My definition of a friend has always been simple: a person with whom I have a good time, whenever I am around him or her, is my 'friend'. I have a lot of friends - and believe me - when I say 'a lot', I mean A LOT! I may have had a conversation with someone for just 10 minutes while waiting for my turn at the doctor's clinic; or I might just have exchanged pleasantries with a person at a random party; but I would have no qualms in acknowledging them as a 'friend' the next time I get a chance of interacting with them. It is perhaps this trait of mine that makes people describe me as being a very friendly person.
Of course the levels of attachment and comfort would differ from one friend to another but I don't think that level depends on the amount of time I have known them. Unlike some of my peers, I have never had a person who has been a constant feature in my life - even when I was in school, I think I was friends with different people at different points of time. In college also, I never really belonged to one particular group and had quite a mixed bag of friends. Like everybody, I made friends in school, college and neighbourhood. Apart from that, I have online friends, friends that I made on a plane journey; and I am even friends with the dogs that I met, fed and played with on my college campus!
I do not know if it is a flaw but I have never managed to maintain friendship with someone for a very long time. I have a tendency of getting bored easily - sometimes I think that the concept of permanence just does not exist for me. I change organizations if I feel the place has nothing new to offer; I get bored of eating the same kind of food - and for each meal, I demand variety; I have never lived in one place for a very long period of time and that is something which does not even bother me because I like changes and the entire array of things that come with any change excite me. Sometimes, I wonder if I outgrow people in the same manner in which I outgrow things...In school, I think I had a new 'best friend' every academic year! Of course in college I managed to have a stable set of friends with whom I still keep in touch - though not as frequently as I would like it to be...
I am definitely not a person who has even had or been a 'Friend Forever' but I value my friendship with each person...While the quality of interaction differs from one person to another depending on a number of factors, I really feel that with each friend, I am a different person because each of them have been exposed to different sides of my personality. The conversations that I have had with each one of them is special and it is this uniqueness that makes me appreciate each person who has been a 'friend' to me - even if it was for a span as short as fifteen minutes or as long as seven years.
There was a time when I harboured rather idealistic notions of friendship until reality played its part and made me realize that not everyone functions the same way or perceives a relationship in the same way as I do. I may have had one perfect friend but that does not mean the rest of the friends I make are also going to be perfect! I make mistakes and so will the others...At the end of the day, it is all about accepting the person as he or she is, and looking beyond the flaws. If the flaws cannot be overlooked, it is probably best to part ways because harnessing false hopes and unreal expectations only causes hurt to both parties.
Like every other relationship, friendship is also built on trust and lots of love. When there is a betrayal, it is as painful and tormenting as is the case in any other relation. People focus a lot on issues in the family and in their romantic relationships but the issues in a friendship are always sidelined. I do not know the reasons for this peculiar phenomena - perhaps, I am the only one who over-analyzes this relationship!
Carl Jung had rightly said, "The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed."
It does not matter if it was a fleeting friendship or a permanent one...It does not matter if someone was a 'good friend' or a 'bad friend'...With each person I have interacted and spent time with, I have learnt something and it has helped me become the person I am today - be it good or bad. We may have only been friends for a few weeks or our friendship may be going strong since seven years and counting, but I would like to thank each and every friend of mine for shaping my life the way it is today - thanks to them, my life is beautiful!