What Is a Real Friend ?

What is A Real Friend

What does the word friend mean to you? Take a few seconds and think about it.

The word friend to me means someone you can trust and share your thoughts with without judgement. Friends make time for each other and help each other in times of need. If you want to talk or need some advice, a friend welcomes you to call anytime — you don’t need to set up an appointment three weeks out to make the conversation happen. A true friend will even tell you the things you need to hear even when it hurts or might be painful. And they certainly don’t go talking about you to others behind your back. A real friend is a person you can count on no matter what happens. 

Do real friends exist anymore?

I have lots of friends. Most of these people I connect with via social media. We follow each other and maybe even have short conversations online. Every once in a while we might even hang out at conferences or set up a call to talk shop. There’s nothing wrong with these relationships and I sincerely value them all, but most of them don’t feel like real friendships. Maybe because they usually don’t fit my ideals stated above.

The truth is that even though I might have a lot of connections online or offline, I feel lonely. I want to have a solid group of people that I can count on to have my back, even when the crap hits the fan. I desire to have friends who I can call day or night, without an appointment or feeling like I am distracting them, and who will give me honest advice or a swift kick in the pants. I need people who won’t stab me in the back while smiling and telling me they love me at the same time.

It’s not just me who wants this either. There are some of you who want this too!

I know because I’ve had conversations with people who say they want real friends in their lives. They are lonely too and feel like they are on an island by themselves. These folks (maybe even you) want friends they can sincerely count on.

It’s sad that we have the most amazing technology at our disposal, yet we seem to be the most “disconnected” and loneliest people on the planet. Are we too consumed with our own lives that the lives of our friends are a small blip on the radar? Being busy is an excuse. You have to make the time for the things you say are important in your life. Building real friendships couldn’t be an easier these days, but it doesn’t seem to be happening.

Are you looking for real friends?

Maybe you feel the same way or maybe you don’t. Perhaps I’m just working through some middle age psychotic episode or my testosterone has been replaced with an enormous amount of estrogen. Whatever. The point is this. We all need real friends in our lives. We can lie to ourselves and say that we don’t need them, but I think we do.

What do you think?


  1. Kevin Gilbert on April 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I think there are “levels” of friend, but I still consider many to be a “friend”. As you know what I’m going through as I type this, your comment on my Facebook post meant the world to me. I know we are WordPress “brothers” and that is a common bond, but I also know we are followers, imperfect followers, but followers of a man that lived 2000 years ago that taught us what it means to be humans, being. Humans that, while flawed, can choose to make the lives of those around us better or worse. Through your posts, our infrequent conversations about WordPress and business, the genuine concern about me and my family that you’ve demonstrated certainly warrants the label of friend. Keep up the great writing and all that you do, friend. 🙂

    • James Dalman on April 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm


      You HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD! I should have clarified some more in my post about levels of friendships!! In fact, I just got back from a walk with my wife and she was saying the same thing.

      There are many different levels of friendship. Casual all the way to intimate. Each level IS valuable and there’s nothing wrong with that. I guess for me, what I meant to say is that I want more than just a bunch of casual type of friendships, where I feel it’s more than WordPress or design or freelancing. Our friendship is a perfect example. We do talk shop but then we both have exchanged more caring conversations online. I feel like you are more than just a brother in Christ or WordPress. 🙂

      We do all fail and I guess I didn’t mean to sound harsh. I definitely need to put more work into building deeper levels of friendship. It’s great to share and that iron sharpens iron.

      Thanks for being a part of this conversation and a friend. 😉

  2. Patrick Neve on April 11, 2014 at 11:31 am

    James, you know these are one of those posts that won’t be a hit. And we both know why. These are the kinds of topics that cause people to think. To dig deep inside and questions themselves. To address things that are uncomfortable. And this my friend is why (good friends) are hard to find.

    We all want to “think” we are being a great friend to others.

    When you started off with the question: “what does the word friend mean to you?” I INSTANTLY thought to myself,…trustworthy.

    I’ve connected with friends and had some really fun and amazing times in the past, followed-up with gossip and backstabbing remarks. Sad. But true.

    I think this also relates to business more than people might think. If by nature, we can’t learn to resonate with people and build genuine relationships then no one will want to work with us.

