he dictionary definitions are all a little bit narrow for my liking. They seem to suggest that only people you know well should be called friends; or they suggest someone who helps you when youare in some difficulty is a friend. I also noticed that the antonym of friend is foe (
). So is thedictionary suggesting that someone I am not acquainted with, do not know well and regard with affectionand trust, or someone who does not provide me with assistance, is my enemy! Surely this can’t be right. Just because we don’t know someone yet doesn’t make them our enemy, it just makes them a friend we have yetto meet. There, that sounds better than enemy, doesn’t it? So with that cleared up let us begin our discussion.
The friendship pyramid
Country leaders often turn to their friends during times of crisis, don’t they? They’ve got themselves into a bit of bother so they call on some “friend” who happens to share the same religion or economic viewpoint,skin colour or language, and asks for some help (usually military or financial, and as we know, friends helpeach other out. When they ask for help, they receive it. “That’s what friends are for.”Moving down the chain a little, some people have “friends in high places,” a euphemism for saying a person in power who is able to be manipulated, and when they need a favour, they call up their friend and getwhatever it is “fixed,” (e.g. a parking ticket torn up, or plans for a new casino in a residential area passed).Isn’t it nice to have friends?Lower down the pecking order, there are people we know from the community, perhaps someone fromthe pub who can take a look at your leaky pipes, for “just a couple of drinks!” And finally we have the personal friends. But then these too go in order.There are “friends you know to say hello to in the street;” “friends you know from work and may go outwith socially a couple of times;” then the regular people you meet up with every week, followed by thesecond best friend and finally the first best friend – the person who you confide your darkest secrets to, andusually the ones that run off with your other half and don’t pay back money they borrowed (sorry, that’s alittle harsh)! I haven’t included parents in this list because you don’t choose them, you’re just kind of stuck with them, and anyway you love them, you’re not just friends with them, right?So as we reach the bottom of our pyramid, we can see that there are many types of friendships going on.From the “I have some problem I need fixed friend,” to the “personal confidant friend” you need nothingfrom, but are just happy to share their company.
Friends are nice
It’s nice to have friends isn’t it? People you can phone up, share your daily worries with, pop round to their houses and they to yours, go on holiday together, and chat and chat and chat. Everyone needs friends. Butwhy? Well, for starters, we would be pretty lonely on our own, and second, it’s nice to have someone elseyou can chat to apart from your other half (they don’t understand you), and anyway, Man is a social animal,he needs lots of different stimulation and conversation, and friends are the ideal people to do stuff with. Theylike the same things you do, they like going to the same places and they like talking about the same things.All in all, it’s a perfect set up.Without people to stimulate us and share our daily troubles we’d be a pretty sorry lot, moping around allday with no one to talk to. Work colleagues won’t crack it, we need someone we can trust, someone whoknows what it’s like to be
, and can empathise with how
are feeling and vice versa. Those of us whodon’t have this kind of friend tend to become insular and start to hide their feelings, which isn’t good for anyone, no sir! So we all need to get ourselves some close friends and the world will be perfect. Ok? Theend.But hang on, how do we find these friends? The world is becoming a hard place to meet people. Everyoneis so busy; they all seem to have enough friends already thank you very much and don’t need any more, as Ihave found out over the last few years. And the older you get the harder it gets. People are married, they havetheir own lives now; they have families and they want to hang around with other families (you know themothers who only hang around with other mothers).So we join sports clubs, and other activity clubs, hoping to meet that special friend we have never had.But lots of people already have a best friend from their schooldays, so how are you going to find a bestfriend? Maybe you could set up a website for people who don’t have best friends (hey, not a bad idea).