, I must say that friendship for a 5-year-old will be different than a friendship for a 55-year-old. And at the same time, even the 2-year-old begins to learn the basic concepts of kindness…that building block of relationships called “sharing.” In a friendship there is a mutual affection and esteem for one another—in other words, a shared affection and esteem.
Here is a beautiful vision of friendship at its highest level:
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Living this expat life and having to navigate many changes over the past 7 years, friendship has been a major cornerstone in making it through! I have come to value the idea of friendship even more. Both to receive the supply of help and support that friends give and to be that avenue of supply and help for others! Learning to esteem the gifts in others and the value of their differences. I may not always want to agree or be in an extremely vulnerable relationship with some people, but, at the same time, I want to value them and to do them no harm.
So…let us think about FRIENDS. What kind of friend do we want to be and who do we actually bring into our world of friendship. Let us not cheapen this idea of being a friend by the influence of the social media concept of “friends”. Let us keep the higher vision in focus both in the friends we choose and in the friend we will be.
Cindy writes about her adventures, observations, and other nuggets from living in another nation. She and John live in SE Asia. She will also share nuggets from her 58 plus years of life.