Mca blog

Friendship

This past week has been, for me, one with much gratitude, mostly due to friendships. So I became curious about where the word friendship came from.

Through our mutual friend Mr Google, I discovered that the word friend comes from the Old English word freond meaning “one attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard”.

What a lovely definition! And so un-Facebook!

On social media a “friend” is anyone we know, or who knows someone we know, or even knows someone who knows someone we know! Whereas the true meaning of friendship is feeling personally attached, by choice, by affection and regard for another.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, pre-internet and pre-social media, I collected friends wherever I went. Overseas we would exchange addresses to write to each other. At home we would swap phone numbers and invite each other to parties. The more people you knew the more friends you thought you had.

One day a friend who was a little older than myself said to me “I’ve reached a point in my life where I have no time for people who pretend to be friends.”

It seems obvious, I know, but for me it was a light-bulb moment. I realised then that although I feel attached on some level to all human beings who cross my path in life, my friends could be counted on two hands. And that makes me very rich!

Social media allows us to compare and judge each other in a very public way, and many young people may feel insecure because others have more “friends” than they do.

At some point, it’s important to ask yourself, how many people do I feel “attached to by feelings of affection or personal regard”? Who amongst my many “friends” are my real freonds? Which relationships do I want to nurture, to devote time and energy to? And importantly, which relationships energise me?

And so I return to gratitude, which comes from the Latin word gratus, meaning to be thankful. And I do feel thankful for the people I feel attached by feelings of affection or personal regard, my friends.

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