I have lots of friends. Some really might be more of acquaintances, actually, which has been making me think about what makes a friend just that: a friend?
Is it someone you spend time with doing fun stuff, or someone you share with whom you share your trials, tribulations, joys and fears? I guess there are many degrees of friends, so I'm sure there isn't a hard, fast answer to this question. I have friends that I game with, friends that I chat with, friends I eat with, friends I email only with... and then the really good friends that I pour out my heart to and cry on their shoulder and offer mine when they need it too.
What does the dictionary say? Well dictionary.com defines a friend as:
1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
4. One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement: friends of the clean air movement.
5. Friend A member of the Society of Friends; a Quaker.
I would prefer to have friends of the definition #1 variety: a person that I know, like and trust. I've realized over the last couple weeks that trust is a huge part of how well I like someone. If I even get a hint of not being able to trust someone, they are cut out of my life. Maybe that's a bit drastic. I'd say I don't make an effort to foster any type of relationship because to me, they are not worth the effort.
There are just too many people out there to surround yourself with people you cannot trust and count on. I think this is the main reason I don't like flaky people. I want someone who can make plans and keep them. Keeping plans is something that is on a very low "trust" level. For the most part, that's about as trusting as I need to get with a friend of the #2 definition variety. So, as far as that's concerned, I guess I could be friends with just about anyone who was dependable and I liked his/her company.
I have picked the person I'm targeting to be my new best friend (don't worry Shane - you will never be replaced!) for 2006. We'll see how that goes. So far it's looking good because the new best friend is (so far at least) trustworthy, fun & funny, outgoing, likes games, likes food, open, honest, direct and we because of all this, we can talk for hours on end. I am also going to work on deepening some of the "acquaintances" I have to see if there's anything there or not. Some people are probably perfect just being acquaintances. Those are the people you invite over for parties, but not for a small dinner, you know?
The best part about thinking about all this friend stuff is that it becomes abundantly clear that I have TONS more friends than I had three years ago and all of them have been invaluable to me during the last year and will continue to factor into my life in a big way for the rest of my life. I never want to be without friends again.