Friend: a person you know well and regard with affection and trust.
My grandfather once told me that there is no such thing as friendship, that someone could only have close acquaintances, but not someone who they could truly trust and love. At the time, I just nodded my head and agreed because it was easier then to argue with a 78 year old retired cop, but deep down inside, I knew that this couldn't be true. I mean, I am sure that everyone in this room, including myself, can say that they have at least one friend or have had one in their lifetime. As humans, we automatically group ourselves together, whether it be by interests; a favourite band, colour or hobby. It might be by our external appearances; race, gender or body type. It could also have something to do with where we are from, or where we are going.
A friend can come in many different forms. They could simply be the person who sits beside you in your math class that you end up sharing a textbook with. Maybe they're a family member; one of your parents, a cousin or a sibling. They could also be a pet; your dog Spot, your fish Goldie, or your cat named Fluffy. A friend is anyone or anything that you can count on, and can simply listen without judgement. They are that special person who you can't wait to see just to tell them about something exiting, even if it means nothing to them in the long run, or the person who you can count on to help hold your burden when there is too much baggage to carry. No matter what you say to them, or what kind of fights you have, they will always be there to catch you when you fall.
Going through life and new experiences is hard, especially when you are doing it alone. The first day of high school, the funeral for a loved one, the heart retching breakup; they all leave us stunned and confused with our hearts on our sleeves and our heads in our hands. These events, the good and the bad, are why we all reach out to each other, and make friends. We don't just want someone who will hold our hands and experience things with us; our first time drinking, or shopping for graduation dresses, we also want someone who will help us pick up the shards of the life that we once had, piece them back together, and replace the slivers that we have lost in the process.
Throughout the years, I have learned that there is a fine line between friendship and family that is often blurred, crossed and stopped on. As I previously stated, it is entirely possible to be friends with a family member. Take my family for instances. I could tell you that I go out and party every weekend, get drunk out of my mind and make a point of not coming home until 11 o-clock on Sunday night, but if we are being honest, then every word of that is a lie. My real weekends mostly consist of going grocery shopping with my father, watching PVR'd television shows from earlier in the week with my mum, and eating dinner with both of them every night. I know that they love me unconditionally, that they would never judge me for what I say or do, and that they will always be there for me; arms, ears and mind wide open. Yes, those are the signs of a healthy parent-to-child relationship, but aren’t those also the traits of a friend? I also considered my brother a friend, and frankly, he was the person that I could tell anything to, even the stuff that he probably didn't really need to know.
Crossing this line goes both ways; yes, a family member could be a friend, but could a friend actually become a family member? When my father was a baby, he was adopted by my grandparents. Alright, so they obviously could not be friends at the beginning considering how young my father was, but that doesn't mean that a friendship and respect did not bloom as he got older.
Coming back to what my grandfather had said, I now not only realize that he is wrong in my life, but he is also contradicting his own. Both my grandparents are very social; always going to church, out to breakfast with “acquaintances” and having dinner parties. Neither one of my grandparents ever refer to the other people in their lives as friends, but what about each other? I mean, they spend all of their time together, whether they like it our not. They fight like there is no tomorrow, and love just as wilfully. When two people get married, they are obviously in love (hopefully), but they are also friends. Marriage is not just a unity of lovers, but the unity of friendship. I'm not sure about my grandfather, but in my book, blood doesn't necessary come first.
© Copyright 2016 Joy Evans. All rights reserved.
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