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Feature | Fall 1997


What is a...True Friend?

By Daniel Delgado

What's the answer to this question? Do you have an answer? Or does someone's name come to mind? What are the elements that make up a friend? Have you had a true friend? How close were you to that friend - really? This is a world of constant change. Things can be going well for days, weeks, months, even years, and then all of a sudden, backs can turn and friends can disappear.

I'm not writing this out of anger or fear but simply for personal curiosity and because it is a subject I thought people would find interesting. So let's embark on this interesting voyage of true friendship and join me as I attempt to clarify the elements of this phenomenon we call, "friend."

 First, let's explore the elements of a true friend, starting with number one: Trust. What does trust consist of? There is an old Spanish saying that goes, "Don't ever lend your gun, your wife or your horse." Updated for the '90s, this can be translated into, "Don't ever lend your money, your boyfriend or your car." Are your friends true enough for you to do that? If you trust him/her you would...or would you? Your willingness to lend those items usually depends on how hard it was for you to earn them. Personally, I have lent them to friends before (well, I've never lent my boyfriend - though I know people who have, but that's another story!) and most of the time, those true friends have not taken advantage of my trust. That's probably why they're still my friends.

Number two is Love. How can you be around someone for a long time and not love that person (at least, in the friendship sense of love)? Between two friends, there must exist, at the very least, a dab of love and most of the time, you would want more than just a dab. The element of love is crucial and super duper important. How many of you have friends that you only call when you want someone to go out and party with? You don't really give a heck for a person that's only a party buddy. The deepest conversation you share is often nothing more than, "You drive this time, I'll drive tommorow." But is that all that a friendship should consists of, or is there more? I'm not saying that you shouldn't have friends like these, but is that a true friendship? Actually, it isn't - it's more like a passerby and as soon as each of you finds something better in your lives, most likely, you will lose touch with each other and go your own directions.

Love also includes tolerance. It's being able to say, "I don't necessarily agree with this person, but I respect his/her opinion because of the true friendship between us."

Number three ­ Respect. You can't have respect without trust and love because respect is a combination of the two plus a little bit of respect, all by what's the answer to this question? Do you have an answer? Or does someone's name come to mind? What are the elements of that make up a friend? Have you had a true friend? How close were you to that friend - really? This is a world of constant change. Things can be going well for days, weeks, months even years and then all of a sudden backs can turn and friends can go.

HOW TO SPOT A "TRUE FRIEND!"

1. The "CAN YOU? WILL YOU? COULD YOU?" Friend - This is the type of friend that only calls or talks to you when he or she needs something. Example: "Hi, Jose. How are you doing? I was just calling you to ask if you can give me a ride to the club - that's if you're going." Or here's another example: "Do you think you could lend me some money?" This friend feeds off of your pity. If you were to call this person just to say, "hi," at a time when he or she didn't need anything from you, your conversation would most likely get cut off after only five or ten minutes.

2. The Club Friend - This person only knows you from the club. Usually, this relationship is nothing more than a "hi and bye" situation. You don't really know anything about them. (i.e. what they do for a living,what their family life is like, or any general matter of fact life) And they also know practically nothing about you, either. For example: You may have a club friend that dresses and acts like a cholo and your impression may be that he doesn't do anything exciting for work but then one day you find out is that he is, actually, a doctor or a lawyer!

3. The "You Do Me, I Do You" Friend - If your mind is in the gutter when you read this, then you know exactly what kind of friend this is! This is the one with whom you trade sexual favors. (especially when one or both of you is experiencing that horny period of the month!) Need I explain this one in more detail?

4. The "True Blue" Friend - This friend will stick with you through thick and thin, and knows you as well as you know the palm of your hand! (Shut up, not that way!) Even if you don't talk everyday or hang out every weekend, you know you can count on this person to be there when it really counts. No matter what happens with this friendship, your True Blue will always be there for you.

First, let's explore the elements of a true friend, starting with number one: Trust. What does trust consist of? There is an old Spanish saying that goes, "Don't ever lend your gun, your wife or your horse." Updated for the '90s, this can be translated into, "Don't ever lend your money, your boyfriend or your car." Are your friends true enough for you to do that? If you trust him/her you would...or would you? Your willingness to lend those items usually depends on how hard it was for you to earn them. Personally, I have lent them to friends before (well, I've never lent my boyfriend - though I know people who have, but that's another story!) and most of the time, those true friends have not taken advantage of my trust. That's probably why they're still my friends.

