Family Friday: What’s a friend?

Now that I have a pre-teen, we’re entering the Social Media Age. The subject of friendship has come up quite often in conversation, and we’ve had to answer the all-important question: what is a real friend?

According to the dictionary, “friend” can be defined as anyone who’s not hostile to you. Well, that’s a good place to start. I don’t think it counts, though. You can be friendly to someone without actually being friends. To me, a friend is someone you’ve spent years cultivating a relationship with. I think that society agrees with me, too, since we have levels of friends. You have Facebook friends, and school friends, and work friends, and childhood friends. If you’re really lucky, you get to have a “best” friend. To have a best friend, you need to have more than posts, tweets, and texts. You need time.

In my opinion, the better definition of a friend is “The family member you choose.”

I’m lucky. I have a best friend. We’ve known each other all of our lives. (Literally. Our mothers were best friends growing up, and we were born 8 months apart.) We didn’t spend too much time together in our early years, since we went to different schools, but we knew each other. Once we were teens, we started talking to each other because we wanted to instead of because our moms put us together. Now, we’re best friends. We stood in each others’ weddings, we’re Godmothers to each others’ children, and we talk. A lot. Just ask our husbands. 😉

And she’s the reason why I know what friendship is.

Friendship is when you can remember what the time difference is between your two states, and then ignore it. You want to talk to me at 10:30 at night? Sure, I’m up. I called you at 4 in the morning? Oops. So, how are you? 🙂

Friendship is when someone is willing to tell you that you’re being stupid. And you’ll agree with them. I can call her at any time to complain about something, and she’ll listen. If I’m right, she’ll agree with me and calm me down. If I’m wrong, she’ll tell me. And she doesn’t always do it gently. But I can trust that she’ll tell me the truth, and love me anyway.

Friendship is when there’s no such thing as Too Much Information. Bodily functions, crazy dreams, credit card balances…yeah, the best friend knows about all of them. If she wanted to, my best friend could probably blackmail me. She loves me too much for that, though.

Friendship is when you can celebrate the little things. The really little things. “All of the socks in the dryer came out in pairs!” Seriously, we’ve had that conversation.

Friendship is when you’ve known each other long enough to have stupid catchphrases and inside jokes. It works out nicely, though. If one of us is having a bad day, the other can send a one-word text message that is guaranteed to cause laughter. It rocks.

Friendship is when you live thousands of miles from each other, and you don’t realize it.

Friendship is when your brother gets into a car wreck, winds up in the ICU, and you can call the person, crying and scared, at 1:30 in the morning, and they’ll talk to you. For however long you want to talk.

Friendship is when you can accidentally send your friend a fairly personal and completely embarrassing text message that was meant for your husband, and she’ll hold it against you FOREVER. (Yeah, that’s happened. I won’t tell you which one of us was the sender.)

Friendship is when you immediately know who you want to call when you get news, whether it’s good or bad. Good news, they’ll celebrate with you. Bad news, they’ll comfort you. Even from thousands of miles away.

Friendship is beautiful, but it takes time. My husband and I have said that to our girls, and we think they believe us. They have to learn some things through experience, though. Until they have enough time under their belts to be where we are, we just have to be the best examples that we can be.

So, I wanted to use this post to thank my best friend for helping me be an example. You’re the family I chose. 🙂

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