the nature of friendship

 What is a friend? I assume that most of us are here looking for some sort of friendship or companionship that our local communities are not providing. I must admit that I am a bit frustrated lately with the concept of friendship, although my pagan friends are the best around. So I thought we could start a discussion on what it means to be a friend.  What does it mean to be a friend? Is there one single definition of friend, or are there varying levels of friendship from mere acquaintances on to cherished, close friends that we would spend time with every day if we could? Perhaps we can identify several categories: Acquaintance, friend, companion, good friend, best friend. We are already seeing the challenge in defining what a friend is. We can define acquaintance (as it applies to personal relationships) as knowing someone, someone we might have casual conversations with but are not close friends with. We tend to have little intimate knowledge of these people, and are not the people we confide in on personal matters. For our purposes here, we can eliminate this relationship from our consideration. Another category we can eliminate is companion, lover, spouse, significant other and so on. While these people are most likely best friends, it can be assumed that we do not think twice about sharing our time and intimacy with them on a regular basis. We can safely put these people into their own category. Webster defines "friend" as: 1 a: one attached to another by affection or esteem 2 a: one that is not hostile b: one that is of the same nation, party, or group3: one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)4: a favored companion. These definitions can be used as a starting point, but are not sufficient to really understand this relationship.  I'll continue this later, as I run the risk of boring the pants off all of you. My frustration lies with the fact that it seems that if I want to maintain a friendship with someone, I must always be the one to initiate it and keep it alive.  Is a friend someone who thinks of you when you're not there? Is a friend someone who calls or writes at random just to see how you are? Is a friend someone who makes a little bit of time for you, even though they are very busy? Is there some sort of unwritten rule that friends should make the effort to call or hang out?  I seem to rarely find someone who is interested enough to care enough to call me or email at random. It seems I am always the one to have to do it. As pagans I think we tend to be an eclectic bunch, and perhaps a bit more selective, or even cautious on who we let get close to us.  So what are your thoughts and experiences? What do you define as friendship? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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