ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The World of Friends

Updated on October 16, 2009

Who are friends? What are friends? What distinguishes them from others? Are they the ever-reliable, being-there-when-you-need-them people? Or, is it their minority status that gives them the distinction and puts them in a class?

Although most of us readily and at times loosely refer to many people we know as friends, the appellation does not fit in every case. Some of us may think it is uncivil to describe someone as an acquaintance, which might be an accurate label, or may see no harm in introducing someone as a friend to another, whom you have known for longer. Of course, there are those who simply make introductions using people’s names and adding a bit about their profession, and perhaps allow everyone to figure out for themselves, from their mutual questions and responses, as to the nature of the relationship between any two.

To consider the nature of friendship from another perspective, can one’s spouse be a friend? One rarely calls one’s relations friends. A brother is just a brother, a sister just a sister and so on. Can’t a brother or a sister be a friend, too? Is a friend automatically someone outside the family?

More than the reliability factor, it is perhaps the freedom factor it is that determines a friendship. When you need some money badly, you may run to your brother, sure in the belief that he will readily help you. But when you have a terrible or embarrassing secret, or a personal problem, which you feel desperate to share with someone, you may feel safe to do that with a person outside the family, whom you describe as your friend, whereas your brother remains a brother, deserving neither an elevation in status nor any additional responsibility.

Is friendship then a strange or unknowable thing? Is a friend then an inscrutable being, an enigma? But, that sounds like a contradiction, as a friend is generally believed to personify dependability, someone you know very well, someone about whom you know a lot and, consequently, whose actions you can predict. Again, there is something that does not fit here. With most of us, very often, it is our friends who surprise us, not necessarily always pleasantly, who fail to show up, do not return calls, forget important things and exhibit an unmistakable and endless capacity for such errors of commission and omission, which can cause minor or major damage and disturbance.

Clearly and unquestionably, there is a difficulty in designating someone as our friend, especially when we assume the designation implies certain qualities on the part of the one so designated. Yet, once we have designated and accepted certain people as our friends, we do not confer upon them the inalienable right to enjoy the status. Rather, we promote and demote them as and when we please, depending upon whether they happen to cause joy or grief in us. Our own ambivalence and shifting perceptions about how we see them put us through a range of experiences and perhaps thus highlight the curiously beautiful inscrutability of the relationship. But then, only the really strong among us who also happen to possess a spirit of adventure survive the tumultuous journey and remain ever willing to indulge in further potentially perilous undertakings. Amidst all the confusion, one thing is clear: With a friend it is that one has continuous and abundant dealings. If that requirement were to be taken as sacrosanct for the relationship to be valid, then we are confronted with another difficulty. If you have continuous and abundant dealings with a person whose interests are in conflict with yours, as can happen, for example, in business, academics and politics, is that person then your friend? Is the person your enemy and friend? Is that a possible combination? Well, don’t we know of friends, our own or others’, who have wished and done harm to those whom they once loved and cared for, for reasons and under circumstances neither understood nor justified?

If we then admit that being in a friendship is tantamount to being in a double-edged engagement, do we follow any rules and take any effort to sanctify, dignify and preserve it? Perhaps, depending on whether it is more a burden or a blessing, for it is over time likely to be both, you cancel it by maintaining a sustained silence and refusing to respond to any communication or contact, or carry on despite everything.

If you enjoy a fierce debate, it should not matter whether it is with a friend or with an enemy. If you enjoy a delectable meal, the sort of company is immaterial. But then, what is critical is what happens after the debate and the meal. The enemy will have gone. But the friend will be there. Whether to contribute to your happiness or cause you trouble and pain, time will no doubt tell. But whether you stay or walk away, you will have to decide. Now.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • ParadiseForever profile image


      8 years ago from Chennai, India.

      Hi Vaidy,

      Very nice explanations and good definitions for various types of friends/friendship. Good reading. I am so happy to meet you here in hubpages, my good old friend. Can you guess who is this? This is your good old friend from an Ad Agency (ADWAVE). Still guessing? Oh! Keep guessing...

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      Thanks Paradise for sharing your views. Although so much has been said about friends and friendship, the subject continues to intrigue and puzzle. Might not calling someone your best friend imply that the others are not as good and that they may never earn an elevation? Also, you may not be the best friend of your best friend - which is not necessarily a contradiction. Perhaps most of us will not give much of our time and affection and goodwill unless reciprocity of an equal measure is guaranteed. I guess we will eternally wonder and write about friends and friendship.


    • Paradise7 profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      This was a great read. Thank you. You know what? I think my sister is really the best friend I have. By your definitions, a lot of my friends are acquaintances. But that's ok, it's ok...I like your presentation and way with words.

    • vaidy19 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Chennai, India

      Thanks G-Ma.



    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      I believe we have many friends during our life time, and each is for a good reason...some last, though can be more distant, and some are just for the time being. We live and we learn by each person we know, we give and we take and life goes on....

      Great read my dear...:O) Hugs G-Ma Merle Ann


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)