my friend

E.M. Forster once wrote, “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” That’s not an indictment of patriotism; it’s a testament to the trust of friendship.

It’s such a deceptively simple word, friend. It’s one of the few words that has always meant exactly the same thing. It comes from the Proto-Germanic word frijōjands, which meant ‘one attached to another by feelings of personal regard and preference’.

Friendship has always existed. It’s a fundamental construct of nature, grounded in an often unexplainable affinity — a natural liking or attraction to another, a relationship between beings who are unrelated that is as close and important as family. It’s not limited to humans; humans and animals can share a friendship; animals can be friends with other animals. But for humans, friendship is a necessary quality in order to be whole. A person without a friend is incomplete.

To call somebody ‘my friend’ is, or ought to be, a high compliment. To have somebody call you ‘my friend’ is to receive a blessing.

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