The definition of friend might stretch a bit wider than when Webster first put it in his book. (I’m talking dictionary not the autobiography of the 80’s TV show personality) With the advent of the “not appearing to be a fad” thingy called Facebook, we can connect with lots of people who we call “friends” but given a wider vocabulary of choices might parse them up in categories like acquaintance, workmate, lab-partner, cubicle neighbor, friend of a friend’s friend that I’m not sure where we met etc.
But Facebook calls them Friend and I like that general category, and generic term.
Being a friend has meant different things at different points in my life. For a long while I thought the term should apply to one who would help you move: apartments, rooms, houses etc. but by a certain age, a friend is one who says “you need to hire some people to move this stuff, but I’ll be available for your party once you get in.”
I think the meaning of a good friend progresses in status and stature depending on certain things: will they help you bury a body, or provide an alibi, or are they your one phone call, will they bail you out? Even those folks you call at some terrible after-midnight hour, just to talk, and they actually answer the phone, (since I don’t need bail) are peeps who I like to call “friend.”
As we get older, the bar might get higher. It’s not just simply a matter of a friend offering to loan you money. It’s the harder or rarer aspects of friendship: Will they tell you the truth when it hurts, or lie to you when they think it helps?
I love knowing that I have friends that I am better because of, but can’t think of hardly any that I’m better than. All it takes is a little thing like the calendar turning to a birthday and the invention of Facebook to note the spread of kindness that you get from all kinds of “friends.” People I knew from kindergarten or college, people I sat next to on a plane, folks in the audience who are fans, or people I’m a fan of that became just plain folks, travelers on the same long crazy comedy road, to family that I would choose as friends, and people who I’m lucky to call friends and would choose as family if I could.
Just a quick non-verbal shout out to those who took the time to say “hi” on the day of my birth, to mention that in some-way we’re somehow some definition of Friend.
Having those, well I’m grateful, humbled, and happy.