What is a “Friend”?

Let us consider what a friend truly is, because I think the internet has distorted the definition greatly. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, just a fact.

The Google definition is fun, if kind of vague. The idea of a friend being someone you know is a bit, well, bleak. I have plenty of people that I consider friends whom I have never and will never meet. We met online, and continue to speak online. I guess you could argue that we know each other mentally, and have no regard for physical appearance. I also know many people who consider me a friend that I have not spoken to in years. Some of which, and I hope no one gets offended by this concept, I would no longer like. This does not change that I would happily tell someone they are a “friend” if the topic gets brought up.

So, if someone says they have no friends, do they mean that literally? I was in a conversation with someone that I consider a sister, and she stated the harrowing fact that she “has no friends.” My reply was asking what I am. She then tried to reverse what she was saying, very non-gracefully. Eventually, she had to change her definition to “no friends around me” which is a point that I was in no position to argue. We do live over an hour apart, and I haven’t spent time with her in over a year.

I shouldn’t bitch. I played in bands for about a decade. I played hundreds of shows and in front of thousands of people. I have gone to cities not knowing anyone, and stayed the night at a random persons house surrounded by dozens of people. In the end of those events, I am guilty for going on a self-pitting rant about how I do not have any friends.

If even in situations when surrounded by people I can feel alone and hollow, what is a friend? I have had more important and impactful conversations with people I have never (and, most likely, will never) meet.

So, I raise the question: What is a friend?

I contend a rather sterile answer. What if friends are who we need at that moment? What if they are who we can categorize as a friend, and not actually “a friend”? That would alleviate the social pressure to be the classical definition of a friend. I cannot promise that this plan would fix much, or even should be considered, but I ask that it should be contemplated.

We all need to relieve the pressure to have a friend. We all need to stop changing ourselves to be a friend.

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