Friend – A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. One who gives assistance; patron; supporter.
The words used in the definition of a friend are one thing; the actions of what it ‘really’ means to be and have a friend are another. I recall when I was a young boy and I observed my parents. They seemed to spend all of their time with my siblings and me. And I thought they were the most boring human beings on the planet.
One day, I asked my Dad a simple question. I said, “Dad, don’t you have any friends?” To which he responded, “Of course, why do you ask?”
I said, “Then why do you hang out with us all the time? I never see you hang out with any of your friends.”
His reply is one I’ll never forget. He said, “Son, I’ve found that in your lifetime you’ll be lucky to be able to count on one hand people that you can truly call a friend. Acquaintances will be plenty; however a true friend is rare indeed.”
At the time, I remember thinking (as usual) that he was sooo out of touch. Didn’t he know that I had more friends than he could possibly understand? I could count my BFFs on two hands and both feet! What a dork he was…until 20 years later.
I almost hate to say it, but my Dad was dead on. I’ve learned that friends are a rare breed indeed. Common is the person whom many label as friend, however rare is the one who actually walks the talk. It can be tough to know the difference.
In my experience, a true friend exhibits the following characteristics:
- They always give more than they expect to receive.
- If they have a dollar, you have 50 cents.
- No matter what you do, they love you unconditionally; yet call you out on your BS when needed.
- They are the people you want to spend most of your time with—in good and bad times.
- They are the ones you share the most important moments of your life with.
When it comes to determining a true friendship, I think, ‘Ride or Die’ and here’s why. My best friend and I share an understanding that stems from the O.J. Simpson murder trial of the 1990s. When everything was imploding around him, O.J.’s best friend, Al Cowlings, was willing to drive his getaway car—his notorious white Bronco—even with police chasing him all over Southern California. My friend and I affectionately call this the willingness to ‘Ride or Die’ together. When the crap hits the fan, who do you want rolling with you in the white Bronco? The friend you would ‘Ride and Die” with is the one you picture in that car with you. That’s my definition of a friend!