What Makes a Friend

Lately I’ve been thinking about what makes a friend. The definition of friend seems a a little hazy lately given the hype around social media such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the like.

For example, I have over 600 friends on Facebook and nearly 2500 followers on Twitter. I’ve met some nice people on both sites. Even had extended conversations with a few of them.

But are they friends?

A German who made an impression on my life once told me that “one has as many friends as fingers on one hand”.

I scoffed at this notion when I heard him say that. No more than five friends? Give me a break. I felt like I had made dozens of friends in high school and college.

That was twenty years ago. And I’m finally beginning to understand what his definition of a friend is. He later told me that American’s didn’t seem genuine in many social interactions. “Stop by if you make it to Utah” felt rehearsed rather than sincere. What came across as an off-handed comment by an American could be taken as an invitation to a German.

I know I’ve been guilty of this.

So what makes a friend? I’m still working on a definition. Although maybe it will always be a work in progress. Kim says that one characteristic of a friend is someone who, no matter how much time has passed, she can pickup a conversation with them like it was yesterday.

That sounds better than anything I’ve been able to come up with.

And that list fits on one hand.

What makes a friend for you?

4 thoughts on “What Makes a Friend

  1. No doubt that the definition of “friend” will change as Web social networking becomes the norm, but _my_ definition of a friend is someone who will drive out to help when your car breaks down at 3am.


  2. For me a friend can be different meanings. But truth be told I want it to mean someone that I can trust and be comfortable with. Someone for which I don’t have to put a face on all the time. Someone that ignores the warts or even relishes their uniqueness.

    True friends of that level are hard to find.

    I work the next level down though and find much satisfaction. Friend include there folks I can chat with, share a drink with or break bread with. That’s the group I’m working on growing. From those will come the life long friends in the top list.

    To each of those I show the love I can when I can. I listen, I laugh, and I cry with them. I offer to share a meal, a drink, a card. Cultivate and enjoy I say.


  3. I definitely have more than five friends I’d put in the same category as you three have.

    I do agree that a lot of people are not very genuine.


  4. There are many people I count as my friends … but then there are the “good friends”. At the top of the list are my “close friends”. Each category has a different definition. My best friend happens to be the man I am married to. I’m so glad it worked out that way!


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