‘’we cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindness there is at last one who makes the heart run over’’- Samuel Johnson
Who is a friend? Many things…. A friend is someone you are comfortable with, someone whose company you prefer. A friend is someone you can count on – not only for support, but for honesty.
A friend is one who believes in you…someone with whom you can share your dreams. In fact, a real friend is a person you want to share all of life with – and the sharing doubles the fun.
When you are hurting and you can share your struggle with a friend, it eases the pain. A friend offers you safety and trust… whatever you say will never be used against you. A friend will laugh with you but not at you… a friend will pray with you… and for you. My friend is one who hears my cry of pain, who senses my struggle, who shares my lows as well as my highs.
In such a friendship, nothing is hidden. Friendship should be built on trust, and the relationship takes time to grow and develop.
The Benefits of Friendship
The value of friendship extends beyond emotional closeness and connectedness. Research, for instance, shows that lonely people live significantly shorter lives than the general population.
Alan Loy in his book ‘’The Friendship Factor’’, points out the following benefits of friendship:
In research at our clinic, my colleague and I have discovered that friendship is the springboard to every other love. Friendship spill over onto the others important relationships of life. People with no friends usually have diminished capacity for sustaining any kind of love. They tend to go through succession of marriages, be estranged from various family members, and have trouble getting along at work. On the other hand, those who learn how to love their friends tend to make long and fulfilling marriages, get along well with the people at work and enjoy their children.
What do you think of when you think of Friendship?
Intimate sharing? Talking about feelings, hurt and pain? In contrast, a man’s friendships tend to revolve around activities, a friend is someone who goes fishing, playing tennis, or goes to a baseball or football game with him.
Most of a man’s friendships grow out of these associations. Shared activities are the point for men, but let me add that Christian men can take male friendship to a deeper level.
We come to a point of real honesty, transparency, and loyalty that makes friendship the source of important accountability and encouragement.
The fact seems to stand that women have an easier time with friendships and have experienced different levels of friendship than men do.
Our culture permits women to be closer to each other than men can be with one another. Women can hug, cry, hold hands and interlock their arms as they walk down the street, but men are not as free to do those things.
Friendships are another difference between men and women. Men are activity-oriented and women are relationally-oriented.