Friendship: A Definition and Purpose

BY KIMBERLY JAHNS

To preface this article, I do not think I am the perfect friend by any stretch of the imagination. I try to be a good friend, but there are always ways to improve and no one is perfect. And with that, I will begin.

The characteristics that I enjoy in my friendships are: being able to talk to this person about anything, not having to put on a façade for the person, ugly crying, sweatpants all the time, no judgement and, most importantly, knowing that my friends are there whenever I need them and I will be there whenever they need me. There are differences in every friendship, but I feel like this is a basic definition of friendship.

The definition of what being a friend implies seems to be quite simple: respect, trust, love and other cliché attributes. Yet actually putting these into action seems to be equivalent to climbing Mount Everest for some people. One can simply say they will be there for you when you need them, but if you call them at 4 a.m. asking to be bailed out of jail, will they actually be there?

I believe that trust is one of the most important characteristics in friendships. Realizing whom you can and cannot trust really determines the entire friendship. I have friends who will tell me seemingly anything, but when I tell them one secret, they end up telling five different people. It’s not that I will immediately destroy the friendship I have with this person; I just realize my inability to tell this person anything.

Keeping secrets, although this seems very middle school, is very important to me as well. There are certain parts of my life that I need to talk about but do not need the world to know. If I were having trouble with a class, I would not want my entire group of friends to know my struggles. I would rather just discuss it with one friend.

Telling a single person your secrets also strengthens the friendship. The fact you are able to trust this person enough with this top-secret information is like being asked to join the FBI.

Not being judged for your mistakes is also a nice friendship bonus. I know the look in someone’s eye when they are judging me; I don’t need to see that look from a good friend. I know I make foolish mistakes and sometimes think completely illogically, but I do not need to remember these facts. My good friends listen and try to get on my level of crazy and calm me down. Even better friends just stay at the crazy level with me and let me enjoy the fun parts of life.

We are all unsure of the world, of our lives and of our path, but it’s nice to find someone who is able to go along that journey with you. I think this poetic verse sums it up very eloquently: “I believe in angels, the kind that heaven sends. I believe in angels but I call them my best friends.”

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