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Friendship is that relationship which we choose ourselves. Family ties, being by birth, don’t leave us with scope of selecting. It is friendship and the friends we choose to have that make a statement on the type of people we are.
To me friendship is primarily based on shared values. An honest person will not befriend a thief. A thief, pretending to be friends with an honest man, will only wait for an opportunity to exploit or cheat him. Friends need to be carefully chosen or they will cause much pain in the long run.
Giving space in friendship is integral to the health of the relationship. If your friend starts to dictate terms to you in matters which don’t affect him at all, he is not showing any respect towards you. The same goes for those who always give advice unasked for and pass negative comments. Such people are just pretenders, not true friends.
Friendship is about inner growth. If a person makes you feel empowered to face the challenges of life, he is your friend. If a person is sensitive to your feelings and takes care not to hurt you, she is your friend. In this aspect, friendship gives a sense of fulfillment in life, like few things do. However, that does not mean we become emotionally dependent on our friend and feel shattered if he decides to annul the friendship. Like any other relationship, friendship is a learning experience and should not pose an existential-crisis in a person’s emotional life.
Finally, friendship is about self-respect. Your friend will do his best to boost your self-esteem if needed. Otherwise, in my opinion, you should move on. The universe is full of deserving friends; true friendship needs time to take root and sometimes comes as a welcome surprise. The stranger you are talking to today, may bring with him the chance of a beautiful relationship called true friendship.