I've been thinking a lot about what a friend is and what it means to be a friend. To me a friend is someone you share your life with; your joys and sorrows, your doubts and revelations. A friend is someone who cheers you on and who receives your own cheers when the friend needs support. A friend is someone who knows all the nitty-gritty about a person and doesn't judge. A friend speaks the truth to you and isn't afraid for the repercussions because a real friend knows that the friendship will remain intact through the truth.
Friends don't ignore each other. Friends stay in contact, though periods of quiet can happen, too. Friends make each other feel better when they are together, not worse. It's a give-and-take relationship, sometimes one gives much more than the other, but eventually the roles get reversed. Friendships, generally, are for life.
I'm still trying to figure out who my friends are. I'm also surprised by who some are turning out to be.
I like Wikipedia's definition very much:
Friendship is the cooperative and supportive relationship between two or more people. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, affection, and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis. Friends will welcome each other's company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behavior, such as the exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship. A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors. Yet for some, the practical execution of friendship is little more than the trust that someone will not harm them.