Saturday, November 8, 2008


"I have no friends!" my granddaughter cried. Her parents are quite strict and she lives in a dangerous neighborhood so she's not allowed outside without supervision. They hope to move to a better neighborhood soon. But in the meantime... So we had a talk. Turns out that she was complaining that she wasn't allowed to run around with her friends unsupervised. I side with her parents on this.

But it started me thinking about friendship and how we define a friend. What changes our definition from "a woman/man I know" to "my friend"? How do we make that shift--and why?

Some would say it's based on commonality of interests. I'm not convinced that's it. I think that two very different people can be friends. Two people of disparate interest, educational backgrounds, even age, can build a close friendship. I suspect that it is a shared spirit. In the worst case, two negative individuals forge a friendship wherein their mutual negativity feeds off each other. It's a destructive relationship from the beginning. In the best case, two individuals build a wonderful relationship which supports and encourages both of them. Most of us end up somewhere in the middle.

Friendship can be short, long or intermittent. I have a friend that I talk to about every two or three years. That's the way our lives have gone. We've been friends since we were eighteen-year-old newlyweds. If I pick up the phone tomorrow, we can take up our conversation where we last left off. I don't have to explain things to her or apologize for my feelings because she understands. We are friends.

I move frequently and that means that I sometimes have to leave friends behind. But for that time period that I lived in that place, those friends and I had shared experiences we can look back on with smiles. We were friends.

When I arrive at a new place, I face the prospect of making new friends. Fortunately in this place I have a wonderful friend and neighbor close by. We've shared some interesting times as I've become a published writer. She's my cheerleader and coach when I'm feeling blue. She's my confidant. She's my friend.

Friends are a priceless gift. On this eighth day of November let us be thankful for friends--past, present, and future.



  1. I have some friends like that, Anny, those from long ago yet you see them after a few years and just take up again as if no time or distance had ever interfered. I agree with you that some of the most interesting friendships are with those who are completely different from yourself. There's a comfort to be found in kindred spirits but it's awfully nice to know that we can have different attitudes and ideals yet still care about and respect them. It would be an awfully boring world if we were all the same.

  2. Good blog, Anny. I like the definition of shared spirits. I've always thought in terms of chemistry, but I like your definition better.

  3. I think of friends as intersecting Venn diagrams. I have Writing Friends, Work Friends, Home Friends .. then I have FRIENDS, who would be a friend regardless of whether I was published, or whether I worked with them, or was in the same town.

    I didn't tell my Lady Friends (a regular group of women I dine with every other week) about my publishing life until my first books were ready to release. I realized that they can't fully share my publishing life (the way some other friends can), but they do share some part of it -- hence the Venn diagram analogy.

    Then there's my online friends. I was in a critique group with 8 people for years before I ever met them face-to-face -- and that's been fun, too!

    It's like the old song .... 'friendship, a perfect blendship ...'

  4. What a heartfelt and wonderful blog, Anny. I have many friends, some that I can pick up and go to the movies with, some that have touched my soul even if we've never even sat in the same room together. Friendship is a blessing that we take for granted when we're young, but as we grow older it's a cherished gift.

  5. I feel that friendship is the highest form of love, because there is nothing gross in it. Only subtle remains.

    In friendship, it is not a question of using the other. it is not even a question of needing the other. It is a question of sharing.

    When you have so much joy & love flowing inside you which you would like to share & whosoever is ready to share your joy with you, you are grateful to that person.

    A friend always feel grateful to the person who allows him/her to share himself with him/her.

    It is never a question of need. You may be in danger & he may or may not come to your aid. That is irrelevant- he may come or he may not. If he comes you are grateful If he does not , you bear him no grudge.

    THIS makes YOU a true friend. Never ask, who is a true friend. always question " am i a true friend?"

    Friendship is not of the market place. it is one of those rare things that belongs to a temple.It is a great Art. Love has natural instinct behind it. Friendship has no natural instinct. It is something conscious( unlike love which is unconscious) It is because of this, although you 'fall' in love, you always 'rise' in friendship. love is somewhat animalistic, but friendship is purely human. It has a spiritual dimension.