Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Treasured Friend

Friendship is a hard word to define. I have many friends including those I grew up with, met throughout my school years, friends from work, neighbors, people I met through my wife and children, guys I play golf with...many people I call "friend". But the fact of the matter is that I can count on the fingers of one hand the people whose friendship I treasure, and the loss of which would upset me greatly. What makes a "treasured" friend? Here are some thoughts:

First and foremost, you should always be able to be yourself around this person. No matter what roles you may play with others, what pretenses you put on for whatever reason, all these should fall away when you're in the company of a treasured friend. They should accept you for who you are, and never expect you to be anything else just to please them.

No matter how long it's been since you've seen them, when you get together it should feel as if no time had passed. You pick up your friendship as if you had seen them yesterday. The passage of 50 years does not matter in a treasured friendship.

Empathy is a key ingredient. A treasured friend will know when you want to laugh until your eyes tear like you've done so many times in the past. They will also know when you're hurting, and whether you need to talk about it, or simply just be with them for the unspoken solace that only the company of a treasured friend can provide.

They stand up for you, even when they believe you are wrong. They may quietly pull you aside and tell you privately what an a**hole you're being, but only later, after supporting you. (This is a hard quality to find, and is one of the things that differentiates between a friend and a treasured friend.)

Finally, if you need help of any kind, they are always the first to call. They don't ask how you got yourself into such a mess, they say: "What can I do?" Sometimes they don't even ask; they know what will help and they just do it. It doesn't matter what's going on in their own life, they make time for you. A treasured friend walks in when the rest of the world walks out.

If you're lucky, you may have a handful of friends like this. Cherish them, for although they know you're far from perfect, they love you anyhow.


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association


Joseph Del Broccolo said...

I have a particularly good friend who I met in college. He was my best man, I was his, we were godparents to each other's child,and in times of sorrow ands crises, he was there, as I was. He happens to live in Staten Island, is crazy and enjoys life. He doesn't know pretentiousness. He is a gold mine of a pal. It is a very valuable commodity, friendship.

Jim Pantaleno said...

I think as I've gotten older I appreciate my good friends even more. My wife Jasmine, who puts up with my crap, tops the list. My best man Rich (a Hull Street boy) who with his wife Joann will join us on our Italy tour in October comes next. It's nice that you've kept in touch with your old pal. See you next week.