    There is nothing wrong with your testosterone or estrogen levels, … The are others that have the same concerns (even though I’m middle-aged as well. Maybe not the perfect example). 🙂

    Great subject buddy. Always keeping it real!

    • James Dalman on April 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Patrick, thanks bro!

      I am not worried about writing anymore to get applause but to nudge people to have better, healthier, and happy lives. 🙂 Tough to do for sure!

      One thing I should have mentioned is that deep, great friendships can be built but it takes TWO people to do it. This is something I personally need to get better at! None of us are perfect and none of us hit on all cylinders all the time. I guess this is more of a reminder that we need various levels for friendship and that it all takes work.

      Appreciate your thoughts!

      • Patrick Neve on April 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm

        I agree 100%. It takes two. Strong friendships take some work. Effort. I definitely need some work in this area. It’s hard to be a good friend when you go months (sometimes years) without reaching out. It can be difficult to spread yourself put when you are responsible for a family and business, but we can find time when we try.

        Sometimes even a simple text is enough to stay connected and show love.

        You’ve opened up some great thoughts today bro. Thanks!

  3. SocialMarketGal on April 11, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I think we do too James. I had a “best friend” for nearly 14 years. Then just like that, over a silly disagreement she cut me off as if all those years meant nothing. It certainly hurt and I tried reconnecting throughout the years, off and on, to no avail. The entire situation has caused me not to trust “friends” anymore and question what real friends really are as well. I will say though that I too miss real friends I just don’t trust that People are really friends to one another. Looking back I don’t think my “best friend” was ever really a friend to me else I don’t believe it would have been so easy to just end our “friendship”.

    • James Dalman on April 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

      It’s unfortunate that you had to experience losing a friend like that. I have also have similar situations happen to me and it isn’t easy.

      My dad used to say that you don’t need friends and I thought he was crazy. Then over the years as I was put through the ringer on several friendships, I could see his point.

      Building deeper friendships takes time, commitment, and the willingness to open ourselves up to hurt. Sometimes it feels like a Catch 22 deal, but we do need a varying degree of people we can connect to, even when it can be a tough road.

      • Patrick Neve on April 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm

        Great point James. And my dad has said the same thing without saying it. He has let all his friends go and only has my mom now. And although this is a beautiful thing, I sense my mother is “smothered” at times. Even though our dad’s are correct in the way that 98% of friends will likely let us down, … it’s that ONE friend that’s worth having on this journey. So although we can get by just fine with just our marriage partners, I have come to think that it’s healthy for each to have at least one good friend along the way. Friends will drop the ball and make mistake along the way too, but a true friend takes responsibility and makes the effort to mend the issue.

        OK. That’s my rant for the day. 🙂 Thanks for sharing SMGal and James.

      • SocialMarketGal on April 16, 2014 at 10:41 am

        You’re very welcome Patrick and thank you James for starting this discussion.:)

  4. Tom Arillotta on April 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Well said, James!

  5. Kellylynn Robitaille on June 30, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I agree real friends that you truly connect with are hard to find.
    I find many of the long term friends are those kinds of friendships. Where as newer friendships tend not to be. Although there are exceptions to that rule for me.
    One thing I notice is that there are very few people now who give the gift of their time to their friends. Perhaps that is because of social media. Which in my opinion has to some degree cheapened friendship to the point of voyeurism on other peoples lives. For example I had a really good friend from junior high on through high school and into college. When she got married her conservative husband didn’t like my spiritual beliefs so the friendship essentially ended because of him. But then she found me on FB a couple years ago and although I accepted her friend request, we are not truly friends. I wasn’t good enough to get invited to her 40th birthday party, but I was good enough to get invited to her oldest daughters graduation party. Probably because they wanted money from me. I was a little offended, I was “good enough” for one social occasion but not another…….
    Like you I consider friendship to be everything you stated in your first paragraph James. To bad other people don’t share that sentiment. I fear true friendships are like cars, fridges, and clocks, in the past they were built to last. The ones that are built now are built to break down. I do still have hope that I am wrong in that assessment of friendship.

    • James Dalman on July 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Kellylynn, thank you for your thoughts! I think you have valuable feedback here and that you are right about how social media has changed friendships/relationships, as well as how friendships can be like cars or a fridge.

      Our society has changed. Some for the best and others for the worst. Real and close friendships have seemed to diminish in most part, which is really sad! Maybe we can get back some of what we’ve lost.

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