Just Sayin’: That’s What Friends Are For

This week it’s been on my mind to ask myself,

“Just what are friends for, anyway?”

Or, “Just what is a friend?”

Or, “What does it take to be a friend?”

We all, every one of us, can attest to the fact that we ‘believe’ friends are important. There have been volumes written and miles of recordings recorded making claim that friends are important. Why? What for? If I am going to be a friend, what is my function? If I am going to have friends, what will be their function?

Here we go with the questions again. An aside, I’m sure I was that whiny 4-year old who kept asking WHY at every turn. But then, if you have read any of my writing or even talked to me for more than a few minutes over the past few years, you know that even though I may not have answers, I have acres and acres of opinions . . . strongly held and loudly proclaimed. Sometimes opinions can even suffice for answers.

So, here’s my take on friendship:

There are only two functions required of a friend. FRIENDS ARE IN OUR LIVES TO SHARE TWO THINGS: PAIN AND LAUGHTER. Everything else in between may also be shared, to be certain. But those other things are optional, not essential.

And why share? Because, as one writer aptly stated, (I believe is was King David in the Psalms) we come into this world alone and depart this life alone. We humans are born solitary creatures. But in between the birth and death experience, we are herd animals. And friendship speaks to that “in between” section.

Sharing ameliorates the solitary and strengthens the individual’s relationship to the herd. In this capacity, sharing has several functions. First of all, sharing acts as a mirror to allow us (or our emotions) to be validated as being real. Secondly, just like good butter added to anything, sharing intensifies the experience. With the laughter, more is never too much. With the pain, the intensity is spread out over more than just yourself, thus making it more bearable. It makes the load of pain lighter to carry, if you will.

Oh, then there’s that ‘trust’ issue. But my perception is this, in order for the two elements listed above to work in a friendship, there has to be trust. Knowing a person without the trust element is just an acquaintance.

Well, and then there’s that perspective thing. A really, REALLY good friend will let you know that the joke you just told was not funny, or to get a grip, put on your big girl panties and deal with whatever the pain may be and get over it . . . . or a really really REALLY good friend may just laugh uproariously, or simply hold your hand when words aren’t enough.

So, friends . . . does anyone really need them? Can you be a friend? Am I a good friend? I don’t know about you, but I live firmly in the middle of the herd, surrounded by friends who make me glad to be there!!

To quote me: “FRIENDSHIP: THE ONE ELEMENT OF WEALTH ANYONE CAN OWN.”

Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years.
A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.

Adrienne Jacoby
Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years. A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.
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8 Responses

  1. Avatar RichardMy says:

    AJ, You have been a friend to so many and opened your heart sharing from your soul. You spent many years as an educator developing friendships with your students that are now young adults and….some are even middle aged adults now…oh my, and with those of us who are their parents. Those ex-students of yours still think of you so often and cherish that friendship and bond they still have with you. Thanks for caring. Also, thank you for coming to my son's wedding this last summer in our backyard. I have a CD from one of those ex-students to give you if you'll contact me at EHS.

    • ajac37 ajac37 says:

      Thank you, my dear friends. What a rich vein of friendship I was privileged to mine for all those years. And occasionally a rare nugget like yourselves, would show up in my nugget pan.

  2. ajac37 ajac37 says:

    Nope, I tend to "not choose!" I tend to treat people I meet as friends I just haven't met yet. Have I gotten hurt by this naiveté? Sure. But I have also developed some very precious friends in very unexpected places. So I bop thru life gathering a wildflower bouquet of weeds and rare orchids and sometimes, every once-in-a-while, one tends to morph into the other.
    I do not propose that choosing carefully or not choosing carefully is to be preferred. I just know what works for me.. .. at the moment ,. . . so far!

  3. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    A.J… A friend is indeed a jewell to cherish and enjoy. You never know when or where you might meet a new one and some are in and out of our lives lighting fast. But, through the years, we should develop all the friendships we need for mental stability and peace of mind. That was an inspiring article. Thank you for posting it friend.

  4. I have a sign hanging in my bedroom…. "Friends are the gifts we give ourselves." You really nailed it with your piece this week. Beautiful. The older I get, the less I care about "stuff" and the more important moments with friends become.

  5. Avatar Juanita Echelbarger says:

    Adrienne, a very succinct expression of what a friend is. And, yes, I have friends who I hold dear. But, speaking of friendship, I recently discovered what it is to lose a friend to whom I have been closely connected for years. Many years! When she died I was bereft. I realized there was no one left in this world with whom I had shared so much history. The things that had us rolling on the floor in laughter, no one else would get. Other things we shared that were shared with no one else. Who would cover us in sorrow, who would see the funny side of life through our eyes as no one else. I miss her! Still I am grateful for all the friends who care about this loss. Adrienne, you & I go back a long, long way as well. We have shared a lot of history, too. Please don’t go anywhere. I would miss you, too. P.S. I fullly enjoy your articles, here. I don’t always get them read immediately. Life is full of rabbit holes where I often go down and get distracted. I am glad to call you ‘friend’. Juanita

  6. Avatar Juanita Echelbarger says:

    Adrienne, a very succinct expression of what a friend is. And, yes, I have friends who I hold dear. But, speaking of friendship, I recently discovered what it is to lose a friend to whom I have been closely connected for years. Many years! When she died I was bereft. I realized there was no one left in this world with whom I had shared so much history. The things that had us rolling on the floor in laughter, no one else would get. Other things we shared that were shared with no one else. Who would cover us in sorrow, who would see the funny side of life through our eyes as no one else. I miss her! Still I am grateful for all the friends who care about this loss. Adrienne, you & I go back a long, long way as well. We have shared a lot of history, too. Please don’t go anywhere. I would miss you, too. P.S. I fullly enjoy your articles, here. I don’t always get them read immediately. Life is full of rabbit holes where I often go down and get distracted. I am glad to call you ‘friend’. Juanita THIS IS NOT A DUPLICATE OF ANYTHING I HAVE WRITTEN OR SAID ANYWHERE. Why did this come up on the screen?