What is a friend? According to Aristotle it is a single soul dwelling in two bodies. But what is it really. Someone you can count on, depend on. What is a friend? I guess a friend has a different definition depending on who you are talking to.

To me, a friend is someone I can count on. And my best friends are people that despite our differences make me feel safe and loved. They are dependable and most importantly loyal. Loyalty is honestly the most important quality in a friend, at least to me. I look at friends as the family you pick, so bottom line I picked these people to love unconditionally. I know that everyone doesn’t view it the same way. To some people friends are a nonfactor. They’re just people to fill the void, but for me friends are my life. They make my good days amazing and my bad days tolerable. I honestly have some of the most amazing friends. I had 5 best friends which would poke fun at my grandfather’s saying that in a lifetime you would only have enough real friends to fit on one hand. Honestly, he was right. He was always right.

Each of my best friends represented a side of me. It was like I was 5 different personalities and each friend would accommodate the crazy. One of my friends was super studious. She and I would study and study and study. The more time I spent with her the better my grades were. My other best friend was the partier. She was super nuts. Every time I saw her she was half dressed and ready to party hard.But she always knew what to do when I had boy trouble, and I knew I could call her at any time of night and she’d be there. Best friend number 3 was my college bestie. She was honestly my all around best friend, but only when we were together. Out of site out of mind. Number 4 was my spiritual and artistic bestie. I could discuss art and writing and all things artistic with her. And she never judged me. She always saw the artist I was. We always understood that feeling deep down that screamed for us to show our selves through our works. She could draw and sculpt. And I still admire all she does in those departments.

My 5th best friend is a doozie. She is my oldest and most beloved friend. I love her to the moon and back. We have almost nothing in common. We NEVER see eye to eye. And we are both annoyingly honest, but if I had to pick someone to stand with me for the rest of my life it would be her. She always has my back, and despite my short coming she gets me. She understands that sometimes, I just need to be left alone. Other times I need someone to listen. We have watched each other grow and change, yet we have never imagined a life without the other. We are sisters.

I believe Aristotle because I have some of the most amazing friends. And I know it. We don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes as we change and don’t grow together, but I still love them.  After 25 years of looking I finally figured out how to shop for friends. You don’t have to have all the same likes and dislikes. You just have to respect each other’s choices. Respect that each decision, no matter how dumb, is our own. And the new friends I add, my extra besties, do that. They get that sometimes I want to do something really dumb for no reason. And sometimes I need help seeing the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Love them for that. I love them for never judging me and for always looking at me as their sister. They see me for who I really am, someone who wants to learn (more often than not the hard way).

However, my core friends are hard to replace because they’ve been there. They get me and they are the best of the best. But some of them have changed, and I will always love them. Those that rise up to replace the fallen will still be as special to me as the originals. I love my friends. They are the family I pick. And I will never regret inviting any of them into the fold. No matter what changes or causes our friendship to end. I will never regret the friends that I’ve had. They helped mold me into who I am. And for that, if nothing else, I will always be grateful.

True friends are hard to find because friendship means so many things to different people. I guess that’s what Muhammad Ali meant when he said, “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”