The dictionary defines a "Friend" as:
A person whom one knows, and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.
Also it defines "Friendship" as:
The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends, and a relationship between friends.
Though these definitions are the beginning, I personally feel that it's difficult to define what a true friend or friendship is to each individual person. It's been said about me that all of my friends are my best friends, and for me that is true. I value my time and protect it closely. So, if I'm sharing my life with someone on any personal level I hold that relationship to a high position.
You've heard the saying "You are what you eat"? Well, I've adopted a similar saying when referring to my friendships that "You are who you spend the most time with". It's inevitable that you will on some level share common characteristics and interest with the people you spend the most time with.
I recently had the opportunity to examine my closest relationships and this is what I learned and was convicted of in my own personal experiences...
Acquaintances can very much appear to be friendships until the relationship is challenged beyond ones comfort or if there is a lapse in the amount of time that the relationship is being invested in becomes too great for ones liking, then it fades away and another replaces it.
Mentors are very rich relationships that one person receives, grows, and learns from the other with the time spent together being more limited but wholesome and lasting impressions are made.
Companions tend to be the most visited relationship and the least amount of maintenance is required to maintain as you already have similarities such as work, hobbies, families, recreational activities, ect.
FRIENDS are those people in your life who are honest under any and every circumstance, love you through the seasons that you require the most discipline, last through every offense and sacrificial act, grow with or without investment of time or energy, and are protected by both people on the same level.
Each of these play a role in our day to day life and should not be taken for granted. On a more personal level there is another relationship that builds and usually unbeknownst to us at some point takes a wrong turn and needs to be monitored closely, and held loosely. It's what a friend is not. It always begins as one of the above and just becomes unhealthy. It's the one that becomes the un-filtered, verbal garbage. Leaving you feeling like you need to repent from the tongue that was spoken and questioning the root of it's existence. It wears a mask, and for a period of time attempts to portray itself as one of the others, but always reveals itself.
Now, what does the Bible say?
We know that since the creation of man that it wasn't good for man to be alone. In Genesis 2:18 I'll give you what I like to call the brief an amazing version (that I completely paraphrased) It goes like this: God made man in His own image and placed him in the Garden of Eden. He gave man charge over all the animals of the world. God saw that there was no suitable companion for Adam so now we cue Eve. The helper to Adam.
The first two relationships formed were between God and Adam and then between Adam and Eve. I believe whole- heartedly that remains true for today. If our relationships are kept in alignment with how God designed, then we are spared the pain and suffering that comes from being out of the protection and will of God.
Since I am not married...My focus, attention, priorities, and energy are consumed with knowing Jesus. I am in such a tender season where I recognize His presence in the little things and desire to be consumed with all He has planned for my life. I want to praise Him in all that I do and everyday be better than the day before. Through each relationship that crosses my path, God specifically designed them to support, encourage, believe, strengthen, laugh, cry, and dream with me. It takes discernment to recognize which role that person will have in my life and I can only begin to understand by staying in constant fellowship with my Jesus.
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches.
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear
much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.