We tend to overuse the term “friend” when we, in fact, mean people we are acquainted with, eat lunch with, share common seating areas at work with, laugh with, etc.  However, a friend—indeed, friendship itself—entails so much more.

Friendship embodies systems of relationships between people, organizations or countries that are characterized by mutual trust, assistance, approval, support and respect. Nevertheless, we tend to refer to others as friends, even when they have yet to show all (or sometimes any) of the above mentioned criteria.  In fact, we go so far as to call individuals friends when we barely know them at all.  Can we be surprised when these same people fail to live up to our expectations?  No.  We cannot.  We gave a title of kinship to people who had not earned it.  While they may have surprised us and lived up to it, us being hurt was a far more likely conclusion.

This is not to imply that friends will never hurt you.  However, a friend, or rather a real friend, should have your best interest at heart, even (or maybe especially) on those occasions when you don’t even have your own best interest at heart.  Can anybody hear me?