26 May 2011


FRIEND .........

  • A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts
  • A person whom one knows; an acquaintance
  • A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade
  • One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement.

As the URBAN DICTIONARY would say ......

A real friend is someone who:

  • it's okay to fart in front of.
  • you don't mind talking to on the bus for at least 20 minutes.
  • can borrow $5 and never has to pay it back
  • you'll actually call up do stuff.

The word ‘friend’ is one of the rare cases in the English language whose meaning has remained consistent throughout hundreds of years of usage. The word of Germanic origin has existed in the English language since its founding in Old English. Back then, ‘friend’ existed as ‘freond’ which was the present participle of the verb freon, ‘to love’. The root of the verb was ‘fri-’ which meant ‘to like, love, or be affectionate to’.

To use the word ‘friend’ in Old English was to define a relationship with strong feelings, independent of sexual or family love- a meaning that is still very similar to the ‘friend’ we use over 1500 years later. ‘Friend’, in a period of warfare and conflict, was also defined by its antonym ‘enemy’. To be a ‘friend’ one could not be hostile towards the other- there were no friends on different sides of a conflict, and it was at this time that ‘friend’ extended its meaning to describe and define loyalty. By Middle English and beyond, a friend had the added connotation of someone who would financially help a particular institute and by the late 17th century friend was adopted into an adjective to mean, ‘well disposed, and not hostile’. - Language Study by Suite 101.

With modern methods of communication and the ever increasing popularity of social-networking sites (FaceBook, Twitter etc) the meaning of friend may well be the same but now more than ever we have more 'friends' than ever before as ......

The average person has double the number of online friends compared with physical ones, a study has concluded.
And people tended to be more open, confident and honest with their virtual friends than their 'real' counterparts.
The study, commissioned by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust shows that people typically have 121 online friends compared with 55 physical friends. - The Telegraph (09/05/2011).

121online friends and 55 physical ones? I wonder how that will change when people realise .......

FRIENDS CAN MAKE YOU FAT. Obesity is contagious and people who have a higher number of fat friends or family members are at greater risk of becoming obese themselves, according to a study.
Researchers said there were a number of ways that fat people could influence others. It could be subliminal, by making people think their weight was normal, but it could also be more direct, with obese people putting pressure on their slimmer friends to eat more and exercise less. - The Daily Telegraph (09/05/2011)

Well, what can I say? I've brought you some pretty incredulous 'research' stories over the last two years but I think the must get the award for being the most ridiculous.


What thinks you? What is your definition of a friend? How many people do you class as friends? Do you class your online friends as 'real' friends? Do let us know your thoughts.

And remember .........

So see you soon,


A said...


Nice collection you presented. If you want to read a version of a young girl, read my daughter's short poem 'Friends are...' on my blog. http://arealblogger.blogspot.com/2010/04/friends-are.html

Lilly said...

Very interesting post.

I only have a few close friends, maybe 5 or 6. That's the ones I feel I can trust, say anything to, spend time with, and that I have fairly regular contact with. Even if we haven't talked in months, when we talk again, it feels like we've never been apart.

Then I have some other friends that are not so close. Friends that I grew up with, or have gone to school with, worked with etc. I don't tell them everything that's going on in my life, but I say hi and talk to them when I bump into them. And I think it's nice to see them.

I don't add people to my Facebook friends unless I know them in real life. So I'm not one of those people with 3786 friends on Facebook, I think I've got 133, and most of them are family. There is only one girl that I've got as a Facebook friend that I've never met in real life, but we've been writing letters to each other for nearly 10 years, so I would class her as a "real life" friend.

Misha said...

Great post! :)
I have a very few friends but they're close ones. I don't believe in forming a huge group of friends because I would not even interact with all of them.

NRIGirl said...

Hi Petty! Good wrap up on 'Friend' I must say. It is true we have started to use the term 'friend' very broadly these days.

There are times I feel I am friends with all and then there are times I feel no friend at all.

Now to answer your question(s):
* I only have one best friend - my Mom with whom I can share about anything
* Yes, I do consider my online friends as real friends - some are close, some or not, but friends they are all.

(Funny, how I am sounding more like Dr. Seuss in 'Cat in the Hat' :) )

R. Ramesh said...

agree boss, c u soon is better..hey actually u r such a good person i really wish to c u ssoonn..take a bus n reach dubai fast..cheers

Chatty Crone said...

A friend is the one left next to you - when all others have gone.

Suko said...

Petty, wonderful post!

What is friendship?
Some say friends share the same soul. Others take it more lightly. And there are definitely varying degrees of friendship.

The whole concept of friends/friendship is changing as a result of the social networks at our fingertips. We do have the opportunity to be friends with people around the world on the WWW, to connect with others at a great distance from us almost instantly. :)

Dorte H said...

I have a rather small circle of very close friends from ´real life´, but I hadn´t blogged for long before blog friends began to matter to me. I worry about them if they don´t blog for a long time, and the two times I have met some of them in real life have been wonderful. These events have confirmed that we are friends, we like spending time together and we run off home to blog about how lovely it was :D

Kelly said...

This was a fun post! (except I didn't like that part about friend making you fat!!)

I find I have friends that fit into several categories: close, online, and those that are really more than just acquaintances, but not really close friends. Sadly, some who were once close have drifted away (due to a variety of reasons), but I guess that's just life. I do know that as I get older I realize just how important friendship really is.

GMR said...

Wonderful post Tracy. I think a friend is a combination of your first definitions and sad though it may seem, I have more "true friends" online than in person nowadays. Now grant it, not every online connection is a friend, some are acquaintances....but it's the one's you can "talk" to (even virtually) about almost anything and at odd hours, run things by, and discuss one thing over the course of a week and never drop the conversation that forges the friendship bond. ^_^ (Oh and yeah, the "fat" story...umm, it'd only be true if all you both did was sit and do nothing and even then it's a choice, not an affect of friendship....silly researchers.)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This is cute in some ways. However, I would amend the $5 one and say... you can borrow it on a whim, but feel like you should pay them back. That way the friendship isn't one-sided. Which can happen. :P

I don't know if people have more on-line friends or on-line acquaintances. I think that is what the whole facebook thing comes down to a lot. *shrugs*

naida said...

Great post!
I have a select few real life friends who I am close with and can trust, they are like family to me.

Though online friends are different, since we've never met, they do have a special place in my life. If I dont see my blogging friends post on a regular basis, I worry over them! lol. Sometimes it seems like I know my online friends comings and goings better than my real life friends since I stop by thier blogs everyday.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oh this was a neat post! I really like the information on the word Friend. This was really cool to read. :) Thank you!

animewookie said...

Fantastic post...In my opinion Loyalty truly defines friendship and the only way we find out who is loyal to us is through trials over time. Some will weather...most will not. I have one friend I hold in esteem above all others, but I have many friends I enjoy socializing with. To call them acquaintances seems to lessen what they mean to me, but by my own definition, friendship requires a test of time and circumstance. You really have me thinking with this one :D

Patti said...

Interesting run down of what a friend means, especially the part that people have more online friends.

Alexia561 said...

Great post! Love the Urban Dictionary definitions! *L*

I think that your online friends can be just as important as "real life" friends that you see on a regular basis. We worry about each other. Celebrate milestones. Share news both good and bad. Friends are friends, whether they're online or off. :)

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

very nice post!

i love my friends, my on-line friends as well.

hope i'll meet you sometime.
i'd love to.

big big hugs!
betty xx

Lilly said...

Just found a great quote to go with this post.

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.”