Tag Archives: friends

Who Qualifies to be Considered a Friend?

Learning to differentiate between someone who is only a mere acquaintance and someone who is a true friend

I have come across a number of individuals who casually refer to someone they know as a friend when in actual fact that person is only a mere acquaintance. These individuals should be more careful about making such statements because of the ramifications that flow from conferring such an esteemed and exalted status on that person!

What is the big deal you may ask about this practice of calling someone a friend when he is not actually a friend?

Misrepresentation of that Person

It has a lot to do with the misrepresentation of that person. A few may take it that it is good or advantageous to get to know that person better since he is a friend of your friend. Others may boldly venture into a business deal with that person based on the fact that he is considered a friend of your friend.

But when that business venture goes down the drain and these individuals part company on unpleasant terms, you may be blamed. Of course, the individual concerned should have carried out his own due diligence. He should not have merely relied on the statement that he is a friend!

Who is an Acquaintance?

Now, who exactly is an acquaintance? He or she is someone you have met and got to know a little, probably in an office, temple, club or association setting. He may also be a former colleague or a neighbour.

He has remained merely an acquaintance because there was not enough of a ‘pull factor’ for either of you to progress that relationship.

All Kinds of Friends

You become a friend of another person when you both share common values and probably a number of similar interests. You also truly enjoy each other’s company. Your shared interests and values are the ‘pull factors’ that cause you both to gravitate towards each other and thereby keep the friendship alive and thriving.

It would seem, therefore that you are both charter members of a special grouping called MAS i.e. Mutual Admiration Society!

However, if only you are investing in this so-called friendship, then do not waste your time. If the other party does not reciprocate, move on with dignity and do not try to force a friendship. Unfortunately, some individuals are unable to take a hint.

Friends for a Season / Reason

Over time, one realises that there are all kinds of friends. Initially, they meet the basic requirements as stated above. But over time, their true characters surface. Former colleagues and friends conveniently forget the favours and the assistance rendered. For some, you are currently not in a position to be useful to them any more and so they just disappear having already benefitted from this so-called friendship in the past.

The other reality is that some friendships fray at the edges over time. Not enough effort was spent nourishing these friendships. For some others, your repeated career successes and achievements may have surprised them beyond belief. Jealousy makes an unkind appearance and begins to rear its ugly head!

While a true friend will always be happy for you, those who are pretending to be a friend will display their true colours.  Some are only happy if you fumble, drop the ball and hopefully remain at their mediocre level!

Always Keep a Group of Good Friends

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine from Penang sent me a wonderful and insightful three text message. But I need to let you know that was because I am still using an old Nokia phone, not a smartphone.

Far too many people, I hear, send you all kinds of, mostly irrelevant messages, via whatsapp without realising what a nuisance that has become. I constantly hear of people moaning about having to delete such messages without even bothering to read them.

This friend received that message from another mutual friend now based in Melbourne, Australia. He too was sufficiently impressed with the message that he wanted to further share it. Now that is a truly great circle of friendship.

What Was this Message About?

Friends are the Bulwarks of Life

“Many years ago, after I got married, I was sitting on a couch on a hot humid day, sipping orange juice during a visit to my father. As I talked about adult life, marriage, responsibilities and obligations, my father cast a clear, sober look at me.

‘Never forget your friends‘ he advised, ‘they will become more important as you get older‘. Regardless of how much you love your family and the children you happen to have, you will always need friends. Remember to go out with them occasionally, do activities with them and call them from time to time“.

What strange advice I thought!

I had just entered the married world, I am an adult and surely my wife and the family we will start will be everything I need to make sense of my life.

Yet, I obeyed him and kept in touch with my friends and occasionally increased their number. Over the years, I became truly aware that my father knew what he was talking about.

In as much as time and nature carry out their designs and mysteries on a man, friends are the bulwarks of his life.

After 50 years of Life, this is what I Learned.

Time passes. Life goes on.

The distances increase.

Children grow up and become independent. Although it breaks the parents’ heart, they are often separated from them.

Jobs come and go.

Illusions, desires, attractions and sex weaken.

People do what they should not do.

Parents die.

Colleagues forget favours.

The races are over.

But true friends are always there

No matter how long or how many miles away they are.

A friend is never more distant that the reach of a need, reaching out to you, intervening in your favour, waiting for you with open arms or blessings for your life.

When we started this adventure called LIFE
Wwe did not know the incredible joys or sorrows that were ahead.
We did not know how much we would need from one another.
Love your parents.
Take care of your children
but always keep a group of good friends.

( The author of this sharing is unknown but he or she summed it up quite well. I have also taken the liberty to edit the article. )

In the twilight of our lives, if we can count five individuals as true friends, consider that a real blessing. And if you happen to have another five friends, then that again is your extremely good fortune.

Celebrities and politicians who claim to have hundreds of friends are only deceiving themselves.  Having the company of hundreds of supporters, gushing teenagers or hangers-on, however, is quite possible.

Much too often, some of these individuals mistake ardent supporters from their party or club as their friends. A number of insecure leaders who delight in surrounding themselves with a large retinue of sycophants, often make the tragic mistake of thinking that these toady individuals are actually their friends.

To their surprise and dismay, these leaders soon discover that these characters will, when the chips are down, desert them faster than fleeing rats from a sinking ship!

In summing up, always remember to keep and cultivate a group of good and trusted friends.



