There are probably a number of answers to this question, but in my opinion, the bottom line is one has to truly love and accept who they are, flaws and all, before they are able to be a true friend. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself. And you can’t seek in a friend something that is not in you.
Whether we are speaking of romantic relationships and platonic friendships the same is always true. (DISCLAIMER: I use the term relationship as it relates to the relational interactions between people.) You can’t find someone else to complete what is lacking in you. That’s how we end up in dysfunctional, unfulfilling relationships which eventually lead to discord and bitterness.
You have to link yourself to persons who have the same beliefs as you. Similar foundational beliefs systems, when nurtured, can lead to long term satisfying relationships. Nevertheless, we are able to relate to persons whose belief systems differ as long as all parties are content in who they are and what they believe and are respectful of the fact that you believe something different.
This is where the term associate comes into play. An associate is instrumental in your development of self because you can understand and learn about yourself within their context, elevating you to a different level. With an associate, something will always be missing from the relationship, because they are usually only in our lives for a season, to teach us something. And they may come in and out of your life at very random moments in time.
Whether “true” is the word I would use to define who or how I am with the people in my life is tricky. I am what I want to receive from them. If I am going through a rough patch, I may not be the best friend in the world; however the love and appreciation I have for them is unwavering. Rough patches are tough, but real friends are able to bounce back from them. If you are finding yourself having the same disagreements with the same people over and over again, then it is time to evaluate their purpose in your life. Sometimes, because of similar interests (among other reasons), we hang on to people who were only meant to be in our lives for a season.
Do you want to know how you know I am your true friend? Because I will be willing to walk out of your life if I believed that would mean a lifetime of happiness for you. Friendship is not selfish.
That’s my definition of friendship: tell me yours…