How many times have you seen a statement that tells what a real friend is? If you took all those statements and put them together in one place there would be a conflicting message as to what a real friend is, much like the perfect love. It looks different to everyone.
Some people want friends that make them laugh, while others want their humor understood. Some people want friends that challenge them, while others want friends that always agree. Sometimes what we want from our friends changes, which is why we have more than one. We know who will agree with us, who will challenge us, who will make us laugh, and who will get our jokes. One person just cannot be everything.
When our challenging friend agrees with us we feel validated beyond measure, but when our agreeing friend suddenly challenges us the world feels a little less welcoming. It is inevitable that there will be something, some point of disagreement. It happens in every relationship. How we deal with that disagreement sets the tone of the relationship, and each subsequent disagreement will reinforce that tone or alter it over time.
What is a real friend? How do we know when we have one?
I say a real friend is one you love like family. A real friend is the one you are willing to apologies to, and whose apologies you accept. A real friend is someone who is there when you need them, but also one you forgive for letting you down. A real friend is one for whom you would move heaven and earth to help, but also one who will understand if you cannot. A real friend is someone who stays in your life, and someone you keep in your life.
The value of a real friend is measured in our heart.
*Photo: HEART IN HAND by marc falardeau, obtained through Flickr.