On Friendship

How do you know what a true friend is?

The introvert in me is very picky in who I spend my free time with. I’m even more picky with those who I call friends. I can probably count the number of people I consider to be good friends on one hand. My view on true friendship is one that not everyone would agree with. You should expect nothing from a true friend, and they should expect nothing from you. No obligations. Just voluntary respect, communication and shared experiences.

I’ve recently had two occasions where I’ve been able to briefly see old friends from my past. One from the not-too-distant past and the other one of my oldest mates. I hadn’t seen them in a while – in the one case it was over four years. What struck me afterwards on both occasions was this sense how we immediately just fell into how we always were as mates. No need for “Let’s catch up” or awkwardness in feeling obligated to ask all the right questions and acting interested. We just. . . were. Our comfortable old selves, like putting on your old favourite pair of shoes. It reminded me again that good friends don’t have to act interested in the other. They genuinely are.

How do you know if someone is a true friend? After contemplating this it’s fairly simple to me, they tick these three boxes:

  1. You can go a long period of time without getting in touch, or communicating at all – and that’s fine, it changes nothing.
  2. You can say no to them, and know they won’t be offended or take it personally.
  3. You’re always at complete ease in each other’s company and never trying to prove anything or be something you’re not.

Value your true friends. They are one of life’s essential elements.

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