All Kinds of Friends: the Ability to Discern

Many famous people are always seen to be surrounded by numerous friends. A number of well known, charismatic personalities, regardless of whether they are politicians, professionals, academics or business leaders, have a regular group of individuals who hover around them. They are seen to have many friends who wish to be in their company and orbit!

The art and skill of making friends and keeping that friendship going from strength to strength is, however, a function of sincerity, integrity and deep seated mutual admiration. Too often we find that a few individuals mistakenly regard some others as friends when in reality they are just mere acquaintances, or in other instances, associates.


These are people we meet, probably incidentally, in the course of our working and social life. We probably know them just on a casual and informal basis and as such they do not qualify as friends. We also meet such people in our neighbourhood and in our social circles. They are what we call acquaintances…not friends. If and when an acquaintance becomes a friend, then that is a matter of choice and probably because the relationship has progressed from mere acquaintance to that of friend.


These are individuals that we meet in a business or professional context. The very nature of our working relationship requires that we interact with these individuals on a regular basis. It is our work and the issues and challenges that arise from time to time that require us to meet and interact with these people. They are best described as associates…not friends.

Here too, while they meet on a regular basis, there is no real need to regard these individuals as friends. However, when the two individuals seem to get along well, share the same interests and views on work related matters and genuinely like each other’s company, the stage is set to elevate the relationship from associate to a friend. This is sometimes the case and in that instance, you can consider it a gift.

Friends for a Reason

These individuals come into our lives for a specific reason. They inch and work their way into our lives because they have an ultimate objective. They are seeking something from you but at this stage of the so called friendship, you have no idea that this is the grand design. You are then drawn to the individual based on his / her approach to you and you do not suspect any ulterior motive.

The façade of friendship, however, crumbles when that person is unable to get what he / she wanted from you. You have continued to function and operate as a true professional. However, when the individual realises that you are not going to give him what he wants, he shows his true colours.

His was never a real friendship in the first instance. It was all an act to win favour with you for a hidden purpose. Once he is found out, he moves away. He pursued friendship with you for a hidden reason and not because you both shared mutual interests.

Friends for a Season

These friendships begin well enough and seem to flourish when you are both at the same level, job wise or career wise. However, jealousy creeps in and spoils the friendship when one party begins to get promoted or recognised. The other party sulks and is resentful.

This inability to appreciate a friend’s success is actually very common. Such friends will not send a congratulatory note to the friend nor will he telephone to wish him well. In fact, he will studiously avoid the subject and show his mean streak. On the other hand, such a friend will be the first to notice his misfortune if he is sacked or retrenched!

At other times, such friends will make unreasonable demands on the friendship. And if the other party declines to give in, then problems arise.

I know of a friend who, when he travels, chooses to stay in hotels. He feels that he can come and go as he pleases when he stays in a hotel.  This friend, as such, does not wish to trouble relatives or friends when he is on holiday.

However, he made a big mistake in acceding to his friend’s invitation to stay in his house rather than a hotel. The friend even insisted that he stay for a minimum of four weeks! Sometime during the second week of the stay, he noticed a change in the behaviour of his friend. Soon after, he was being deliberately ignored. He got the strong hints and decided to leave forthwith. He should have known better and heeded a well known piece of advice: “ If you stay with a friend, make sure it is for not more than three days. After that, like rotting fish, you will begin to smell! “  What may have  begun with good intentions however, resulted in that friendship coming to a premature end.

Friends for a Good Time

Many are aware of this phenomenon. This is quite often the case when you are in a generous and celebratory mood and quite prepared to pick up the tab repeatedly. In this scenario, there will be no shortage of so called friends because they will swarm around you like bees to honey. But when the situation changes for the worse and the regular partying, drinking and dinners stop happening because of financial reasons, these friends will move out with even greater speed than rats leaving a sinking ship. This inability to discern just who your real friends are can be a very costly mistake.

True Blue Friends

How do you tell if you have a true blue friend? It is, in fact, quite an easy task.

True blue friends are actually charter members of the ‘ Mutual Admiration Society (MAS). They share many common interests and values and their friendship is very evenly balanced.

Each party wishes to continue to strengthen and build the friendship over time. Each is genuinely pleased and happy for the other party to achieve success. Whilst they may share many common interests, they also have other interests that they pursue individually. Both parties admire each other for their talents, abilities and values.

Some Traits of True Blue Friends

These individuals always think and act in the friend’s best interest. They do so instinctively and readily because it is the right thing to do.

These individuals have a friendship built on a sound foundation. Each contributes to the friendship in equal measure and it is never a lopsided friendship where only one party makes the effort. In some cases, I know of people who claim to be friends but only make the barest minimum effort to strengthen the friendship.

A true blue friend is also one with whom you can confide your fears and frustrations. He is there to hear you out, discuss matters with you candidly and never betray your confidence. He is willing to serve as a sounding board for your ideas and proposals because you know that he will give you his feedback without fear or favour. Sometimes, all he need do is just be a sympathetic listener!

Another admirable quality of true blue friends is that they stay loyal not just in good times but also when the other person is facing problems…financial, business, professional or personal. It is in times such as these that a true blue friend shines because the other so called friends have deserted him in his hour of need.

A true blue friend never takes the friendship for granted. He works at it diligently. In your whole lifetime, if you have managed to acquire, cultivate and keep five true friends, you can consider yourself a lucky person. You have been truly blessed because the reality is true friends are worth their weight in gold.