Friendship - What Does It Mean To Be A Friend?

From 'Calvin and Hobbes' by Bill Watterson - Universal Press Syndicate
From 'Calvin and Hobbes' by Bill Watterson - Universal Press Syndicate

Today everyone has friends. Everyone knows that everyone else has friends. But how many people can really call a friend a friend?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a friend as : a person who feels mutual affection and regard for another; a helper; a person who is not an enemy.

I found it to be interesting that the last definition brought up enemies for often, friends - or people who we classify as friends - act exactly as an enemy would act don't they?

Friendship Today

Most people I know have at least two hundred friends on FaceBook. Some have over a thousand friends and are quite proud of this fact. The thing is, though, these aren't friends. As a matter of fact I've been told by many that people 'friend' each other on FaceBook in order to mind other people's business. Adding someone as a friend is an easy way to track recent movements. This is one of the glaring clues in today's world that illustrates the fact that the word 'friend' no longer means what it used to. The word 'friend' today could mean anything from online acquaintance to someone you met in passing. Does it refer to those who will be there for you regardless of what may come? I have found that the answer to that question is hardly ever.

Snoopy - From 'Peanuts' by Charles M. Schulz. United Feature Syndicate.
Snoopy - From 'Peanuts' by Charles M. Schulz. United Feature Syndicate.

In the Bible there are many examples of friendships and many verses that speak about what it means to be a friend. Although they are there for all to see, I find that many professing Christians do not have the right idea of what it really means to either be a friend or have someone as a friend.

Friendship According To The Bible

The first friendship that immediately comes to mind in the Bible is that of David and Jonathan. Jonathan's father Saul was David's enemy (although David was not his) but this did not stop Jonathan from being a loyal friend. The Bible says that their souls were knit together and that all that Jonathan had to protect himself he took off and gave to David. He was there for David until the end and David was there for his friend even after Jonathan died. He made certain that Jonathan's children were provided for. (See 1 Samuel Chapter 18)

Another friendship that comes to mind is that of Ruth and Naomi. Ruth was Naomi's daughter-in- law but she was her friend as well. Why else would she say that she would go wherever Naomi would go and that Naomi's God would be her God? Ruth was willing to forsake everything she knew in order to be with her friend. (See The Book of Ruth Chapter 1)

The person who is recorded to be the greatest friend of all time is of course Jesus Christ. He gave His life for His friends and He advised that no greater love hath any man than that he lay down his life for his friends (John Chapter 15 verses 12-14)

In the Book of Proverbs Chapter 17 verse 17 it says that, " A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born for adversity." This means that a friend is always there even in times of adversity and when a friendship goes through adversity then the friendship turns into brotherhood. For if one goes through adversity with a friend by one's side guiding and assisting whenever they can and giving and going all they can does not one then call the friend 'brother'?

Also in the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 18:23-24 to be exact, it says that, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

The friend that sticks closer than a brother many believe is a reference to Jesus Christ and rightly so because once He is a friend He never leaves. Indeed He said 'I will never leave you neither forsake you.'

When we call ourselves Christians what we are saying in effect is that we are followers of Christ and that in our lives on earth we try each day to walk and live as He walked and lived. This includes being a friend as He is a friend. But how many of us really are friends like this? How many of us have many friends but the relationships with them are superficial at best?

Charlie Brown Stamp
Charlie Brown Stamp

When I asked those that I knew if they could count anyone as a friend. They all replied that they could. When asked how many they could count as a true friend they all admitted that that number was less than five. Some readily admitted that it was less than three. All said that there was nothing they would not do for their friend and that if given a chance they would give up their lives for a true and dear friend.

Here's the funny thing though. When asked if they would trust all of their money to their best friend they all said no. Some said it was because they knew the nature of their friend. Others said that money ruins friendships. But all voiced a resounding no.

How is it that one is willing to die for a friend but not lose all their money for a friend? Either one can do both or none at all? Either the person is a friend or not a friend at all. No wonder the Lord said that you cannot serve God and mammon. It would appear that many professing Christians without realizing it, actually value money more than they do friendship. Perhaps because they do not really know the meaning of friendship and in truth they are in denial and do not really have any friends at all.

So What Does It Mean To Be A Friend?

It means being willing to sacrifice all that you have for that individual whether it be money or life or reputation. It means doing something for the person even if you think that you will be taken advantage of. It is helping when you have no energy. It is completely dying to self. It is going the extra mile when there is no road left and you have to build it yourself. A friend truly loves at all times and having one is a gift that most do not receive in this life.

Do you have a true friend and are you a true friend to them? If so, thank God for this friendship today.


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Comments 33 comments

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Its great to have "real friends." they seem to be in short supply these days but oh the treasure in the bonds of the few. Great write.

tamarawilhite profile image

tamarawilhite 5 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

Friends must give as much as they take.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Thank you Fiddleman. The treasure is indeed great!

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello tamarawilhite, I agree that friends must give as much as they take but I also think that a friend is capable of giving completely in order for another to have completely.Giving to a friend brings more contentment than keeping for yourself.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

It is true that real friends are far and few between and if one can count on one hand true friendships, in the way portrayed in this is indeed fortunate. Acquaintances are not the same thing. Useful and up ratings.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hi Peggy W,

Thanks for reading commenting and rating.I appreciate you stopping by. I am fortunate myself to have more than one who I consider to be friends.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is a lovely devotional about friendship. I truly enjoyed it. Thank you North Wind.

Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Thanks for a timely hub. I actually sent a text to my team at school this morning -- saying: I give thanks today for working with 2 of my best friends.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Thank you Hyphenbird. I am glad you liked it. I think that if many people tried to love as He loves then perhaps there would be more real friendships.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now) Author

What a gift to be able to work with your best friends, Truckstop Sally! I am sure they feel grateful having you alongside them as well. Good friends help share the load, they do indeed.

Thank you for visiting and reading!

formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

My best friend is my husband. The problem with friendship nowadays is that there is not enough time to spend with friends to develop the relationship. Most people who are "friends" are merely acquaintances. I had a near death experience, and I knew I had a few friends, but with busy schedules and change in life circumstances, it is really hard to keep in touch after a long hard day.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hi formosangirl!

Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

I do believe that once you are in a marriage your best friend should be your is great to hear that you have that relationship with your husband. Unfortunately again, not many people can say that! You are right that life gets so busy but the friends who count manage to make time somehow.

Sometimes a friendship can go on without the friends seeing or communicating much at all. The two know that whatever the time, whenever the day, if they need a friend to be by their side all it takes is a phone call whether it has been days since they last spoke to that friend or decades.

nybride710 profile image

nybride710 5 years ago from Minnesota

I have a beautiful and Godly friendship with my husband as well as with my best female friend who I have known since age 16. Both bless me beyond measure and I pray I am this kind of friend when people need me.

Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

I have been thinking lots about friends since reading your hub -- and I came across this beautiful poem. WB is a new friend, but I thought you might enjoy.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello nybride! That is wonderful to know. Friends do bless beyond measure and the great thing about friendship is that it goes both ways. I am sure you have been an immeasurable blessing to both your husband and your female friend. Just the fact that you consciously think about what kind of friend you are means that you realize what it means to be a friend.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

North Wind profile image

North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Thanks for recommending that hub Truckstop Sally. It really said a lot. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks again!

fofo 4 years ago

hi this is nice

North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello fofo, very glad that you liked it :)

marshmallow 4 years ago

Thank you for this reeducating write!

I like the way that you said "Porfessing Christians" in your write, letting people know that you have to be completely in the word, thus Him, in order to serve him whole heartedly, in effect living rightfully up to the Christian name/label. It takes a lot to be one and many call themselves one also being solely church goer and then professing to be one. Totally different things; it's on fire fpr God or frozen in sin. (til the heat gets to you) but as a professing Christian, I hope many hearts are and come to be on fire as the true gospel is spread.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello marshmallow,

Yes, we must totally trust in Him in order to really be Christians. I too hope that many fires will be kindled in hearts as the true Gospel is spread.

Thank you and God bless you and keep you!

beverlyfaye profile image

beverlyfaye 4 years ago

Enjoyed this article. Thanks for sharing.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Thanks for reading, beverlyfaye. I am glad that you liked it and I appreciate the feedback very much! profile image 4 years ago from upstate, NY

When your at your lowest point you find out who your friends are! When you reach for your phone the first ones you know to call are your true friends. Friendship is all about love, listen to our greatest friend - "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends".

North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author


It is very true - you find out who your friends are at the lowest points in your life. Yes, friendship is all about love and we have no greater friend that Jesus Himself!

Thanks for reading!

FSlovenec profile image

FSlovenec 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

Great Hub...Friendship takes is real that Facebook Friends is an oxymoron is defining a level of superficial friendships the next generation will think are deep have defined real friendship... let us take that to the streets we will all be better off if we are like Jesus and be real friends...thank you

North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello FSlovenec,

I do feel sorry for the children who will become adults because they do not seem to grasp what a true friend is. FaceBook does contribute to that but then it has happened in the past that people could not recognize a true friend. Being a friend to someone the way you would want them to be a friend to you is a good start to showing what true friendship is. Thank you for mentioning it and for reading.

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

Good points well written! Voted up and interesting! :)

North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hi justmesuzanne,

Thanks for reading! I am glad that you found it interesting.

Ramit Mehta profile image

Ramit Mehta 3 years ago from Mumbai, Maharashtra

That was a great piece :) I in fact have 1300 FB friends but I can only name a max of 10-15 who I really speak to all the time. Moreover, a number of them are not even in my close circle. Good hub page :)

North Wind profile image

North Wind 3 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Thank you, Ramit Mehta. Good friends are truly hard to come by.

Tiff 2 years ago

I have zero friends then. awesome.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 2 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hi Tiff. I am sorry to hear that. Perhaps you may find a friend in the future or maybe there is someone who will be there for you in that way but you just do not realize it. When a tough situation arises then you will know your friends. I hope that if you go through a hard time that there will be at least one person who will pleasantly surprise you!

Rhonda bienes 20 months ago

In my opinion always having a best friend is there to be very surportive of you no matter what you do and will always be there for you in every way possible but even when I myself go through very hard times I can count on my best friends to help me along the way

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