Friendship: A defining moment

By Brenda Tristani

Special to the LOGOS

The dictionary defines the word “friendship” as a relationship of affection, sympathy and trust that is established between people that are not family-related.

This definition introduces other terms which also need to be acknowledged and defined. What is “Affection”? What is “Sympathy”? What is “Trust”?

The superficiality that characterizes our time has permeated our lives in such a way that a “friend” is someone who is requesting to be approved by the “click” of a mouse on a computer that is connected to “Facebook,” for example. The result is we could have a bunch of “friends,” whom we don’t know, who we have no affinity or sympathy with, and with whom we do not have a relationship of affection, and much less, one of trust.

It seems to me the issue is not to know the definition of the term. What is important and practical, I believe, is “being a friend.” How does a person behave when feeling affection for the other? How do we display sympathy towards a person who is not in our family circle? How do we display trust towards someone whom we “don’t know”? It seems to me it is much easier to speak about friends and friendship than being one.

Someone once said “a friend is someone who knows everything about you and esteems you anyway.” Maybe this is not the definition that appears in the dictionaries, but without a doubt is one that is very practical. Words tend to be empty when they are not backed by actions. It does not serve well to speak a lot and do little. Interpersonal relationships do not get nourished by vain words but by the actions which are conducive to the benefit of the other person. True affection is not directed to better our position, but instead, to give ourselves freely to the benefit of the other person whom we call friend. Trust is displayed, precisely, when we refuse to accept that which others think obvious, but goes in discredit or discriminates against someone whom we call friend.

A friend is someone you don’t have to wear a mask with. Someone who knows you and knows everything about you, and accepts you the way you are without you having to change anything about yourself. Someone who does not insist in changing you in order to accept you into his “kingdom.” A friend is one who remains by your side, defending you, when others attack you. A friend is one which holds you in high esteem when others despise you, simply because the friendship ties do not depend on the circumstances to remain valid. A friend is one who does not seek after “his own.” Instead, in his list of priorities you go before him.

In my case, I prefer to have a few who know everything about me and even at that esteem me; even if they do not know the definition of the term.

E-mail Tristani, a graduating art major, at

Brenda Tristani


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