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You’ve Got a Friend in Me

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Whenever I would start my first day of school, my mom would always ask, “Did you make any friends?” and I would always blow it off with some lame answer like “Oh...yeah I guess so”, when in my head I was saying, “Why are you asking me this?” Today, my friends are some of the most important people in my life, just as important as my ffamily. Like family, there isn’t a definition for friend that suffices, since it just briefly explains the emotional attachment instead of everything behind that emotion. Elbert Hubbard, a writer from the late 19th century, phrased it the best. He said, “The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you”, which sums up everything that a friend truly is. My own definition of a friend is a person to always turn to no matter what, the one that is always there to listen without giving judgment or insults, and the one who really know me best. Some people may ask, well isn’t your family all of those things, which poses the question, Who is more important? This is a question that I often ponder and it is extremely difficult to ever come to any conclusion being that these two groups of people are so important to me, so choosing one over the other feels impossible. Thinking about this question is like playing a game of Ping-Pong, just back and forth interminably.
When I think of family, they are the people who are always there, whether I want them or not. (Yes there are those times that I don’t really want them there and just need space.) But what happens when the ffamily that has always been there isn’t anymore? One time my mom and I were having one of our I-know-it-is-stupid-but-I’m-still-mad-at-you-about-it fights and weren’t exactly on speaking terms. Walking into school that day, I was very down and feeling like I was sinking. Like Robin Williams in Jumanji, quicksand was pulling me deeper and deeper into the floor and I was up to my chin in guilt and stress. My best friend immediately assumed that something was wrong; “I could see it in your eyes”, she told me later that day. Instead of our conversation becoming a Doctor Phil session, she didn’t even ask me about it. I remember she said to me, “So did you watch Pretty Little Liars last night! Oh my God it was so good!” That was all I needed, for her to pull me out of the floor and cheer me up when nobody else could.
Friends are also the ones that will be there to listen no matter what the situation might be. Sometimes, I just don’t want to talk to my family about certain things. That is where my friends come in. I know that if I have a problem, I can tell a friend and be consoled, get guidance, or just have them listen. I distinctly remember having trouble deciding what classes I would take at school for the upcoming year. My parents had all the confidence that I would do fine in anything that I would take, however they’re parents and they’re supposed to say that! I wanted an honest opinion, so at lunch one day, I sat down with a bunch of my friends and we all talked about what to take in the year to come. We also gave each other our opinions of what each other should take. That was great because it not only gave me an idea of what to take, but I also helped my friends decide.
What I believe is the most important characteristic of friends is that they are the ones that know you best, sometimes even better than you know yourself. That is why Hubbard’s quote is so tremendous, because they are the ones that “know all about you and still like you”. I mean, it is certainly one thing to know pretty much everything about a person, but you could still utterly despise them! It is like the classic hero and villain stories, they know pretty much everything about each other, but they are still worst enemies. This is what really separates the friends from the ffamily because people feel that you have to like someone since there is that pressure of being relatives. It is somehow a covenant bond that would be a sin if broken. I find this to be why many call their best friend their “partner in crime”, because they are on the same side and that is where they want to be.
With my family, there are already certain ideas and expectations of who I am. They raised me a certain way, hoping that I turn out as a “good person”. Being that friends originate as strangers, they can only learn about me through my words, thoughts, and actions, and the same goes for me learning about them. I am constantly trying to stay away from stereotypes because I know that 99.9% of the time, those are incorrectly portraying who the person is. Since most of my friends are ones I see frequently, we are always learning things about each other. When I say that some friends know you better than you know yourself, I am referring to how some friends know what you are going to say or how you act in certain situations. When it comes to my best friend and me, we have that sort of relationship that she would know how I would react in a specific situation or what I would say. Sometimes, as people, we can’t see certain things about ourselves that others can see and friends bring those things to surface.
My game of Ping-Pong over who is more important in my life, friends or ffamily, has been going on for a while now. When I consider how important my friends really are in my life, I come to the conclusion that they are more important than family. My definition of a friend is a person to always turn to no matter what, the one that is always there to listen without giving judgment or insults, and is the one who really know me best. This is not to say that family isn’t important because they really are. Family is good for a lot of things but friends are truly priceless. Now I know why my mom always asked me on the first day of school, “Did you make any friends?”, because everyone needs them in their lives.





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