What Is A Friend?

What do we mean when we say someone is a friend? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am continuing the look at friendship that was requested by asking what a friend is. Some people come into our lives and we count them friends, but only for a time. These are people you meet when you go to a common group that you share or a job, but they never contact you outside of that place.

For some people, that’s fine for the most part. I can go to a social meeting and generally, I still like to stick by myself. Sometimes friendships can come from these meetings, but it isn’t common. My wife, meanwhile, is much more social than I am and wants to be included in events and things of that nature.

These are also the friendships that you have with people that you work with and then when one of you leaves the establishment, you lose touch and you don’t speak again. While I am friends on Facebook with people I went to high school with, it’s not like I really know them that well. I did enjoy getting to go to my 20th reunion with them, but we don’t really speak afterward.

C.S. Lewis spoke of something different. He said many friendships begin with “You too? I thought I was the only one.” These are friendships of pleasure at least at first that are built on a shared interest. If people connect over nothing else, then when the shared interest is gone, the friendship is gone as well.

The shared interest could be sports, movies, video games, comic books, anything in the world. It could be sadly an interest in something sinful that leads to the tearing down of people. On the other hand, a group of friends could hold themselves accountable for holiness reasons.

Some of these could bond however into deeper friendships where you value the other person for the sake of the other person, though it doesn’t rule out the other interests. When I worked in Wal-Mart in Knoxville, I had a friend there who was in ministry as I was except I would say really hyper-fundamentalist. We also shared a common interest in video games. Years later he contacts me suddenly needing my apologetics ability that he had dismissed for his own self. He was in a storm of doubt. Fortunately, I was able to help him. Today, he’s a strong Christian learning apologetics well and the friendship has continued.

When I lived in Charlotte, I also had a pair of friends I met at work who are identical twins. We used to get together every Sunday night. We would play Super Smash Brothers for awhile and then we’d go out with their Dad to play bowling. When I visited, I never knocked on the door. I just walked in. They were like a second home to me. They were also groomsmen in my wedding.

My closest male friend, however, seeing as my wife is my best friend, is my former roommate. Today, we mainly talk politics, apologetics, and Final Fantasy. When it came time to choose a best man for my wedding, he was the only choice that I would have considered and he thankfully agreed. When Allie even found out she was low on her medications on our honeymoon, he sent us priority mail some of the medications that were in the apartment so we could continue our honeymoon together.

I have to talk about my examples here because those are the ones I know about the most. You know about your own examples. In all of this, it’s still difficult to define what a friend is, but I think it would be something like someone who’s company you enjoy for the sake of that person and who inspires you to be a better person and you do the same for them.

Do I think this is a perfect definition? No. Like Socrates in the Lysis, I doubt I can define it entirely. I suspect it’s one of those things like time. We all know what it is until we have to say what it is. Despite not knowing, I am still thankful for the friends that I do have, including ones mentioned in this blog. There are many others who were also in my wedding and some who could have been. This is not to slight anyone. If I went over all of my friends, this would be too long a blog post.

So why not think about those friends that you have? I can write later about how many friends I recommend having and things like that, but for now, just be thankful. Your friends would probably like to know you appreciate them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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