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How Do You Define Your True Friends and Acquaintances

Updated on March 26, 2014

Okay, I know some may have many “friends” on Facebook ©and I am saying “friends” with tongue in check. Maybe we can petition them to come up with another word for all the “friends that you befriend”. Come on, think about it, does anyone really have a few hundred/thousand friends? And can you really get to know that many in only a few weeks or months? Well, according to a few cousins, you can! Wow, that is truly amazing. I must be slow or as my family always say, anti social. Hey, I’ve been associated with Facebook© for five years and I only have 10 “friends” and they’re family. Probably need to “unfriend” a few. But I feel that I have enough experience and observing of human nature (it pays to be silent with eyes and ears wide open) to be able to distinguish between Friends and Acquaintances. Some may disagree. But let me lay out my definitions and at the end see if you agree or disagree.

True Friends

People spit out the word “friend” so easily these days that it really has lost all meaning in the true sense. When my granddaughter was five she told me she had a BFF with a girl she had only known for a few months and I asked her if she knew what that meant. She replied with rolling eyes, “yes grandma, she’s my best friend forever”. I just smiled and thought to myself that she still has a lot to learn. Well back to true friends. Most of us remember the television shows “Living Single” and “Friends”. I know that it was all scripted but the writers captured most of the traits of true friendship. Below are some of the traits I feel that defines a TRUE FRIEND.

  • Someone who had your back even at the times when you may not really deserve it but will speak up and try to keep you out of trouble or from hurting yourself (you may not listen).
  • Someone who will not only give you a breath mint but will actually tell you your breath stink like two week old cabbage before going out in public or going out on a first date (ever wonder why you were not called for a second date).
  • Someone who will not only take your secrets to the grave but slap you silly for putting them in that position.
  • A person who will hold your hair while you are leaning over a toilet in a service station restroom while they are wearing their new four hundred dollar pair of shoes.
  • A person that knows your true status not the ones that you post every time the wind blows and your mood changes on an hourly or daily basis.
  • Someone whom you can close your eyes in their presence and know without a doubt they will have your back if something “jumps off”.

Now people may tell you, “you don’t know me. I’m a loveable person and I really can say I have a lot of friends”. Really? I laugh when occasionally I look at some of the courts television shows and they have “friends” suing other “friends” for loans. Most of the cases have been when ask how long and well they have known their “friend” would respond “oh, a long time, a couple of months. I trust them with my life”. Really you are loaning, putting something in your name for another person, or getting a cell for someone and only have known them for a few months? My own family knows me. I won’t loan, co-sign, nor put my name down for another person. Not even my own daughter. And I like her. Some would label co-workers as “friends”. Now don’t get me wrong. I think sometimes your co-workers over time can go from associates to friends. But that’s rare. You may go out for drinks after work a couple of times. You do sometimes spend more time at work with your peers than your family. But one thing to think about is a lot of people that you work with are out to move up the corporate ladder and you just may have your hand under their foot on the ladder rung. Now, not every co-worker may be about that. But you do have to ask yourself if you truly trust that person. And that is the main word you should consider when you think of the word “Friend”…TRUST.


Ah, acquaintance, now that is a word that is not used often when trying to determine a person’s relationship with you but you would have to admit, it fit most if not all your relationships. Oxford Dictionary’s© definition states A person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend. To extend on the co-worker relationship mentioned above, that is an acquaintance. You know the person that sits in the next cubicle; you may even know some of their home life. Really, cubicles….let’s just say it, if your co-worker keeps sighing all day, you will know why. Phone calls from kids’ schools, fight with spouse, etc. I’ve mastered the art of softly speaking in codes while working in a cubicle. Hey, you don’t know me like that. And I don’t want you to know me like that. Acquaintances are also your neighbors, the person that you always seem to walk beside on the treadmill in the 24 hour gym on your rare appearance and your spouse’s co-workers or boss that you may occasionally have over for dinner. Okay, it may also be called brown nosing. Some of my definitions of an Acquaintance are as follows:

  • You can go weeks, months, years without wondering why they’re not trying to contact you.
  • When you do get together, they are definitely on a need to know bases on your current status.
  • They would not even think of asking you for a loan.
  • Ask you how you are doing but don’t really wait for your answer.

Remember try not to fall apart when you are disappointed or let down by your acquaintance
or friend. So before you call the next person you meet “friend” or befriend on social networks, just ask yourself, will I be able to trust this person not to forward what I post on the social network site. I know you are not going to call someone friend upon meeting them but at least start with acquaintance and then work your way up to friend if it is well deserved. You just may find only a few will ascend to be a TRUE FRIEND.

We're friends.  We will always be side by side.
We're friends. We will always be side by side. | Source

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Are You A Friend or Acquaintance?

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