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Saturday, May 13, 2006

What are "friends"?

In my definition, "friends" are people who have shared experiences, who understand one another, who think about one another.

When a friend is going to do something, such as eating dinner or playing a game, he will invite another friend without hesitation. Even if that other friend (a) doesn't care too much for that activity, or (b) doesn't know anyone else who will also be participating in that activity together.

Friends recommend and refer. A friend knows what or who another friend needs. And he will offer help without asking, even if the assistance is even useless/pointless. And he will continue to offer help until the need is satisfied. But he will also know when the assistance has become irritating/meddlesome and will slow down/pull back or stop, if necessary.

But a friend will never leave a friend hanging. Neither will he ever lead a friend on.

When a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, he can depend on friends for support. And those friends know that he can always call upon them at any time.

A friend shares his life experiences freely, allowing other friends to live through him.

The default answer to a friend is "yes".

Friendships aren't always blissful. But friends will also never let rough patches break them up entirely.

A friend know when to cut some slack. But he won't force the slack on the other friend.

Friends talk. Even if some talk and others listen, there is no feeling of one-sidedness because both sides know the other's personality. They talk about topics that interest them. If the topics don't interest them but are important for all, friends know how to get them involved.

Friends share ideas, both good and bad. These ideas are not flippant, but have significant impact on one another's lives and well-being.

Friends don't befriend for the sake of profit, though friendship may lead to profit.

Friends have "telepathy".

Meet-ups between friends are not restricted to special occasions. They are also more than just having drinks for an hour. There are deep emotional and intellectual engagements. Meet-ups are not timed. And meet-ups occur regularly.

Having friends increases one's emotional well-being. It gives him a mental "high". The lack of friends causes depression, not the lack of being with friends. Friendships are like drugs. But one doesn't get lose the high when there are quiet patches. Renewal of friendships takes one higher and higher.

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