A very few is all you need

A few thoughts of others about friends:

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with a few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation." - George Washington

"True friends will be there even if you refuse to talk to them because they know deep down inside you can't stand the silence." - Unknown

"My mother used to say that there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet. She's now in a maximum security twilight home in Australia." - Dame Edna Everage

I'm learning a lot lately about friendship. As I've thought about the friendships that bring me the most happiness and humanity, I've realized that they are the ones based on mutual trust, need, interests, and care. Most of my life, I've believed in the principle Dame's mother taught--that I should try to make everyone my friend. I can't do that anymore, though...it's sending me straight toward that same twilight home! 

I'm beginning to value the role of acquaintances. They are great, and most people I know are acquaintances to me. That used to bother me, but not any more. Acquaintances are good for fun, for a good chat, for spending time with, for helping in an occasional time of need or sorrow. 

But friends are a rare thing indeed. I've been experiencing some inner turmoil as people I thought were my friends have turned out to be acquaintances. Today a friend helped me understand that treating acquaintances the way friends treat each other leads to undue stress and disappointment. What a relief! It turns out the problem hasn't been me or other people, just a misunderstanding of the relationship between us. 

I've heard you're lucky if you manage to have a few good friends in the course of your life. Turns out that statement is true. Turns out I can count my friends on one hand. Turns out I'm lucky. 


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