How or when do we know we have embraced a true friend?
As I reflect and look back at my relationships I see an evolution of myself as a friend. I see my notion of friendship expanding.
I cannot say that there is one most adequate or true definition of friendship. I think each of us gets to define and evolve in relation to our concept of friendship and in relation to others.
We learn about friendship early on. I learned from school experiences and from my parents. My dad taught me that it takes time to develop friendship and truly bestow someone with the title of “friend.” My mother taught me to be empathic of bullies and of children who were not true friends.
In time I have come to discover that there are so many variations of what it means to be friends.
It is wonderful meeting others I immediately feel an affinity to. Sometimes the notion of the relationship lasting was irrelevant because what mattered was the sense of connection. Other times, circumstances didn’t allow for further information exchange and that left a pure exchange. Friendship is a gift we give each other mutually.
As I get older my notion of friendship has stretched and encompassed more individuals than in the past. Growing up I had more female friends than male. Now, the reverse is more true. There is no right or wrong or better or worse. I've learned to stretch out of past hurts allowing a wider opportunity for others to be there for me and me for them.
I have tended to be friends with those with whom I have more rather than less in common. The friendships that have nurtured me the most have been with individuals who embrace the best in me. I feel closest to those who have offered me the most non judgmental space to express myself. In the process I have learned to listen more and myself be less judgmental.
What I know is that there is no best or right time to call someone a friend. It is a personal decision to call someone a friend.
Perhaps, there comes a time just like in dating that we need some clarity about what the relationship is and is not.
The parameters of friendship are as open as our hearts allow us. What is fundamental to friendship is trust. Trust in self above all.
It is important for me to express my notions of friendship when the opportunity arises or when it comes into my mind. Communicating 'our' ideas of friendship gives me greater clarity and understanding of the relationship. With clarity there is less chance of misunderstandings and disappointments.
As I continue reflecting I realize that friends are gifts. Gifts are to be given and what others do or don't do with 'it' is up to them. Others will cherish the love we give or they won't. All I can do is share my love and trust myself.
We share love all the time. Friendship is one way we share love. Sharing our love is a precious gift. So if I bestow the title of 'friend,' I am trusting you will honor my love.
Have you ever called someone a friend too soon?
What are your main notions of friendship?