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Viewpoint from Janice Tapp 26/02/2016 

Dove rightWhat is a Friend?

Jan Tapp
TLC Project Manager

One of my pet hates is to hear people talk of 'my friend', when they are referring to someone they know merely by name, that they work alongside, share lunch breaks with or have a shared interest or hobby. Are they really friends? If you belong to the social media site you can have 100s or 1,000s of friends with a click of a button. So, is a friend another individual you share any part of your life with no matter how small?
One of my favourite sayings and I don't know who penned it is:
“You'll always be my friend you know too much about me!”
I believe a friend is someone who 'knows' you at some intimate level. I believe a friend is someone we share our hopes, our dreams, our joys and our disappointments. To me a 'true' friend is someone you are free to be you in their company – the real you, someone you don't have to hide bits of you from, don't have to put a mask on, play a part or pretend to be something you are not. I have always likened my friendship group to an onion! The outer skin being those I enjoy time with “play mates”, pink and fluffy moments but never getting beyond the outer shell of each other
dove leftIn the centre of the onion are a handful of 'true' friends – those who know the real me, those who share my laughter and my tears. They are the ones I turn to in times of celebration and crisis. They have stood the test of time, ones who share their vulnerabilities with me too. My true friends know me and I know them. My true friends are people I spend time with, talk to and they talk to me
I believe we need all types of friends to share the journey of life with. Some walk with us for a short while, others stay for life. My friend Pat has a saying “Those who aren't with us can't stay, and those who are with us can't leave!”
Some people come into your life pretending to be a friend but prove otherwise. True friendship is costly. It's not for the faint hearted, it's not for those who wear a mask because if you spend a long time with another person your mask will slip and the real you will appear.  Friendship is not for those who aren't prepared to give of themselves because friends take time, love and energy. Friendship is a relationship of sharing, of giving and receiving. If you're giving of your time, your love and your energy and never receiving any in return it's probably, not in my view, a real friendship
I remember shortly before my elder son married, he told me he had booked some days leave around significant football matches due to take place later in the year. I reminded him he'd be a married man by then, and he said “Mum, I'm getting married to enhance my life not end it!”  A true friendship, and yes, husband and wife should be friends, is a joy not a burden! True friendship is a gift God and Jesus is my best friend