What Friends Say about Friendship

“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and those who fear the Lord will find him.” – Sirach 6: 14 – 16

Everyone has an idea of friendship, and to a certain extent, how one could act in order to cultivate a lasting companionship with a friend.

But have you ever actually asked your friends what they think is important in your friendship? Have you asked them how they think you should treat them in order to create a lifelong, strong friendship?

You might be interested in what you find. Maybe, asking this question, you will discover how you can be a better friend.

After asking a single question about friendship from many teens of our age, here are some of the answers I found.

“What is the most important characteristic of a strong, healthy, lifelong friendship and why?”

  • “Trust, in my experience, has proven to be most important for a strong, healthy, lifelong friendship as many virtues come from it. It may be true that one may have a friend with whom they share a lot in common with: have great chemistry/connection, similar interests, etc. However, these things will not last unless there is a firm foundation of trust established between the two. True good friends will likely have a lifelong friendship if they always attempt to display trust to one another, which results in loyalty, kindness, honesty, charity, and forgiveness in their actions (virtues Christ demonstrated with His Apostles). The two friends will then only continue to grow in holiness and closeness with God and one another, as long as they keep performing these virtues with trust as their basis first.”
  • “A sustainable, healthy, and lifelong friendship can only be obtained if the friendship is founded upon virtue. The most important characteristic of a virtuous friendship is that both people are working for the common good of the other. Anything that falls short of this ideal is weak and unreliable; i.e friendships of pleasure and utility. Finally, anyone participating in the ideal friendship will find that they are the most happy as they neither need nor desire anything except the good of the other.”
  • “The most important aspect of a lifelong friendship is virtue. In my experience, I have found that my strongest friendships have not been formed around soccer, spikeball, or my academic studies, but rather around the altar. Someone who loves you not for money, fame, or any other worldly good will be willing to suffer the greatest hardships, all for your sake. Based upon reaching the highest good, albeit a lofty goal, a friendship based upon virtue will, undeniably, last one a lifetime.”
  • “The most important characteristic to a lasting and healthy friendship is the basing of that friendship on something lasting and healthy. All friendships are based on some common interest, whether that be in fitness, a favorite music genre, or even just common responsibilities, but a lasting and healthy friendship is based upon a more noble interest, like in a certain great author, or in a love of the rosary; something you wouldn’t be ashamed to continue doing and loving for the rest of your life. Because of this, the greatest friendships are spiritual friendships, for, just as all else will pass away at the end of the world and spiritual things will remain, so all friendships will pass away, but spiritual friendships will last eternally. Someone who you are talking to about cute girls [or guys] you are not going to be friends with long; someone who you nerd about Chesterton with will also pass away, if not now, then at your death; but someone you pray for, someone you pray with, jointly loving God, will remain your friend always.”
  • “Trust; if you cannot trust a friend you can’t truly confide in them. A friend is somebody who can give an outside view and advice on things you need help with. If you cannot trust this person to keep information private or to stay with you through a hard time they are not worth your confidence, trust, or time.”
  • “The most important characteristic of a strong, healthy, lifelong friendship is self-sacrifice. True self-sacrifice is the greatest form of love and can never be measured. In the words of Mother Teresa: “Intense love does not measure, it just gives,” and “If you really love one another, you will not be able to avoid making sacrifices.” The greatest example of this is Jesus’ death on the Cross. This virtue is needed and prevalent in every kind of close relationship, and cannot be replaced.”

You probably have noticed an underlying principle behind all these answers. It seems to me as if, for a friendship to indeed be substantial and lasting, it must be based upon virtue. That, at least, seems to be what my friends answered when I asked.

With virtue as the foundation, a friendship will flourish into a relationship built around Christ and His love, and will lead its partakers into an eternal friendship with Christ in paradise.

Ask your friends about friendship and see what they say. Maybe this will help you to become an even better friend; a holier person, and indeed, more Christ-like.

“God sends us friends to be our firm support in the whirlpool of struggle. In the company of friends we will find strength to attain our sublime ideal.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe