Thursday, September 24, 2015

Friends

Recently I had the occasion to share my views on friendship with ... well, with a friend.
I know that we all have our own ideas of who our friends are and who considers us to be a friend.

For this post, I checked the Dictionary.com definition of friend. You can check it here.

I tend to use the first definition and am probably a little heavy on the area of personal regard. There just aren't that many people I hold in high esteem or have a lot of personal regard for. I think that most people either have a lower threshold for the personal regard status or perhaps, they are more likely to use definition number 3 when considering friendships, using people that they are on good terms with or are not their enemies.

I like to explain my views on friendships this way:

Choosing friends is a very personal thing. We all get to choose our friends with little input from others. You can't refuse to be my friend anymore than I can demand to be yours. Some people consider pretty much everyone they know to be their friend (the #3 definion). I tend to be at the other extreme and have precious few friends. Most people probably fall somewhere in between.

Along with getting to choose our friends, we get to establish the parameters of our friendship. For some, friendships tend to be very casual. Others would go to the ends of the earth for their friends. Again, most probably fall somewhere in between the extremes.

Of course, in today's world there are those that fall into the #6 definition ... friends on social networks.

While I tend to be a hard judge when it comes to choosing friends, I tend not to worry at all about whether or not someone considers me to be their friend. I am sure that there are people that consider me to be their friend and I do not share the idea that they are my friend. By the same understanding, I know that there must be people that I consider to be my friends that probably don't think of me as their friend.

We only get to control what we control, and not what other people control.
Consequently, acts of kindness and thoughtfulness towards our friends should never be expected to be returned or reciprocated; those actions are not in our control. If we act kindly so that others will return the kindness, then we become more manipulative than friendly.

If we are only nice to people so that they'll be nice to us, are they really our friend?
If they are only nice to us out of a sense of obligation, are we really their friend?

There are people that I respect a great deal and hold in high regard that I don't consider friends because we don't have a real personal connection. Think along the lines of a professional respect (def. #2). I may only interact with them as pastors, church members, controllers, etc., but not have any other kind of life connection.

By the definition #3, I have lots of friends (I think)!
By definition #6, I have fewer friends than I once had.
By definition #1, (sigh) I am a pretty lonely man.

By the way, people don't have to be our friends for us to be friendly. We should always try to be friendly...even if we aren't friends!
How we treat others says more about us than it does about them.

John <><

5 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

John, those are very discerning words about friendship. Terms like "friend" and "unfriend" on Facebook make me cringe.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Internet friends count. I consider you one!

John Hill said...

Thank you, Heidi!
That made me smile.

It's true, there is a kinship that we feel with our internet friends. There are several bloggers that no longer blog and I miss their presence on the internet.

Sometimes I think that I would like to actually meet many of the bloggers that I follow, even though I doubt that will happen.

A couple are also Facebook friends and I follow a few blogs via twitter. I know that several follow my blogs via twitter, as well.

Thanks for considering me to be your internet friend. You are mine, as well!

Duckbutt said...

I like your steadiness and wise words, John!

Mike said...

So we need to get Bilbo to come to St. Louis and we'll all meet at Ted Drewes.