Number two is Love. How can you be around someone for a long time and not love that person (at least, in the friendship sense of love)? Between two friends, there must exist, at the very least, a dab of love and most of the time, you would want more than just a dab. The element of love is crucial and super duper important. How many of you have friends that you only call when you want someone to go out and party with? You don't really give a heck for a person that's only a party buddy. The deepest conversation you share is often nothing more than, "You drive this time, I'll drive tommorow." But is that all that a friendship should consists of, or is there more? I'm not saying that you shouldn't have friends like these, but is that a true friendship? Actually, it isn't - it's more like a passerby and as soon as each of you finds something better in your lives, most likely, you will lose touch with each other and go your own directions.

Love also includes tolerance. It's being able to say, "I don't necessarily agree with this person, but I respect his/her opinion because of the true friendship between us."

Number three ­ Respect. You can't have respect without trust and love because respect is a combination of the two plus a little bit of respect, all by what's the answer to this question? Do you have an answer? Or does someone's name come to mind? What are the elements of that make up a friend? Have you had a true friend? How close were you to that friend - really? This is a world of constant change. Things can be going well for days, weeks, months even years and then all of a sudden backs can turn and friends can go.

I'm not writing this out of anger or fear but simply for personal curiosity and because it is a subject I thought people would find interesting. So let's embark on this interesting voyage of true friendship and join me as I attempt to clarify the elements of this phenomenon we call, "friend."

First, let's explore the elements of a true friend, starting with number one: Trust. What does trust consist of? There is an old Spanish saying that goes, "Don't ever lend your gun, your wife or your horse." Updated for the '90s, this can be translated into, "Don't ever lend your money, your boyfriend or your car." Are your friends true enough for you to do that? If you trust him/her you would...or would you? Your willingness to lend those items usually depends on how hard it was for you to earn them. Personally, I have lent them to friends before (well, I've never lent my boyfriend - though I know people who have, but that's another story!) and most of the time those true friends have not taken advantage of my trust. That's probably why they're still my friends.

Number two is Love. How can you be around someone for a long time and not love that person (at least in the friendship sense of love)? Between two friends there must exist, at the very least, a dab of love and most of the time you would want more than just a dab. The element of love is crucial and super duper important. How many of you have friends that you only call when you want someone to go out and party with? You don't really give a heck for a person that's only a party buddy. The deepest conversation you share is often noihing more than, "You drive this time, I'll drive tommorow." But is that all that a friendship should consists of, or is there more? I'm not saying that you shouldn't have friends like these, but is that a true friendship? Actually, it isn't - it's more like a passerby and as soon as each of you finds something better in your lives, most likely you will lose touch with each other and you will go your own direction.

Love also includes tolerance. It's being able to say, "I don't necessarily agree with this person but I respect his/her opinion because of the true friendship between us."

Number three ­ Respect. You can't have respect without trust and love because respect is a combination of the two plus a little bit of respect all by itself. Trust consists of what stakes you are willing to put between you and another person - whether those stakes are material in being or something less tangible, such as a secret. Love is the tolerance that allows people to have patience and admiration for one other. Respect is a key element that is closely tied to the first two elements. It consists of several factors: the most important being the ability to communicate freely and effectively. Do you call your friend(s) when something important happens in your life? In a true friendship, anything special or important that happens to you or your friends has an important relevance towards your friendship because those are the things that reveal how close friends really are. When you have conversations with true friends, you should be able to mutually listen to one another and speak or answer at the right time, without interrupting. Remember that listening is one of the most important gifts you can give to your friends. You should listen with an open heart and truly care for the things your friends share with you. When the time is appropriate, you should, then, tell your friend what you have observed or heard through the conversation. With sensitivity and respect, offer your opinions and advice that you believe are in the best interest for helping or supporting your friend.

Another important thing you should keep in mind regarding friends is that you should always be able to remain independent, when necessary. Your friends should be just that ­ your friends. They are not your parents, your brothers, or your sisters. Your ability to do things on your own can spice up both friendships and relationships. I have seen couples, some just friends and others romanticallly involved, get bored with each other very quickly because they have become dependent on each other rather than allowing themselves to be just that - themselves! Sometimes, people are so used to being dependent that they will place themselves in dependent situations because of their insecurities and perceived needs.

Friends, like anything in the world, come and go. For most of us, the older we get, the easier it is to distinguish the difference between worthwhile friendships and those that are not true. (However, there are some people who never learn!) The best advice I can give is to grow at your own pace and learn to appreaciate good friend when he or she stares you in the face because true friends make all the difference in the world. Take care of yourselves, lotsa love. Late.


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