I have some very close friends. Some are my best friends who know every major event in my life and who can call me - and me them - at 3 a.m. in an emergency. Some are wonderful neighbors in our small neighborhood of 30 homes who resemble the kind of dear people who lived on my grandmother's street. And there are old friends from high school and college and my working career that I have kept in touch with and visit periodically as we or they travel. Finally there is my extended family and my work family who are so dear to me.
We all have small circles of people who mean something to us in church groups or charitable organizations or clubs or all of the above. If we call all of these people friends, it might be true.
But most likely, some are acquaintances.Thirty years ago this business was founded on the belief we all want to do business with neighbors and be good neighbors - perhaps a forerunner of Facebook. I believe that is more true than ever in this world where everything has sped up and we all long to catch our breath and spend quality time with friends. Friendship is a special relationship. It should not be diluted.
I feel a dilemma with the friending process gone wild. Being a friend is a precious thing; I don't want to water it down. Like signing 'Love,' it shouldn't be a substitute for Sincerely Yours.
If we have met twice at a social event, we are probably not friends, although we may hope to become that. I am uncomfortable 'friending' people whom I barely know. There, I've said it. I think we need to recognize there is a difference between friends and acquaintances.
I feel a dilemma with the friending process gone wild.
Being a friend is a precious thing; I don't want to water it down. Like signing 'Love,' it shouldn't be a substitute for Sincerely Yours.
I feel somehow that the friending of people I couldn't pick out in a lineup somehow diminishes those I hold next to my heart. Am I alone?
If Mother Teresa were alive, I would love to ask her to be my friend and she might feel loving enough to "friend" me. But would that mean she would want those who see me as her friend to assume I had her stamp of approval?
Other people may be very close to someone I don't warm to and it is no reflection on either them or me. Everyone doesn't take to everyone else, as those of us who have introduced two good friends to each other with less than stellar results know.
Let's not forget how special real friendship is and that every relationship is different. When I call you friend, I mean it. When I tell you I love you, I do.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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