What Makes a Friend?

What Makes a Friend?

What exactly makes a friend a friend?

We know being connected via Facebook doesn’t mean someone is truly your friend. But I’m starting to believe that things we encounter on Facebook, and other social media outlets, might be more telling than we’d like to think.

The 2012 US election cycle was absolutely painful for this country. The amount of vitriol and rhetoric spewed from all sides was disgusting and disheartening. For the past month or so, since the Sandy Hook shootings, some of the static that had been quieted has returned and perhaps been magnified.

Everything, it seems, is a political argument. Every news story, however seemingly benign, is the source of a deep ideological and philosophical rift.

Different beliefs

Most of us want to be, or at least believe, we’re open-minded. We like to think we can be friends with people of differing backgrounds and viewpoints. What a boring world it would be if we all agreed all the time!

But when is the line crossed? When do you look up and think, “If this person really believes XYZ, and I really believe the opposite, can we indeed be friends who love and respect each other?”

For example, if you are wholly in favor of gun control and your friend is an NRA supporter, at what point does that difference speak to an irreparable misalignment of core values? The same question can be asked on any number of topics related to social justice: economic questions, life issues, immigration, etc.

What’s your opinion?

So what exactly makes a friend a friend? How do you define it? And when is a divide simply to wide to cross?

Please share your thoughts and experiences. 


Image: freedigitalphotos.net/bulldogza


About the Author

Jennifer Scroggins works in Marketing in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • simmonslindsey

    My friend recently passed along the wise words of St. Angela, who lived during the early years of the Reformation when there were all sorts of views swirling around (not unlike today). Her advice concerning the differing viewpoints was to “consider each one good, but be prudent for your own good.”

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that even though people have different viewpoints and hold different ideologies, we arrive at those beliefs from our own, personal informed consciences. While I’m busy following my conscience, chances are, so is the next person–to the best of his or her ability–and I need to respect that, even if it’s fundamentally different from me. Can we be friends with others who don’t vote as we do? Absolutely. One of best friends and I agree on practically nothing political or even within the realms of the Catholic faith, yet I count him among my best friends. I think the world would be a pretty sad place if we let those sorts of things dictate friendships and relationships. Ultimately, though, like any friendship/relationship, it must be based on mutual respect. So if the respect doesn’t come along with the differing viewpoint, then that’s a separate issue entirely.

  • Kelliej

    When you both have the same direction in mind, then you can spend hours talking about anything and it means something… So for me my direction is heaven and I typical have friends who want to be heading in the same direction. I have a few who want to be and can’t quite grasp it yet, but that is why God placed them in my life….

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachael.logsdon.1 Rachael Logsdon

    I agree with Lindsey on this matter, especially about respect. I believe that close-mindedness stems from a lack of respect for others. Not only is ending friendships or shutting one’s self off from friendships unhealthy, it is also not what Christ wants us to do. Jesus said, love thy neighbor and unfortunately, many of us forget this rule. It is not Christian to judge another based on their principles and beliefs. This behavior is also self-limiting. I have many friends that agreed to disagree with me during the election and after the shootings that have occurred. We celebrate each other for our differences as well as our likenesses. I have only once in my lifetime come across a friend that questioned our friendship based on politics, and this made me wonder, were ever really friends to begin with? If something like that can tear a friendship apart, the foundation was never really there. God didn’t put people on this earth to conform to one viewpoint, he put us here to learn to love. Love is patient, love is kind and is not arrogant. It does not dishonor others, and is not self-seeking. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I have friends that have been there for me, regardless of my viewpoints. I am one of the lucky ones.