The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means "family." The connotation suggests a bond between people who've made a similar commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the deepest connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past.
Many of us have people in our lives with whom we feel the bond described by the word kenzoku. They may be family members, a mother, a brother, a daughter, a cousin. Or a friend from grammar school with whom we haven't talked in decades. Time and distance do nothing to diminish the bond we have with these kinds of friends.
The question then arises: why do we have the kind of chemistry encapsulated by the word kenzoku with only a few people we know and not scores of others? The closer we look for the answer the more elusive it becomes. It may not in fact be possible to know, but the characteristics that define a kenzoku relationship most certainly are.
WHAT DRAWS PEOPLE TOGETHER AS FRIENDS?
- Common interests. This probably ties us closer to our friends than many would like to admit. When our interests diverge and we can find nothing to enjoy jointly, time spent together tends to rapidly diminish. Not that we can't still care deeply about friends with whom we no longer share common interests, but it's probably uncommon for such friends to interact on a regular basis.
- History. Nothing ties people together, even people with little in common, than having gone through the same difficult experience. As the sole glue to keep friendships whole in the long run, however, it often dries, cracks, and ultimately fails.
- Common values. Though not necessarily enough to create a friendship, if values are too divergent, it's difficult for a friendship to thrive.
- Equality. If one friend needs the support of the other on a consistent basis such that the person depended upon receives no benefit other than the opportunity to support and encourage, while the relationship may be significant and valuable, it can't be said to define a true friendship.
WHAT MAKES A FRIEND WORTHY OF THE NAME?
- A commitment to your happiness. A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before your friendship. It's said that "good advice grates on the ear," but a true friend won't refrain from telling you something you don't want to hear, something that may even risk fracturing the friendship, if hearing it lies in your best interest. A true friend will not lack the mercy to correct you when you're wrong. A true friend will confront you with your drinking problem as quickly as inform you about a malignant-looking skin lesion on your back that you can't see yourself.
- Not asking you to place the friendship before your principles. A true friend won't ask you to compromise your principles in the name of your friendship or anything else. Ever.
- A good influence. A true friend inspires you to live up to your best potential, not to indulge your basest drives.
Of course, we may have friends who fit all these criteria and still don't quite feel kenzoku. There still seems to be an extra factor, an attraction similar to that which draws people together romantically, that cements friends together irrevocably, often immediately, for no reason either person can identify. But when you find these people, these kenzoku, they're like priceless gems. They're like finding home.
HOW TO ATTRACT TRUE FRIENDS
This one is easy, at least on paper: become a true friend yourself. One of my favorite quotations comes from Gandhi: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Be the friend you want to have. We all tend to attract people into our lives whose character mirrors our own. You don't have to make yourself into what you think others would find attractive. No matter what your areas of interest, others share them somewhere. Simply make yourself a big target. Join social clubs organized around activities you enjoy. Leverage the Internet to find people of like mind. Take action.
As I thought about it, there are four people in my life I consider kenzoku. How many do you?
Dr. Lickerman's book, The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self, is available now. Please read the sample chapter and visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble to order your copy today.
The Definition of Friendship
- Length: 672 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
"Friendship" is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as, the state of being friends, or a friendly feeling. Friends, on the other hand, are defined as people whom one knows well and is fond of. The second definition states a friend as an ally, supporter, or sympathizer.
My personal definition of "friendship" is a feeling or emotion expressed in such a way that another feels wanted and important, a relationship between a person or persons where everyone has some companion to talk to when their in need of one. I would define friends as people whom you can have several types of relations with and feel several emotions for that person. Someone that one might go to in time of need. However, friendships differ between people. For example, the friendship that someone may have between them and their parents would be different than the friendship they might have with someone their age. There are many different friendships that people have. Friendships can exist between best friends, friends, lovers, children, parents, siblings, and many more. All of these differ in some way.
Everyone has a best friend. Whether it be with a person or an animal.
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Friendship Definition Best Friend Friendships Feeling Companion Siblings Companionship Dictionary Friendly
Sometimes people who are lonely find that they have a companionship with their dog or cat. But, mostly when teenagers are the ones being discussed then they usually have more than one person they can go and talk to. To me a best friend is thought of as a person you tell everything to. They know your deepest darkest secrets, and you know theirs as well. Depending on how long you all have been friends, if it has been a long time then you also probably know everything about them, and the way they think, etc. If you are just friends with someone they may not know exactly everything about you and that person may not be the first person you might run to in order to just talk to someone, but you could go to them if you had to. The relationship could grow into a best friend
When you are in a relationship with someone, your lover will become you best friend. Most of the time that results because they are usually the ones you talk to the most so eventually the two become close and they find themselves expressing their feelings to each other without even realizing that they are becoming closer every time. But, if you aren’t married then you still probably go to your best friends and tell them everything going on between you and your lover.
Parents and children I think fit together on this subject. Parents and children create a great friendship over time. Throughout a child’s life and especially through their adolescent years, children tend to pull away from their parents making it hard to actually establish a friendship with them. Teenagers experience knew things that they don’t want their parents to know about or they just don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about it. Parents are the same way. There are some things that children don’t need know about. However, over the years when a child’s parents become unable to take care of themselves, then the children take of them and all their bills and other things. Children learn to appreciate their parents in life and learn that they can turn
to their parents a lot for support. The same goes for being close to their siblings. After all the meanness gets out of them, they realize the greatest friends end up being the people they used to beat up on as kids.
Friendship is a crazy thing. Some people you consider closer than others but overall their all still great people. Friendship is an awesome thing to have with someone. That way you never feel alone or unimportant. A friend is someone who will give you strength and help you get through the hard times. They stand by your side and take up for you no matter what. Its a great thing!