True friends are hard to come by

What does it mean to be a true friend? Is it simply clicking “add to friends” on theFacebook? Is it saying “hi” in passing? How about being there when someone is sad? Happy? Is it just someone to rely on? Is it all, some, or none of the above?

I once heard this story about a father and a son. The son came home from school one day and said, “Dad, I have these two great friends from school.” The father replied, “Oh, really, and how do you know these boys are your friends?” The son said, “Well, I hang out with them on the playground. Don’t you have any friends dad?” The father replied, “I have half of one. Why don’t we test your friends? Let’s kill a goat and put it in a bag and tell your friends it’s a body and see what they do.” (Sorry for the graphic scene but I didn’t make up the story.) Anyway they go to the first boy’s house and he shuts the door in their faces and sends them away. The second boy said that he didn’t want to get in trouble for helping in hiding the evidence in a murder. The boy was distraught; he asked, “What about your half a friend?” So they went to the half a friend’s house and he replied, “I really shouldn’t be doing this but let’s get the wheel barrel from the back.” The moral of this story is simple. In the son’s time of need his so-called friends weren’t there for him, while the father’s half a friend had to state that it was wrong before he did it. Does friendship need to be unconditional? Would you help your friend hide a dead body? I am not sure what I would do in that situation. I would be scared out of my mind if a dead body was dragged up to my door.

Dictionary.com defines “friend” as “a person whom one knows, likes and trusts.” I can buy that to a certain extent. Trust, loyalty and honesty are all very important and almost essential qualities of a friend. If you don’t like someone you wouldn’t hang out with him or her and if you don’t know someone then obviously they aren’t your friends. However, I don’t think this definition is complete. Friendship cannot be a one-way street. If someone walks all over you they are probably not your friends. My good friend said to me the other day, “I think you are now one up on me on the I owe you one scale,” after I did him a favor, to which I quickly replied, “Who’s counting?” I am not completely sure what a true friend is; I believe I have a few good ones. I also believe a standard thing to think about is, those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

Justin Diamond can be contacted at j.diamond@umiami.edu.

March 1, 2005


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