Friendship: It’s Not About Who You’ve Known the Longest

In the realm of friendship, longevity is often mistaken for strength. We tend to believe that our oldest friendships are the best ones. Those relationships that have weathered the test of time, lasting since childhood or through years of shared experiences. It’s a reasonable assumption to make, but it fails to capture the true essence of friendship. Longevity alone does not define a real friendship.

Think about it. There are very few things in life that are truly defined by how long they last. Wine and cheese, for example, age and develop flavor with time. But when it comes to personal growth and wisdom, it’s not just about growing old; it’s about growing up. The same principle applies to friendship. The length of a friendship may indicate its depth, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect its value or meaning.

So, if the length of a friendship doesn’t determine its authenticity, what does? According to a powerful quotation, a genuine friendship is characterized by someone who walks into your life and says, “I’m here for you,” and then backs up those words with actions. It’s about being there for each other through life’s ups and downs, offering support and understanding.

In times of weakness, we all need someone to lean on. Likewise, there will be moments when our friends rely on us for support. True friendship requires both parties to be willing to lean on each other, to offer a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear.

When I think about friendship, song lyrics often come to mind. Songs like “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King, “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers, or “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. These songs encapsulate the essence of friendship, the idea that having a friend by your side can make all the difference in the world.

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One of my personal favorites is Elton John’s song “Friends.” The final lyrics perfectly encapsulate the sentiment expressed in today’s quotation: “With a friend at hand, you will see the light. If your friends are there, then everything’s all right.” While having a true friend may not magically solve all of your problems, it certainly makes life more bearable.

In the end, the key to having a good friend is being a good friend. It’s about showing up for someone when they need you and proving that you genuinely care. So, let’s cherish the friends who have stood the test of time, but let’s also remember that the true value of a friendship lies in the depth of connection and the willingness to be there for each other.

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© 2016 by Samuel Rodenhizer. All rights reserved.

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