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June 26, 2015

Friends are what keep us together in a civilized society. They fulfill the same role now as they did when groups of Neanderthals huddled together in their caves eons ago. They are the comfort in our daily lives and what in many cases keep us sane and healthy.

However, not all friends are the same. We must constantly examine our friendships to see into which of the following categories each belongs:

Acquaintances – These are people we meet, usually in work or recreational situations. They are friendly, but often the relationships are not strong enough to merit the definition “friend.” We share activities such as opera, football or fishing with these individuals. These are comfortable people to have around. We see them just occasionally.

Friends – These people are in fact friends. However, they usually have limits placed upon themselves that do not allow for much sacrifice or true understanding. They are often the ones who say, “I feel your pain, man!” when in fact thy have felt little. They are well meaning and important parts of our daily lives. However, they often have an expiration date.

True Friends – These are friends of the next level. Often, these people have gone “above and beyond” to share their lives with us and have true, deep feelings of loyalty toward us in all situations. These are the people who are regularly in our lives and who enrich our lives on a continual basis.

Life-long Friends – These people are the cream of the crop but are almost always very few in number. The relationships with life-long friends are, as the description implies, developed over many years. Life-long friends are often not the closest friends on a day to day basis but they are always the ones we turn to when we need more than just a bit of moral support. They act as pillars on which we may always lean and the situation is always equal in its opposite.

Most of us are blessed if we have many in the first two categories, just a few true friends and perhaps one or two life-long friends. Where do you stack-up in terms of friends and befriending?

Note: The photograph is of a statue in the village of Senale, Bolzano Province, Italy.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at

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