What About Your Friends?! / by Dionna L. Hayden

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“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” - Unknown

No man is an island to himself. Everyone feels that longing to be connected to someone and it's totally okay because it's how we as people are wired. So it's no wonder why Facebook has become the largest social networking monster in the entire world with over 800 million active users connecting and networking to others all around the globe (minus China). Many times when Facebook is mentioned, the word 'friend' is not too far behind. The main thrust behind the network's attraction is connecting to others that become what's called 'friends'. The more we request another's friendship, and they're confirmed, the more friends add up on our ever growing friends list. This goes on to give us a broader audience to showcase our exciting lives through status updates, photos, and events. I have a Facebook account and I must admit that although my friends list is high in number, oddly in my "real" life outside of the cyber chats, viewing of albums, and keeping in touch, I find my actual list of friends is very minimal.

Every now and again, I have to revisit the definition of the what a friend truly is because I believe many times we as a society use the word very loosely. Many people may have a general idea of what friends are, but not as many get to experience the depths of a true friendship. By a paraphrased definition, [true] friends are companions that connect to our soul. They are the people who celebrate our victories as their own and grieve with us in our times of tragedies. They will edify us in our growth and maturity in every way possible.  King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, once wrote "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses" (Proverbs 27:6)  meaning that friends are not like  "yes-men" that use flattery to stay in our good graces, but true friends are honest with us for our benefit, even if the truth hurts. Overall, a true friend will stand with us through it all to aid in making us the best versions of ourselves possible.

A great example of a true friend can be found centuries ago when King David ruled Israel. David, who was a good man but did some terrible things, had to be confronted concerning his behavior. He had an affair with another man's wife, got her pregnant and in short, killed the woman's husband to cover up the scandal. For a while, he had lived with the issues unresolved until his friend Nathan caught wind of the situation. Nathan boldly confronted King David of his deeds. This kind of correction could have easily embittered King David and costed Nathan his head, but seeing that Nathan was simply doing what was best for him, the king immediately became repentive.

True friendships are not developed over night, but take time to build the right foundation established with love, trust and accountability. When all the right elements are practiced in a friendship like proper communication and the display of love and respect, it's not difficult to keep a healthy friendship functioning. Sometimes, being in a relationship with a true friend means learning the art of sacrifice. Jesus said "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends…" (John 15:13). This action is not limited to paying the ultimate price, but it varies in every aspect of our lives. There will be times we will have to give of our time, personal agendas or substance for a friend's well-being. Like anything valuable and worth having, true friendships require much work and dedication, but when it's all said and done, they're totally worth it.

How many of us can say our entire Facebook friends list reflect these qualities?! Although friendships vary in depth and longevity, true friends are priceless and rare finds, so when we are graced with them, it's best to appreciate these gems of people while they are in our lives.

The Ultimate Friends List

Are your "friends" true friend material? Check out some important characteristics on this friends list where quality definitely outweighs quantity.

  1. They genuinely love you. A good friend values and respects you as much as they value themselves. They don't force themselves or beliefs on you, but lead by selflessness and unconditional love.
  2. They esteem you. They are not afraid to compliment you and are not jealous of your accomplishments because to them, your victories are also theirs.
  3. They are great influences. They are positive people who bring out the best in you.
  4. They are honest. They will tell you the truth in love, even if it is a hard pill to swallow.
  5. You can confide in them. You're able to disclose important information about yourself without them exploiting, exposing  or judging you.
  6. They are givers, not takers. They don’t demand all your attention or sap you of your energy, resources, or patience because they are mature enough to respect your boundaries.
  7. They will always have your back. They are a great support system through everything and would be willing to take a bullet for you if they had to. ;)

I'm blessed to have all of my friends. I even have a few best friends. One is my husband of 7 1/2 years, another is a my girlfriend of nearly 18 years and another is my older sister. When I needed someone to confide in, share my dreams and goals, laugh at my jokes, be a shoulder to cry on or be a voice of reason to correct me in my bad judgment, these people were and are there to do so without hesitation. Although sometimes they drive me crazy (in a good way), they ultimately make me a better me. How many true friends are in your life? Can you name at least one friendship that is a great asset to you? And what qualities of a true friend can you add to my ultimate friends list? I'd love to hear from you, so don't forget to share your response and this post to others! :)

Enjoying the journey, Didi Hayden