But what is a friend, really? The definition according to google is “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.”
And then there are degrees of friendship – close, casual, work, church, childhood, etc. Years ago, I thought I had a lot of friends. I did things with them, invited them to my house, went to their houses, and spent a lot of time with them.
Then I became very ill – near death. They were there the first few days but disappeared gradually over the year it took me to fully recover. It was a sad day when I realized I had treated them as I would a friend, but they did not think of me the same way.
I still know quite a few people. I stay in touch with those that live in other places, see those that live near me often, but not everyone I deal with is my friend – my loyal friend.
One of the things that determines who I am close to is “gossip.” If someone tells me about what a friend said or “made up” about me, that makes me question their loyalty. And unfortunately, if I find out that this is true, it immediately means I have one less friend. Friends do not tell tales on friends (Peggy’s Rule). Friends can disagree with me, but do not lie about me. I do not tolerate liars – ever.
So as my older life progresses, I find I trust fewer people that when I was a kid. I could not “see” what people really were as well then as I can today. My time left to live is far smaller than that behind me. I do not have time to waste on “fakes.”