What Is A Friend?
If you Google the question “what is a friend?” you’ll find an interesting definition. Google defines “friendship” as “a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.” However, isn’t this a little vague?
Friendship can’t be limited or defined in a simple definition. The art of curating a true friendship is more than just having a mutual affection for another person. True friendship entails acceptance, kindness, respect, and an abiding willingness to support someone, even if you don’t agree with their choices.
So how does one cultivate a collective of real friends in this digital age of so-called “friends” and “followers” on social media etc.?
Making Wise Choices
When we first learn to about friends, it often comes with the advice to choose wisely. I cannot tell you the amount of not so wise choices I’ve made across my life when it came down to deciding who to spend my time with; however, I’ve gleaned so much wisdom from my mistakes and now pass this on to my children.
It’s vital to invite relationship into our lives, especially friendship, as good friends enrich and enliven our world. But choosing the right fit for your “friend collective” isn’t easy and often comes with some heartache when you experience disappointment. So how do you gather the perfect “friendship collective”?
Love, Listening, and Sacrifice
These three words are the cornerstone of any good friendship. Without love, you cannot listen with empathy, without empathy, you won’t be prepared to sacrifice when it’s needed most. To truly love someone, you need to do more than just nod your head in conversation. To sacrifice you need to be willing to put your needs aside from time to time, to give your time, your belongings, and especially your heart.
How Many “Followers” Equals A Friend?
Personally, I’m not excited by the number of “friends” and “followers” I have on my social media accounts. I know that they are just people, some random visitors who like what I have to say, and a few whom I would count as my “real” friends.
I find it tragic to see people sitting beside someone, yet lost in technology, and still striving to cultivate ‘relationship.’ Just being in the presence of a person does not build a connection. It’s time to put the phone aside, silence the notifications, and look up at the person with whom you’ve chosen to share that moment.
Building relationship through conversation, experience, and authentic engagement can only happen when we are fully present with someone. The numbers of “followers” and “likes” you have may be in the hundreds or thousands, but how many of those “connections” would actually take a moment to enquire about your well-being on any given day?
Today I challenge you if you have read this, and it resonated with you, to make a list of people whom you consider “friends.” Choose wisely, and carefully. Now take this list and share this post with those whom you’d like to spend more time cultivating your relationship. If you’re not prepared to love them unconditionally, listen to them attentively, and sacrifice for them without inhibition, then move to the next person on your list. You may only end up with two or three people, but you’ve made a declaration to yourself about your commitment to them.
Those who respond will be the ones who share your new friendship values, and this is the way to build a firm foundation for your “Friendship Collective.”
Love, Nina xx