I recently watched a movie called ‘3 idiots’, well; It is as interesting as its title but whatever lies there in is a definition of true friendship. Our lives are defined by a series of moments of encounters with people. The importance we lay to those encounters define what we share with the people we encounter for the rest of our lives. 3 idiots is a story of three young men who met in an Engineering college, Imperial College of Engineering (ICE) and were made roommates, and there their friendship was forged. They shared interesting moments, like driving their principal crazy after peeing on his gate or crashing into the principal’s daughter’s engagement and changing a speech to teach a ‘crammer a lesson’ e.t.c. They also shared memorable moments, like one Rancho rushing Rajul,s father to hospital on a scooter, Rancho advising them to live their dreams and not those of their parents, and most interestingly, when Rajul and Farhan steal a bride for Rancho. That made me wonder; what extremes can we go to so as to be there for our friends? What drives our actions when we do something for friends, what is the true meaning and definition of friendship?

Wikipedia defines friendship as a form of relationship generally considered to be closer than association, as a feeling of one to another person. Aristotle explains it as one soul dwelling in two bodies. It is a unique blend of affection, loyalty, love, respect, trust and loads of fun is perhaps what describes the true meaning of friendship. Friendship is a feeling of comfort and emotional safety with a person. It is also a feeling nurtured to the point when you do not have to weigh your thoughts and measure words, before bringing it forth before your friend. It is when someone knows you better than yourself and assures to be your side in every emotional crisis. It is when you can sleep fighting and get up to another morning with a better understanding. Friends comes with friendships, they are the channel of love and affection. Friends are like child’s heart which doesn’t know wrong thinking. When there is a friend with us we feel secure, happy, a huge support, and comfortable which you can’t get from others.

According to Albert Arul Prakash, friendship is a blessing, and a friend is the channel through whom great emotional, spiritual, and sometimes even physical blessings flow. Friends can cheer us when we’re sorrowful or depressed. Friends can challenge us when we allow ourselves to get beyond our reasonable boundaries. Friends can motivate us when we’re ready to give in, and they can provide for us when life falls apart. They are there when all is well, and we want someone with who to share life’s pleasant and memorable moments. We often just want them around to have a good time, to laugh, to act silly; to enjoy some mutually liked activity.

Similar interests, mutual respect and strong attachment with each other are what friends share between each other. True friendship is perhaps the only relation that survives the trials and tribulations of time and remains unconditional. These are just the few general traits of a friendship. To experience what is friendship, one must have true friends, who are indeed rare treasure.  Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis: The tendency to desire what is  best for each other, sympathy and empathy, honesty  perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart, mutual understanding and compassion, ability to go to each other for emotional support, ,enjoyment of each other’s company, trust in one another, positive reprocity i.e. a relationship based on equal give-and-take between the two parties, the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgment e.t.c.

Friendships nurture many good things. Friendships enhance quality of life in that by partaking in activities with friends, pleasure and happiness are intensified. Quality of friendships relate to happiness because friendship provides a context where basic emotional needs are satisfied. By experiencing a good quality of friendship, the individual is led to feel more comfortable with whom they are as a person. Ultimately, good quality friendships connect with the meaning of life satisfaction. Higher friendship quality directly contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence, and social development (Berndt, 2002). Friendships also contribute to our satisfaction i.e.  give us a sense of belonging, competence, and self-worth. Friendship involves: Enjoyment – spending time doing things together and sharing life experiences; Trust—believing that our friends act on our behalf; Respect and understanding—believing that our friends have the right to their own opinions; Mutual assistance—helping and supporting our friends and having them help us; Confiding—sharing confidential matters with our friends. In so doing, one thus has a more full life, rid of many negatives that tend to creep every once in a while.  Friends keep us healthy. Social interactions with friends help us lead longer and healthier lives. Studies show that people who enjoy interaction with friends live longer and healthier than those who are socially isolated. Friends are relied upon for emotional support, and a close network of friends can help us through challenges in life.

In the Old Testament, we see great demonstration of friendship by Jonathan and David. In 1 Samuel 18:1-3, it is explained that, “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul”. Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:1-42, when King Saul planned to kill David, Jonathan who risks his life for him. He defies his father and helped his friend, David, by saving his life when he heard that his father, King Saul, wanted to kill him. He confirmed to his friend his father’s intention to kill him by showing him a sign to run away. In the New Testament, Jesus’ friendship is unequalled. While He was on earth, he nurtured friendship with Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary and when Lazarus died, he was a true friend by coming over to weep and moan with them. He also teaches about love and demonstrates it to those he called friends, especially his disciples, by teaching them the “truth”. He was humble enough to lay down his life for their sake, our sake, that we may be free from sin eternally.

Many are the times our friendships will be tested. Do we rise to the occasion and demonstrate true friendship or are we the kind of people who are friends only when things are good but when they fall apart we flee? I know that in my life, I have a cloud of true friends, who have laughed with me, cried with me, who have celebrated my successes with me, who have held my hand when I struggled to overcome the toughest moments of my life, who have been a shoulder to cry on, who have been my source of courage, who have believed in me when I did not have the courage to believe in myself, who saw beyond my face value and believed there is more to the person I am, who eventually have made me smile more and frown less in life. As John Lennon says, I have gotten by with a little help from my friends. I also in return try to be a good friend, though with no promises of never hurting those I love, because it is part of life to argue. One wise person once wrote that it is not true friendship until you have had an argument. I have been drawn especially to those who seem to be struggling with emotional stuff in life. For some reason, I can always tell. And I naturally reach out to make them see a new dimension of life, where the pain can be appreciated, where one celebrates the joys more that the sorrow, where a fall in life should not define you, but should be a stepping stone to a greater you, where hardship is faced not run away from, where sometimes when words fail, I can just hug them, in letting them know that, against all the odds, I am, will be there for them.

Friendship is not without disappointments. I know I have cried a lot for my friends, and with my friends but more so, when that friendship is betrayed. I have cried for the friends I have lost, for the friends who leave, for the friends who die. I have cried for the friends of friends who cause each other so much pain, yet due to the honest love there in, they still hang on. It is amazing how much damage a friend can do when they become enemies. I have cried for those who hurt each other out of malice, wishing they could embrace each other, or rather, we could embrace each other in love, bearing in mind we are all born of the same father, and we have one destiny.

Goethe advices that we ought to treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and help them to become what they are capable of becoming. Proverbs says it that a friend loves at all times, a true friend will stand by, even in times of trouble, a true friend will tell us when we are wrong, faithful are the wounds of a friend and genuine friends must be cherished and not forsaken. It is safe to say that when God created the world and all the majestic things in it, when he streaked the heavens with radiant color and the earth with grand mountains and awe-inspiring canyons, when he painted the plains with waving grasses and erected noble forests of towering trees, he outdid it all by creating friends. Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life (Dior Yamasaki).

Why not take a moment or two and thank someone today for being a friend to you? Do not save your loving speeches for your friends till they are dead; Do not write them on their tombstones, Speak them rather now instead, says Anna Cummins. Why not also take a chance every day to demonstrate true friendship to someone every time that chance presents itself? It may not be necessarily someone we know; even a stranger is a potential friend. May God bless us with all the friends we need, and may he turn us into a blessing by using us as a friend to others. In Colossians 3: 12 -17, Paul advices tells us that to be a good friend, we need to clothe ourselves with the things of God. We have to imitate Christ especially in loving so that we can be true friends to one another. May we like Paul, learn to imitate Christ by being friends of Christ and in being so we may be friends of one another.

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