Sunday at our Mass, the priest gave a great homily on friendship. He talked about the three main friendship types, which triggered reflection for me on the friendships I have made over the years. I will talk about his three categories for friends. (Thank you Father Patrick).

The lowest level of friendship is one of utility. In other words, you are more than aquiantances you say hi to in the grocery store, but you aren’t close friends. You are friends because you individually  have a commodity that serves the other. For example, one of you may have good tickets to a favorite sport game and the other may have a couple of unused concert tickets. So, from time to time, you go to these events together, but there is no real sharing of lives.

The second level is pleasure friendship. This friendship is filled with pleasurable activities that you do together on a regular basis, such as golfing, fishing, hunting, shopping etc. You both derive great pleasure from doing these activities together, but this is what drives the bond. However, when this friendship is not nurtured on a continual basis, it can easily slip back to the level of utility friendship.

The highest level of friendship is full of fun and pleasure you experience together, but also much more. The bond is one built on trust, confidentiality, respect, generosity,   and a real investment in each other’s lives. This friendship is one that will bolster your PURPOSE on this journey, comfort you in your sorrows, and celebrate your JOYS!

It is never about the number of friends in your life, but rather it is about the type of friends. Most likely, we all have a few utility friends and a few more pleasure friends. The goal I believe is to have a few true friends that fall in the highest category, ones who will be there from the beginning to the end and to say “yes, my life was definitely enhanced with this person in my life”.

One of my favorite quotes is from William Shakespeare: “A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”

How do you define your friendships?


The Basket of Friendship!

Recently, I had a visit for a couple of days of a dear friend of nearly 40 years! What a delightful time we had reminiscing, laughing, planning for a future trip together (with husbands), and experiencing true contentment just seeing each other again.  I started thinking about real friendship and decided to create the basket of friendship above: loyalty + caring + supportive + trust + fun = JOY.

There are people in our lives who are acquaintances and we see them every so often,  but there is not a personal relationship with them. Situational friendships might be built around a group one belongs to. Mentor friendships may change over life as one grows and matures in a career.  Neighbors often turn out to be that helpful friend whom you can count on to assist with different things. There are also work friends that one might lunch with or stop in to have coffee or a drink with. Family members are often wonderful friends. Certainly, sometimes  friends within these circles do develop into  life long trusted friendships that bring JOY to one’s life.

It is a blessed life indeed if one has a few friends that are loyal through thick and thin; caring about you no matter what your status in life; supportive of you and your endeavors in life and will guide you if you fall off course; trusts you as you do them implicitly; and there is always joint fun and laughter. If life changes paths, and you do not see each other often, the friendship continues to grow with regular communication because that is probably the biggest denominator that binds you together…..that sharing of souls.  When you do see each other, it is like a day has never passed not sharing. One doesn’t need a multitude of this type of friend…….just a treasured few that bring  JOY.

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” (Unknown)

Who is your most treasured friend and how can you nourish that friendship to bring even more JOY?