Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Redefining Friendship

Recently, I have asked myself the question - "What is a friend?"
When I was a child, I always thought a friend was someone who spent time with you, who enjoyed being with you, playing with you, coming to your birthday parties. I always thought a friend was someone who would drop everything to help you and be with you. I expected it to stay that way when I grew up. I was wrong.

Dictionary.com defines friend in several ways. I list the most relevant here:
noun
1.
a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2.
a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter
3.
a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile

Not one of these definitions says the friend always has to be there or want to spend time with you, though you would think that if someone has feelings of affection, supports someone, and is on good terms with someone they would want to spend time with them.

I feel like I don't really have any friends except for my husband because when I invite people to come to my house, to my birthday party or a cook out, they always seem to have excuses. I have felt like I'm being rejected. I've felt like these people who say they are my friends really are not my friends.

What I've come to learn is that there are different levels of friendship. I have a few best friends. My best friends are all related to me; my kids, my husband, my mom and dad, my mother-in-law, and my brothers (especially the brother who is closest in age to me). These are friends who will drop anything to help me out, who will spend time with me, who will show up at my cook outs and birthday parties unless something out of the ordinary prevents them from doing so. These are my best friends.

But just because someone is not my best friend, doesn't mean they aren't my friend. It doesn't mean that they don't have "feelings of affection" for me. It doesn't mean that they aren't my supporter. It doesn't mean they aren't on good terms with me. If I go by this definition, I really have a lot of friends.
I desire that close, personal connection with people. I may find it with very few people, but I should feel blessed to have so many supporters, so many people who care about me. I've found a lot of these people over the past year and a half at my church. These are people who are on my side, who want me to succeed, who are there to support me and help me. I really learned the definition of this friendship when Little K was born. I have never seen such an outpouring of support from a group of people before. It was a hard time for me. I was recovering from a c-section while trying to take care of a 14 month old. My husband was out of a job and we were struggling. These friends were like family, and I now consider them my family. I am lucky and blessed and I now understand that these types of friends are just as good as the ones who come to every event you have. They will be there for you if you really need them!