A friend of mine once told me that he knew that people in this country were basically good. He knew this because he has traveled extensively around the US and had to depend upon the kindness of strangers. What he saw were many people who were generous and giving. I understand and appreciate this vignette, however, I believe it demonstrates very little in terms of the character of the average US citizen. My retort to him was "It's easy to be a kind when nothing is at stake. Put money, sex or power into the equation and watch the knives come out." When it is so easy to be kind to a stranger, what does it prove?
If a person helps someone else out and stands nothing to gain (other than a warm fuzzy feeling) that's one thing. If a person helps someone out to their own detriment that's another. This is where my definition of true friendship comes from. A true friend is someone who will take it on the chin so that you don't have to take it in the ass. - Colorful? Yes, but very illustrative as well.
Many people I know are amazed that I have friends who go back to the 2nd grade. Actually, when I think about it, I'm amazed that I have friends who go back to the 2nd grade. Some people use the term friend colloquially - I'm really not sure what it means for them. Someone to hang out with? Maybe. I'm totally guessing. I just don't have many acquaintance/friends. My friends come in two varieties:
- True friends whom I depend on and who can depend upon me.
- People who I am feeling out to see if they are someone whom I would and could refer to as a true friend.
acquaintance/friends = garbage
true friends = like it