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?